In His Personal Facebook Notes, Stefan Goldmann wrote what it seems to be, a sensible criticism to the oversaturated market of these days, in which is not recognized all the work that is hidden behind the release of a single record at all , due to the illegal distribution, the overabundance of tracks, ignorance and other issues that affect the electronic enviroment. Lets take a look…
“Release strike”? On studio hours, non-distribution and superstar DJs
By: Stefan Goldmann
In a recent discussion Steve Bug asked why he (and many other producers) should spend multiple hours in the studio working, when afterwards everyone shared their work without paying? Steve suggested a release strike – or people finally thinking about paying for files.
My 2 cents today:
This is not an issue of awareness. mass payment for house/techno releases in the form of vinyl or files is never going to come back. nobody will pay us on an “hourly rate” (i.e. because producers spend time in the studio), but because of results – if at all. actually it becomes convincing to me that the “market” is clearly showing that certain productions and distribution channels are not overly needed nor desired anymore. i guess the reason is not piracy , but the overabundance of tracks already available (nobody would recognize that strike) and the lack of a noticable difference between a worth-zero product and an assumed worth-something product (if the market continuously indicates worth zero, it eventually becomes a fact).
I can’t help thinking producers in their secondary role as DJs and label makers actually helped create the environment in which their own output turned worthless – by granting presety / idea-free music the same space as their own and other people’s great tracks in their DJ sets, mixes, charts. how many DJs can claim they never played an epigonic track? or how many labels kept their catalogue free of redundancy? the very concept of functionality or fitting a predetermined DJ’s “style” first and above all was the fallacy that gave people the signal of “anything goes” / “nothing is of worth.” very few clean hands here… (or as Stacey Pullen put it recently: “We didn’t use to release a record just because another month was over.”).
The strike idea is not too wide off the mark though. but not to go back to releasing in the usual way again afterwards (sidenote: withholding tracks that sound like what we already know in zillions of variations doesn’t impress anyone – they SHOULD be withheld and never appear again). if we own something we don’t feel we can get sufficient respect for, we shouldn’t give it away. it’s that easy. again: it’s not piracy that much. people DO pay: when some superstar dj earns 1000s of euros an hour from playing our productions without passing anything on, we just should keep them to ourselves instead. (i admit that my own dj fees for one night often surpass what i earn from a record with 6 weeks+ of production time).
My own policies this year changed with two major things: superstars who can spend their money on spas in India and Bottega Veneta apparel, but can’t bother to spend money on a license, simply don’t get one. i am rather willing to keep a track totally unreleased and play it exclusively, creating a unique experience to the audience that comes to see me – or create commissioned works, i.e. being paid to create exclusive material for special events, than doing regular releases that enrich only people who didn’t contribute much. both moves add value to my own performances (for the audience, because they won’t hear stuff anyone can find on filestube). and take away value from those who otherwise capitalize on my work. don’t get me wrong – i will do enough releases in the future even for my own pleasure of getting a vinyl cut or proper wav master. and i do get some enjoyment out of seeing fedde le grand playing “the maze” at some megafestivals my friends at GEMA have problems identifying… but if anybody’s problem is not being paid, continuing to feed the same channel and hoping for miracles clearly won’t work.
(I guess the best would be to start splitting productions: one half will be released, the other half will be added as exclusive content to my own performances – rather keeping the club stuff exclusive and releasing the conceptual stuff, where i feel i can add some ideas to the culture).