The State of the Music Industry

The State of the Music Industry

A while ago, I put the word out that I was looking for writers to contribute content to FatKidOnFire (I’m still looking for any of you who have yet to pitch me your ideas).

One of the people who got in touch, and expressed an interest in contributing content, was my boy Lawrence (or Stigma for those of you who know his tunes).

He went away and then pitched the following article (and it’s very much a departure from the stereotypical post you’ll find here on FKOF) – which in my opinion is the perfect way to start the next chapter in FatKidOnFire’s history. New writers, new content and new opinions…

[TRPR on the wheels of steel; photo by Alexander Tengner]

If you were to ask the majority of people nowadays about record labels, you would likely be met with a blank expression in regard to anything other than Universal (or any other major labels). But, in our scene (in dubstep and the ‘bass music’ genre in general), you would receive an entirely different response. You would be drowned with links to ‘free releases’ and Facebook pages where statuses need 50 likes to release the label’s next EP sample.

This, in my humble opinion, is the problem with the bass music scene today.

It has become far too easy for anyone to create a record label; losing the intricacy being a label manager used to hold. I could name countless labels who do all of their dealings via Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites exclusively.

If you can make it work, and your releases reach a considerable amount of people, then I will commend you for your stirling effort in supporting the dubstep genre. But it’s all of the labels which don’t succeed in these endeavours who poison the reputation of the labels that do succeed.

If someone was to read this post up to now, you would be led to assume that all digital labels are a load of old tosh, but there are digital labels like Dank N Dirty DubzPhucked and Bassclash who seem to managing just fine; promoting talents such as Requake, Gutcha and Badklaat.

The part of today’s climate I don’t enjoy is that no one seems to do any hard work anymore. The blood, sweat and tears that went into building the record labels (like Rough Trade and Factory) of the 1970s and 1980s produced arguably some of todays most influential indie groups of all time, bands like Joy Division and The Smiths. As an avid record buyer myself, I like nothing more than visiting HMV and buying a record by someone I have never heard before and playing it for the first time.

Part of being a ‘head honcho record label guy’ is taking risks. Spending your own money to get your up-and-coming band’s music out there for the public, shameless self promotion in your local town, creating nights showcasing your up and coming talent.

But, unfortunately it seems this is no longer necessary – and all it takes is an update of your status to decide you own a record label.

In my time as a dubstep producer, I have encountered many unsavory characters (most of them have been fellow producers), but it is not uncommon to find unfriendly record labels. Naming no names, when I started out in 2010, I came across a label (digital only) that were interested in my frankly atrocious tracks. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity. They seemed like they knew what they were doing. I was lulled in to their façade by the contract I was emailed, entitling me to 60% of my tracks’ sale price, as well as their Chemical Records account being up and running. It was only after they had uploaded my songs that I realised the somewhat shifty nature of the label owners. Needless to say, none of the releases’ takings came to my PayPal, and I never spoke to the swines again. It’s people like this which tarnish my opinion on all labels made in the last year or so, when it’s become popular to own a label. I give a large shout out to all the hard working labels founded recently working hard to get physical releases i.e. Dubstrict and Disquiet Mind [to name but a few – FKOF].

These labels would be sure to flourish if only there weren’t the many timewasters preventing their prominence in the scene becoming more widely recognised. As much as this article sounds like a huge diss to every label owner from the past few years, it’s not intended to be.

It is in fact a warning. A warning to not take the digital music scene for granted.

If you are prepared to wade through the large amount of labels pushing sub-standard music, you’ll find labels that are building a legacy. Legacies to be proud of.

If you agree (or don’t) with Lawrence’s article, let us know in the comments – or find him on Twitter. I’m definitely looking forward to reading his next post!

Peace, love and respect.


UPDATE It seems the comments aren’t quite working at the moment – I’m trying to find out if it’s Livefyre as a whole or just the FKOF site. There’s a thread on the FKOF Facebook page for those of you who want to share your opinions. Will update the post if comments start working again!

UPDATE 2 Livefyre have got back to me (on a Sunday no less, props guys!) – the commenting issue is specific to FKOF, we’re looking into it/ getting it fixed for you guys ASAP.

UPDATE 3 Comments are back up guys! Thanks for your patience.