Now, I don't have a problem with people who'd like to try before buying. They want to listen to the whole tune, not just some two-minute snippet on Beatport or some 45-seconds preview on iTunes. I do understand that! But if I really like a tune which I've acquired in a similar manner, I'm buying it in the end. Especially when using it in my DJ sets.
Then, you have the die-hard fans. They upload a Pesto track to YouTube, share it with their friends, record it from some web radio and post that to SoundCloud. They are not aware of any evil they might be doing or any harm that their action may cause to both artists and labels. They just love the tune and thus, they put it up their profile on whatever service.
How do you deal with them?
Let me give you an example. I have a Google alert set for various keywords in order to monitor other people's activity on Pesto releases. One of them is set up for the keyword "cloudsteppers" which is the artist of our Pesto 012 single. So, last weekend, I find a mention in my RSS feed for that very keyword and see it's a SoundCloud link. I thought "hmm, maybe it's Vyach of Cloudsteppers who put up a snippet on his SoundCloud" but the link pointed to a profile I wasn't aware of. I clicked the link, SoundCloud opened and I was displayed my Soda Inc. remix of Cloudsteppers' "Make Me Shine". No problem, fans tend to do that. I see downloads are enabled and it's nearly the whole tune, hijacked from some web radio stream - available as a free download.
Well, there's a free download of that Cloudsteppers track on pesto.de but, in fact, it's not the "Jon Silva's Soda Inc. Remix".
At this time, a label has two options:
1. lawyer up, hit the gym, profit.
2. write a message to the poster, explaining the backgrounds, kindly asking to disable downloads.
I went for option 2. and here's what I wrote (including all grammar and spelling errors - it was a Sunday):
Here's a transcript:
Just came across my remix of that Cloudsteppers track on your profile. I'm happy you like the tune and when people put our Music (the mix is released on my Pesto label) on their profile, it usually means they're big fans. That's awesome!
However, it takes away possible income from the artists and the label - especially when offered as download.
I am therefore asking you to disable downloads and if you feel like supporting both the artist and the label (Cloudsteppers, Pesto Music and me), please add a download link to a store. You can use a link to Beatport for example: http://www.beatport.com/release/make-me-shine/151087
Feel free to keep the track on your profile, you don't have to remove it but please disable downloads.
Hope you understand:)
cheers & have a great weekend,
PS: did you know we have a Pesto FreeBee, a free download of another version of Make Me Shine? Check this out: http://pesto-usa.com/PestoCast/Make_Me_Shine_FreeBee_Version.mp3
Less than 24 hours later, I get a reply:
I thank you for having written, downloads is disable,
(CLOUDSTEPPERS - Make Me Shine (Jon Silva's Soda Inc remix) by Olga Wagner :))
and thanks for another link, I'm glad!
Rather than pissing off one person with an unnecessary lawsuit and additional hustle, I now have a supporter. Rather than Olga telling her friends what dickheads the Pesto guys are, she's now probably telling them that we're just reasonable and that we appreciate our fans doing free promo for us. At least, I hope so. Worst case: she doesn't tell anybody but points her friends and social circle to her profile and we get more exposure. Everybody wins.
What I was about to say: I don't mind if you post our tracks. A person who's satisfied with the sound quality on YouTube or SoundCloud wouldn't buy it anyway. No sales gone. A person who's convinced of having a right to download music, software, ebooks and the likes for free without any consideration for the authors wouldn't be buying in any case.
It's up to you - the fan, the listener, the reader, the enjoyer - to pay for non-physical, digital goods. If nobody pays, there won't be as much material for you to download in the future. If you support the artists and the labels that bring lovely music to you, the artist will be able to buy a new piece of gear to record vocals or a guitar. The label will be able to buy stock photography for cover artworks, buy label software, buy new mastering plugins to improve the overall label's sound and so on and so forth.
It's all up to you! Your decision makes the difference.
Ya feelin me or you tend to disagree? Let us know in the FB comments.
From now on, we will post full length tracks to Pesto Music's YouTube channel. All tracks will be organized in playlists so you have the whole release in proper track order, excellent audio quality and can share either the playlist or individual tracks with your friends. If you feel ripping the YouTube file is appropriate rather than supporting the artists and appreciating our service, you're an idiot:)
As a consequence, we will get rid of our Flash-based MP3 player in the sidebar, thus making pesto.de a better experience for users of Apple's iOS devices and other gadgets not supporting Flash or users who refuse to install the plugin [update: once Google has fixed the problems]. On top of that, the page load times will decrease. We will switch to the new sidebar later today.
We will begin with Pesto EP003 "Mediterranean Vibes" and constantly add our older releases. That will also mean we'll add the YouTube playlists to our catalogue section, where you can research our releases and artists.
Here we go:
In other words: how to make a fool of yourself in public in the desperate hope it will help your artists' sales. Check this out:
I might add that this song, of course, is not part of "Booty Shakers" - a video teaser with all tracks featured on Pesto EP002 will be available in brief.
You can get this release exclusive from Beatport: http://bit.ly/fxqdGZ
Please enjoy now (oh, and big spasibo to Cloudsteppers for the 8bit outro!):
Example? I just posted via twitter that I like Cascada's "Evacuate The Dancefloor" and a few minutes later, I had three "friends" less on Facebook.
To tell you honestly, my first touch with electronic music wasn't Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk, the artists usually quoted in interviews (although I love Kraftwerk!). My first contact with electronic sounds were with what is called Euro Trash: Technotronic, Capella, Corona - to name but a few. If you are too young to remember (or too ashamed of), here's what I mean:
Technotronic - Pump Up The Jam
Capella - U Got 2 Know
Corona - The Rhythm Of The Night
No doubt, my big brother also had a huge impact on me as he was listening to grey imports from the US at that time. Long before these tunes were breaking in Germany (if they ever did), my bro had the 12" vinyls at home and I used to steal them from his locker and listen to Donna Allen, Princess (produced by the infamous Stock/Aitken/Waterman trio who would be writing the tune for the Rickroll meme years later), Todd Terry and many more Black Music/Dance/Funk artists from the USA's east coast or the UK.
Donna Allen - Serious
Royal House (aka Todd Terry) - Can You Party
Princess - Say I'm Your Number One
So when I was 20, back in 1996, I started making music with Len Faki after having tweaked sounds just for myself for a couple of years. I was introduced to illegal Goa parties, listened to Trance (which wasn't pure plastic back then - anyone remember Sven Väth's label Eye-Q?) and then slowly got into Techno by founding the "monoid" imprint together with Len back in 1997.
I felt I needed to move away from the cheesy Eurodance stuff, reduce melodies to a minimum, focus on groove, beats and "crazy" sounds until Len and me developed the "Lexicon" sound on Plastic City. "Lexicon" was a fusion of House and Techno, still not devoted to melodies but more going into a melodic direction as opposed to the sound we released on monoid. "Lexicon" was anticipated as "the german Daft Punk" back then with support from national celebrities such as Markus Kavka of MTV News who sent a raving email to Plastic City, expressing how much he enjoyed our first album "The Lessons".
But it shouldn't be before 2003 when I went back to my roots and discovered "Trance" and melodies again by forming the Soda Inc. project with Babak Shayan. We fused DeepHouse and Trance - never heard before at that time - and there was just one label believing in what we did called Plastic City. At that time, a lot of my buddies wondered if I was crazy because of the Soda Inc. sound just to find out that in 2005 (when the "Full Moon" album was released, it was also featured on a 2004 single on Shayan Music), we were recognized as the german founders of "NeoTrance". As a commenter puts it on below's YT video: "Amazing sound for a track of year 2004. That was a sound of future progressive-tech house we have today IMHO." This comment was made in March 2010, fyi.
Soda Inc. - Full Moon
The following Soda Inc. album titled "Inner Vision" contained our smash hit "Night Fever", a cover version of an old Motown classic with which Kim Wilde proved to be very successful in the 1980ies, too:
Soda Inc. - Night Fever
This is when I discovered that melody and vocal lines aren't cheesy in general. Fuck yeah, people love melodies, people love to sing along (even on cool underground events such as I Love Deep in Budapest, Hungary). Melodies and catchy vocals is what remains in our minds once the music has stopped. Proof? There you go:
Soda Inc. - Night Fever
I Love Deep is surely far from being an event for the broad masses, it's an underground venue with underground people and yet still, they sing along and go crazy as soon as they recognize the tune playing. One could say it's just because we covered a famous tune but it also works with tracks that were 100% from my mind:
Soda Inc. - Cross The Ocean
Soda Inc. - Big Love
So what happened was that I distilled the essence of Pop music and added it to the underground House sound. Soda Inc. lost a lot of fans for doing so, just to gain a whole lotta more fans with the music on "Inner Vision". The very same happened to Hardfloor, kings of Roland's TB-303 when they entered the UK Top10 with an instrumental Acid tune back in the early 1990ies.
Hardfloor - Acperience 1
I mean, were they commercial when entering the charts? Hell no, they just did what they always do but at one moment, people just enjoyed what they did. It's a plain, pure Acid track - no more, no less. But indeed, after Hardfloor was breaking in the UK, AcidHouse was known to a way broader audience than it used to be before.
And this insight takes us back to the original intention noted in the headline: why I like David Guetta, Cascade, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and all the likes.
They're all not reinventing the wheel - it hardly can be done. But what these artists do is the opposite of what I used to do with Soda Inc. or my Jon Silva project, for example: rather than introducing "commercial" or poppy elements to the underground, they're taking underground to the commercial market.
Here's another example of melting (ie "stealing") pop with dance in the underground realm - also available as a Pesto FreeBee (direct MP3 link):
David Guetta introduces sounds to the global Top10s that were reserved for the underground before. He's bringing Dance music to the attention of the masses. When was the last time you heard a proggy synth bass line in a Top10 tune? See? What's the huge difference between a Deadmau5 tune and "When Love Takes Over"? There is none, except the vocals (and a great PR department behind). You could say David stole many ideas of former underground tunes - and it's true. But he makes way for Dance music in our charts by releasing tunes as David Guetta feat. XYZ but also by co-producing tunes for the Black Eyed Peas. Who would have thought that the USA would step back from Black Music with 50Cent or Beyoncé in favour of a European-influenced fusion of Club/Dance music spiced up with RnB elements just three years ago? I wasn't, but I Got A Feeling;)
Or let's take Cascada - they're from just around the corner, former german capital "Bonn" - and they borrow a lot of ideas from Lady Gaga (on their album, they also steal from Pryda aka Eric Prydz BIG time). But rather than releasing their plastic trance sound from the past, they adopt to the "Zeitgeist" because Lady Gaga made way for these synth lines, beats and aesthetics. And while we can argue if "Evacuate The Dancefloor"" is something brand new (it's not), it's still a great pop song. Very well written and very well executed by blondie Natalie Horler. Check out the original single version:
Cascada - Evacuate The Dancefloor
And here's the "unplugged" version as performed on german public TV:
You'll surely notice that they just wrote an AMAZING, catchy Pop song and that Natalie doesn't require all the autotune magic - in fact, she's a great singer (hell, it's 7:50am and the show is live!).
So, while I still prefer the deeper House sounds from my buddies (and would never play stuff like Cascada on my gigs), I'm convinced that these artists do our scene a huge favour by introducing synthetic dance music to a broad audience. Decide for yourself: would you like to hear more Nickelback and Green Day (hey, I'm not against guitars - Gossip rings my bell big time!) or would you like to see more Dance stuff in the charts? I for one am very clear about this.
If you like this post, please do not hesitate to share it with your friends - I'd love to discuss things with you!
All videos are made accessible in chronological order of their appearance on pesto.de. You can even embed a dedicated player:
http://myspace.com/jonsilvager - my music profile
http://myspace.com/pestojonsilva - my private profile
http://last.fm/user/pestomusic - what we listen to
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=515759576 - oh yes, we're on Facebook too - like once a month or so;)
http://twitter.com/pestomusic - one of the latest hypes probably, we'll explain in brief what we use it for
http://youtube.com/pestomusic - Pesto TV
http://play.fm/label/pestomusic - our profile on play.fm, DJ mixes to be added soon (no, really now!)
Quoting from Merlin's post:
Unsolicited tip for media company c-levels: if your reaction to this crate of magic is “Hm. I wonder how we’d go about suing someone who ‘did this’ with our IP?” instead of, “Holy crap, clearly, this is the freaking future of entertainment,” it’s probably time to put some ramen on your Visa and start making stuff up for your LinkedIn page.
Read the full article here
Use the board, young Skywalker!
From Paid Content's page:
In its first arrangement with a royalty society, YouTube in 2007 signed a special deal with PRS in which it agreed to pay a flat, advance fee to carry 10 million pieces of music. But the deal has expired and Walker pulled the tracks last night rather than renew at new rates. After PRS highlighted Google’s $5.7 billion Q408 revenue, Walker told me: “We’ve built a service that we’ve invested millions in ... to suggest that, because Google’s a big company, we should just suck it and pay a ridiculous rate is not something that we’re going to stand by.”
Read more on paidcontent.co.uk
Read the PRS entry on Wikipedia
Use the board, young Skywalker!