Editorial: House music is a dish best served not a la carte
We’ve all done it: downloaded a song from Zippyshare, Oron, FileShare, or one of the countless other spammy download sites that hold the keys to our beloved electronic and dance music treasures. Here’s the thing though: it’s not our fault. Besides Beatport or Juno, there’s not a single other place to legally download house music (and no, iTunes doesn’t count). If the relative unpopularity of Beatport and Juno can serve as any example, the a la carte system simply doesn’t work with EDM. If you can feel my pain, click past the break and let me break it down.
For me, part of the Electronic and Dance Music (EDM) culture is the thrill of the chase. It’s having countless websites in a separate Google Reader folder and knowing you’ll never be able to listen to every new track in a single day, at least if you care about your grades or have a job. It’s four different remixes of the same song in a single post, on multiple sites — and the subsequent dilemma of picking which one to listen to.
I may not speak for everyone when I say this, but I want to pay for my music. I want to compensate the people who make something that brings so many people so much joy. The world is ripe for some sort of service, but it won’t ever work if you’re stuck paying $4 for a track that you don’t even know you’ll like — sorry Beatport.
The insane speed of the production of EDM is facilitated by the Internet. It’s not as if the previous generation had far fewer musicians, but our connectedness makes the audience not only larger, but easier to reach. Here’s what needs to happen: a subscription based music service sanctioned by the artists themselves. Imagine being able to pay one fee and having access to the latest releases — and even previews — from all your favorite artists, without the need to wait for annoying countdowns and pop ups. What if all these songs lived remotely in the cloud, and could be streamed to your phone or saved for offline listening? That would be pretty awesome.
Services like Rdio, MOG, and Grooveshark have tried to attempt this, but it seems to come down to the record labels themselves. Apple is rumored to be making a cloud solution sometime soon, but even they have probably had to make concessions for content — and I’m sure EDM labels aren’t the highest on the list. The awesomeness of house music culture comes from the devoted followers who simply can’t get enough, and the likes of Twitter and Facebook have allowed us to connect with producers on personal levels. Just see Afrojack’s special message after reaching a 250k milestone if you don’t believe me.
I don’t know what the ideal solution here is, but I know that if the model doesn’t change neither will our habits. It’s just too easy to find a track for free instead of paying for it, and even if you want to pay for it the price is simply a turnoff. Hopefully I’m not alone in this thinking, but it really lies with the artists and their management to make this change happen. We want to thank you for your hard work, just make it a little easier for us to do so.