Ultra Music’s Patrick Moxey and the mainstream press consider a future of softer house hits
Word is out that the dance music boom is about to get softer. The past several years has seen the big room sound take many an unexpected standpoint, but both the industry and the mainstream press alike are considering a future of commercial house advocacy. Now approaching its 20th year as a label, Ultra Music’s rapid expansion and dominant market standing has made it a crucial indicator of where the unit-shifting ranks of dance music are heading. The Wall Street Journal recently turned its guise to the market’s bow towards the so-called sound of ‘deeper’ house, using President and founder of Ultra Music Patrick Moxey’s own perception to illustrate both his own label and the wider market’s gradual turn towards a calmer yet evidently commercially viable alternative to the big room sound.
Quoting the 53-millions YouTube views garnered by Klingande’s sax-led “Jubel” alongside such Sony/Ultra triumphs as “Waves” and budding Norwegian talent Kygo as evidence of its market value, the numbers and nonchalant contenders are certainly there to verify the buzz. Spotlighted in early hits elsewhere for Chris Malinchak, Bakermat and the ascent of the aforementioned Sony-signed contender from Scandinavian upstart to Coldplay-commissioned remixer, Ultra’s remains a hotbed indicator for when a sound reaches unit-shifting stature. Right now, it looks like they are on to something.
As dual head of Sony’s electronic music division, Moxey stands notably unsurprised by the evident departure of big room from the label’s musical remix. He told Speakeasy: “The great thing about electronic music is every time people want to put it in a box, it changes. Anytime one part of it becomes commercialized, new parts start to reinvent themselves. It’s in a constant process of refreshment.”
Having cut its pedigree signing the likes of Deadmau5, Calvin Harris and a wealth of main stage stars along the way, there is just one hitch in the current momentum: if the appetite for big room is changing, no-one has informed the stacks of sold out summer festival across the globe. Their investment in Kygo’s pending debut album and a noticeable focus on the more tempered sound of house music matched with the influence held through such live strands as Ultra Music Festival leaves room for the label to make a significant statement in shifting its focus away from the supposedly fleeting big room market.
The airwaves and Internet leave little room for doubt, but it will take a full 360-degree swing before a ‘softer’ house overhaul can truly be chimed. After year’s of claims that the big room crop was being milked to death, the question remains a simple one: how far can the market truly go without ever exhausting its popular strands?