Has Dance Music Lost It’s Soul – February 10 2014 – DMC # 13

Greetings and thanks for taking the time to check out this, episode number 13 of the Dance Music Consultant Podcast. My name is John Parker and I started this podcast to give you some insight on the wonderful world of dance music. Today I talk about losing one of our dance stations, the IDMA’s and has Dance Music lost it’s soul. I’ll also give you my pick hit of the week. All that and more coming up on this episode number 13 of the Dance Music Consultant podcast.

Well It’s been a busy week which started off with us losing a dance station to a format tweek and then the announcement of the nominees for the International Dance Music Awards. We are going to talk about both of those things and then we’ll chat about a question that I asked on Facebook which received a wide range of answers from artists to remixers to producers. I’ve got a bunch of stuff to get to today so let’s just jump right into it shall we?
WBZC changes format.
Z88.9 (WBZC-FM) confirms their format flip from an EDM station to one that now plays “cutting edge EDM, Alternative, Reggae and Hip Hop” in an email sent to it’s mixers. The email seems to suggest that all non syndicated mix shows have been let go from the station. They are calling it a “Festival” style format. Interesting approach didn’t sound horrible but it’s no longer a pure dance station. In fact, I don’t think you can call it a dance station at all. In response to some postings on their Facebook page, they are saying that this is a move that the students wanted and that they are really only there for their students.

Look, format changes happen all the time in radio. It’s just the way things are, but I will say that I’ve never believed in this block programming approach to college radio. It’s not the way it works in the real world. A college’s radio station should exist for a couple of things. The most important one is for serving the community. It should also be a 24/7 recruiting tool for the college. And lastly, it should be a teaching tool for those that want to get into professional broadcasting. And as we all know, in the pros you don’t get to choose what music you play.

Coming from one of the most successful broadcasting programs in the country, I can tell you that a lot of the people that went on to fame and fortune as radio stars, benefited tremendously from the structure and single music genre approach that the station had. I’ve never understood the block programming approach of college radio and I’m glad that wasn’t my experience. I wish the team at WBZC the best of luck with the new format and I’ll always be thankful for the pure dance format approach that Brett Holcomb put on the air there.

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International Dance Music Award Nominees have been announced

The nominees for the 29th Annual International Dance Music Awards have been announced this past week. The awards recognize the industry’s best achievements for the year 2013. There are 57 categories that you can vote on this year and they include everything from the best track in several categories to best global DJ to best label executive to several best of awards in the equipment section.

I happy to say that I make a return to the nominees with a nomination for my company, Promo Only Promotions. For the past several years they did the Best Independent Music Promotion/Marketing award as one where just 1 person from a company would be nominated. Last year, they allowed 2 and I opted out of the ballot in order to give my co-worker another change to win but this year, they decided to list all three of us. I’m already a 2 time winner as the Best Label Executive back before they opened it to a system where anyone can vote. Back then, it was just industry people that actually attended the Winter Music Conference that were allowed to vote. That meant you won based on your peers votes so those awards are really special for me.

This years IDMA’s will be given away live on March 27th, during the Winter Music Conference in Miami Beach. If you want to vote, head over to http://wintermusicconference.com/events/idmas/
and then remember to certify your vote by clicking the link that the WMC will send to you. If you don’t, your vote will not count.

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In what’s clearly a publicity move, there is a new after hours spot in Vegas called “After” and they’ve decided to institute some new rules for their club as they attempt to differentiate themselves from other spots.

What they did was post a list of rules for their dj’s to follow in order to create the atmosphere that they want for their club. It looks like they are trying to keep it underground and not really become the commercial music, bottle service type of venue that’s been done way too many times before. Here’s the list:
DJ Rules for the After club in Vegas (I’ll leave out the profanity they have on the list though)
-Do Not Play Any Hip-Hop, Trap, nor dubstep
– Do not play anything with a Lil Jon or T-Pain drop in it
– Do not play ANYTHING by the following artists:
Hardwell
Chuckie
Calvin Harris
David Guetta
Bob Sinclair
Swedish House Mafia (and all remaining pieces of them)
Deadmau5
Avicii
Afrojack
Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike
Wolfgang Gartner
LMFAO
Tiesto
Martin Garrix (douche)

– Do not play a pre-mixed set
– Do not mix internally on Serato
– Do not play a pre-mixed set on 1 channel in Ableton (lazy ass)
– Do not play on Traktor without the use of external controllers
– Do not say a fucking work on the microphone (unless directed otherwise by management or singing live)
– Do not place your beverage(s) next to the equipment
– Do not accept music requests, only drink requests
– Have Fun

*Breaking any of these rules will get you immediately escorted out of the DJ booth and you will not be paid for the morning’s performance.

So those are there are the rules they posted, what are your thoughts? Head over to the show notes and leave a comment. I just think that if you do the proper hiring of talent, you really aren’t going to need to post silly things like this. And that’s really why I think that they are doing it for the publicity.

That’s going to do it for the news this week.
So earlier this week, I posted a question on my personal Facebook page and the response that it got actually created a lot of conversation so I wanted to share it here. The question was: “Has dance music lost its soul?” The thought had come to me after I found a DVD of the Dance Music Hall of Fame inductions in 2005 and was watching all of the amazing performances. Many of the performances featured artists that are amazing performers but also their music wasn’t stiff, every song wasn’t 128 bpm, there was quality musicianship, well crafted songs. The intent of the question was to see if people felt, like I did, that dance music has become very cut and dry, very machine like, simply put, very cold sounding. But the response that I got seemed to suggest otherwise. I’d like to read some of those responses here and talk a bit about those viewpoints:

Riddler, Mix show DJ from Z100 NY, KTU, KKHH and z100 Portland says: (It) hasn’t lost its soul but maybe did a deal with the devil. He also suggests checking out the Disclosure video with Mary J Blige.

Singer/Songwriter John Campos chimed in: Yes the tracks don’t groove anymore, the vocals feel sterile. There is no warmth in anything I hear today. Either that or I’m turning into my father

Elite EDM’s Kevin Kage Jones: it all depends on how you look at it. I have heard some current dance songs that still has a soul. That has that vibe. Unfortunately the dance stuff that is currently popular and most visible is definitely soulless and somewhat cold. But you could have made that same argument years ago.

Luis Lopez Dance Factory FM in Chicago: Or have the producers lost theirs?

Tony Santiago: In house music, it’s there.

Djsammy Bouriah: Never John Still all there we just have to adapt our ears to today’s dance track which i am sure they are brilliant

Jay Dabhi: That’s the beauty of dance music. There’s always a sound or feel available with the different sub-genres.

Eddie Tegone: Look to the underground

Producer/Artist/Mix Show DJ Jim DjPrime Rolfe: just radio lost it music soul…cuz ppm meters don’t have a soul..
RüFüS is where its at….thank me later…and yes disclosure is awesome…was awesome 2 yrs ago in uk…as was Flume huge in aus 2 yrs ago.. i tell people all the time…i can go listen to chus and ceballos or loco dice for 10hrs and not know one song and just have happy feet all day

Rick Cross from Mind over Matter Studios writes: John , unfortunately with the popularity of dance its harder to find a song that reaches out and speaks to you. It used to be that a serious musician needed money to record a song. Now a days you don’t. You just need to filter out the junk and find the good songs.

Jerel Black: Soul is one of the first ingredients taken out of many styles as it gets popular.

Marcus McBride from Full Tilt Remix: I wouldn’t say it’s lost its soul but definitely a piece of its creativity. You used to be able to sense a forward motion with dance music in years past. I don’t really feel that so much anymore. A few bright points here and there but it’s largely become stagnant in the recent past, at least to my ears.

Syndicated Mixer Jay Mac says, the question is too generalized. Yes, Animals, Tsunami and the 1,000 other tracks that sound like it are devoid of soul. Even on the other side of the commercial spectrum you have Thinking about You, F For you and 100%. As far as the underground is concerned it has soul for days. Someone above questioned whether producers have lost theirs. I think there is some truth in that. I see guys posting video of their new tracks still being cooked up. It looks like Lego blocks with sample packs. When was the last time you seen someone play?

Judy Torres: It depends on the intention of those artist, producers, etc…At the time they recorded. I feel “substance” is not found as often, but it is there…

Bryan Coonrod former owner of the North Texas Dance Association Record Pool says i think it sold its soul to the EDM devil

Jim Nazium from the Hank N Jim Radio network says In my opinion the click track, auto tune and cut and paste removes all emotion from any music.Music comes from within us, not from a central processing unit and computer software.

Howie Greene former Sirius XM Producer says it lost its soul About 26 years ago

Industry vet Hosh Gureli says I Was going to post Disclosure but Rich already did – so I’ll post Duke Dumont

Danielle Ruysschaert founder of “Not Just Music” says “Has”? “Did”. I think technology did it. Kids think they can make a record on their freaken’ phone. It’s like I said on Alan Freed ‘s wall, there’s more to music than just music… You gotta have the knowledge for what’s good and why it’s good. But then again there’s been plenty of s&#t to hit #1, so I guess I stand corrected!!!

Barry Harris from Kon Kan and Thunderpuss states There’s plenty of soul in a lot of dance music as well around us (E.G Bruno Mars, P!nk etc). The bigger ‘POPular’ focus is currently on EDM at the moment. Giorgio Morodor did a LOT of what would have been called EDM (’76 & the 80’s) along with plenty of music with soul. I loved his electronic music at the time and if there wasn’t (or currently isn’t) full on “Aretha or M J Blige” soul in EDM who cares…i love both!!

Brett Holcomb formerly from Z88,9 says Not sure it lost its soul, but as much as I love some of the songs that are out now, will they be deemed classics in 10 years? Will they be on Jock Jams if they made a new one in a few years?

Jason Edward : it’s saturated right now. I still love it. You do have to weed out what’s great and what is not. I’m glad it’s back in mainstream but at the same time, it can be too much and lose the quality and/or soul!

Boston VJ Dom Armano says that we complain when we don’t get love, we complain when we get love… I think we need to look at diversity.. if it gives soul to ONE person, it has soul… regardless of how we might think of it… I believe the more there is the more opportunity to have soul… embrace it all!

So I think that most of the people that responded don’t think that dance music has lost its soul but I still do. I understand that the underground and house music will always have soul because that’s a built in part of that genre but to me, dance music needs to bring back hit records with feeling, with warmth and most of all, re-find it’s soul which I believe has been lost in this edm world of cold, hard beats and drops. For me, that sound grows tired fast but a great song with feeling can last forever, and who is going to remember 99.9% of these EDM tracks next year or 5 or more years from now. I guess time will tell.
Pick Hit of the Week:

It’s time for my new music Pick Hit of the Week. This week’s Pick hit is the Liam Keegan remix of Guy Sebastian’s Like a Drum song. Feel free to tell me what you think about the song by leaving a comment in the show notes on DanceMusicConsultant.com

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And that’s going to do it for this episode of the Dance Music Consultant, I’d like to thank you all for spending some time with me on the show.

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If you want to reach me, you can find me at the Dance Music Consultant dot com. You can email me your comments and questions at jp@dancemusicconsultant.com. You can find the show on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DanceMusicConsultant and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PodcastDMC

Thank you so much for listening.

Until next time my friends. My name is John Parker and I am your Dance Music Consultant signing off. Have a fantastic week.