Chicago selector The Black Madonna has written a passionate essay predicting the imminent implosion of corporate EDM.
Writing in Crack, Marea Stamper considers the rise of Beatport and its growing stranglehold on the labels it had once been able to nurture and support.
“Far from a cog in the ruthless SFX machine that you know today, Beatport’s staff were just a dedicated, passionate band of people who believed in dance music and embraced technology,” she writes, but the portal’s increasing demands for exclusivity were “crushing” small labels.
This year, with smoke rising from the hood of its beleaguered parent company SFX Entertainment, Beatport sent out an email announcing it had “trapped certain earned label payments”. Major labels were unaffected, but smaller businesses faced three months of lost royalties.
“I wish I’d had the vision, to even imagine the damage that the blind march into corporatisation of dance music would do. I did not,” says Stamper.
The future of the “swollen, nightmarish and homogenised” world of EDM now looks shaky, with shares in SFX sinking 92% in the past year.
“This is one company, one piece of the EDM puzzle, but I believe it is emblematic of much, much more,” she continues.
“I would argue that popular EDM’s demise is a little less of a bang and more of whimper, as the corporate money limps out of a genre that came with an expiration date, but not before completely demolishing more small stores and labels than I can count.”
Read the full essay on Crack and don’t miss The Black Madonna’s excellent FACT mix.