I’m not saying I hate big room or progressive. I just don’t listen to it. Not because I don’t like it; outside of hip-hop and jungle, my youth was fueled by Essential Mixes and Global Underground CDs. I noticed a complete lack of innovation at 128 BPM years ago, and shrug off the genres attached to the tempo completely. You can say that it’s ignorant, or you can look at Daleri’s Epic Mashleg as evidence. Taking nothing but charting Beatport singles, they made a mashup of records that sounded exactly the same.
I would normally sit in my corner and scoff while listening to sexy bass music when seeing an announcement like this, but something about the magnitude of the power players prompted me to dive deeper. When you have the biggest search engine (Google) combining forces with people that have no business advocating for musicianship to create a school that is “finding and developing the next generation of superstar DJ’s and producers,” it’s more than a little bit frightening.
Let’s start with some facts. The DJ Mag is known mostly for their “Top 100″ lists. Armada represents 43 artists. 11 of them are on DJ Mag’s 2012 “Top 100″. More than a quarter of their clients represent this list, sitting at the #1, #7, #13, #19, #25, #58, #68, #69, #77, #81, and #87 positions. To say that some backdoor business is putting people in strategic positions wouldn’t be a stretch. Feel free to compare this DJ Mag list to the lineups for U.S. Festivals.
Khal also wrote a phenomenal piece a couple of months ago on why the DJ Mag list doesn’t matter. They’ve been called out for accepting money for positioning, and there have been scandals involving votes being sold on eBay. This article covers reactions from both Gareth Emery and UMEK on these practices. If you’re a top-tier DJ that’s shitting on the standard for top-tier DJs, something within the system is obviously wrong. It’s an interesting read, to say the least.
Before people scream at me for hating, please note that there are some people on the festival circuit that I advocate for. I love what Borgore and Skrillex are doing with their labels. Oliver and Disclosure are making mind-blowing records. Heroes x Villians, UZ, Grandtheft, and Bro Safari have been properly representing bass culture. I see a wealth of promise in Danny Avila and Swizzymack. I don’t turn my nose up at those that make it. I just appreciate when it’s done by innovation and hard work.
The Academy of Electronic Music is supposedly looking for young talent that that will get “the chance to be mentored as the world’s next superstar producer.” You have a list that is being swayed by business, one style of music that dominates, and a stack of DJs that have been quietly accused of using ghost producers gearing up with the co-sign of Google to create a roster of young talent that can potentially do their work for them.
It’s completely possible that I’m over-reacting. But I can only hope that this collaborative effort reaches out to producers in more than one genre to teach this pool of promising young talent about more than just house music. There is no way to push innovation within a genre that has been stuck in the same place for years.