If the revolution won’t be televised, it damn sure should be fired across broadband Internet connections, right? That’s what we thought back in February, when it was announced that Skrillex, Diplo, and A-Trak (along with Mike Ostolaza) would be starting a new “electronic music network” called POTATO, said to be the home of “exclusive audio and video premieres, tour documentaries, and cutting edge original series.” For a while there, we’ve seen some solid content coming through, from programming like “BANG!” and Diplo’s “Blow Your Head” series to quirky clips on the creation of moombahton and awesome videos like Them Jeans’ “Vowel Play.” A YouTube channel curated by three of the top DJ/producer types in the electronic music scene, guys who all have different personalities, should’ve be a shoe-in as the most popular YouTube channel on these Internets, right? Maybe we just have high expectations.
We already know that, outside of the 3AM weekday time slot, MTV doesn’t really rock with EDM (or most music). The giant’s splinter channels are cool, but depending on your cable provider, you don’t even get all of the music-centric MTV goodness that’s out there. With POTATO, access to quality programming is available for anyone with a WiFi connection, so why let this chance to dominate the space drift away? Their latest BANG! on Low End Theory is the first POTATO upload in three months. The world of EDM is exploding, and there are plenty of opportunities for this scene to be documented and shared via this medium. Other websites and outlets are getting it, but it seems like POTATO, an outlet that is probably more plugged in than any of us realize, is falling by the wayside.
Perhaps the importance of views held things back. In April, Skrillex hit over one billion views on his YouTube page. That’s exciting for anyone, especially when you realize that these days, monetization of a YouTube page can be lucrative. It’s hard to give up visits to your own page by giving them away to a channel like POTATO. Now while we’re not saying that Mad Decent, OWSLA, and Fool’s Gold should be diverting all of their video content to POTATO, but it would’ve made sense to have POTATO premiere the 2013 Mad Decent Block Party documentary, or “Skrillex In Mexico.” Or do more expository series on some of these emerging talents that are showing up in the current landscape. Something.
It’s probably also hard to give up the necessary time to cultivate a channel like this. Diplo, A-Trak, and Skrillex are juggling a lot; it’s not like these guys are sitting in their studios, just waiting for phone calls. They got to where they are because they are go-getters. With that attitude, however, it is hard to pinpoint where their energies are being diverted. Currently, A-Trak has been working on the Duck Sauce album, and is of course running Fool’s Gold while also maintaining a busy performance schedule. Diplo’s not only knocking out Diplo tour dates, but has been working the Major Lazer project for the better part of 2013. Add to that the Mad Decent Block Party, which was the largest it had ever been in 2013, and the BBC Radio 1Xtra show he cultivates weekly—and everything from working with Justin Bieber to working on a movie. Skrillex hit the festival circuit HARD with Boys Noize as Dog Blood, obviously stands as an integral part of the OWSLA empire, and has done everything from scored Spring Breakers to working on his own solo album. With all of this going on, how much input do Diplo, Skrillex, and A-Trak even have on POTATO?
We get it, Diplo’s not hand-editing these videos and then uploading them to YouTube himself, but with any successful entity comes a talented and dedicated crew of people working alongside you, getting all of the projects sorted out. Mad Decent is a perfect example: Diplo is the figurehead, and definitely has regular input on what goes on, but we know he’s not the one crossing all Ts and dotting all Is. Where did the disconnect with POTATO come from? Why would such a valuable entity be thrown to the wayside during a time where EDM and YouTube have so many eyes on them, figuratively and literally? Is POTATO lacking focus? Did they have a direction that somehow spiraled out of control? Is there a way to pick this channel up and regain it’s crown as possibly one of the most important networks to emerge in the last year or so?
DAD doesn’t have the answers, but one thing that we know for a fact is that the scene needs a POTATO right now. Without stats on who’s actually rocking to Clubland, the days of watching cable television and getting a proper look at the current climate of dance music are long gone, and weren’t even that great to begin with. Internets have been the new TV for a few years now, and with advances in technology, these on-demand streaming outlets will be a bigger haven for more niche fanbases like those who are diehard for this kind of content. POTATO started off on the good foot, with curators that are relevant to the current scene, and content that was both engaging and different than what other sources were providing. How POTATO delved into walking down the same paths that other outlets have is beyond us, but we can’t believe we’re the only ones out here pondering where (oh where) our POTATO went. DAD just hopes that, sooner rather than later, we can get back to the consistency that this venture was providing, and that 2014 will find that the POTATO has gotten back to eating us instead of itself.