September 18, 2014

Beatport CEO Adell: "Nirvana moment for dance music is now"

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photo of curly-haired Matt Adell, CEO of Beatport
“Even college hippies like dubstep”

“My opinion on this is very unpopular, but I believe the major labels were right in fighting the digital revolution.”

So began Matt Adell, outspoken CEO of electronic distribution channel Beatport, at a Winter Music Conference Q&A.

Why such counterintuitive utterances, we asked, or, in simpler terms, WTF?

“Because as public companies, they have a legal obligation to make money for their shareholders,” Adell continued. “It wasn’t always great for the artists and I believe that public companies are amoral—but that’s another conversation.”

Adell went on to say that we might be witnessing a “Nirvana moment” for dance music right now in the U.S. “The culture may be ready for it. Hip hop is using a lot of EDM elements now and the events are getting bigger.”

While it’s true that hip hop is using a lot of EDM elements—Timbaland’s drum and bass loops more than a decade ago come to mind—Adell declined to characterize EDM as the next hip hop.

“I think it’s more like jazz. On one end you have Disney doing Louie Armstrong, on the other you have Pharaoh Sanders who might sound like a car wreck. EDM’s breadth is the same, from Britney Spears to Richie Hawtin, pop to techno to dubstep.”

Speaking to dubstep, Adell waxed enthusiastic. “It’s huge at frat parties, it’s huge on campuses, the hippie element is really getting into it. Guys like Skrillex are coming out of nowhere.”

Adell went on to champion iTunes (“They will succeed as long as they’re selling convenience”) and Beatport’s plans to report to the Billboard chart later this year. “That chart will look totally different. You’ll see EDM artists like Funk Agenda represented the way they should be in the U.S.

In other news, DJ Crime won the VJ Challenge “He Charlie Sheened us, juggled and scratched, very DJ style, hitting every technique,” said judge Justin Kent.

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