Welcome to Magnetic’s Industry Focus, a series where we highlight the major players working behind the scenes of the EDM biz. These are the folks running the record labels, representing the artists, promoting the shows and just getting it done. We’ve decided to shine the light on the behind the scenes movers and shakers. Today we highlight Stacey Gamble, Detroit native and manager of Dirtybird Records.
How did you start your career in the electronic music business?
I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit during a pretty special time in electronic music. It wasn’t long before I was spending my weekends at parties in the city, shopping for vinyl during the week, learning everything I could about the history of techno. I spent most of my senior year of high school throwing raves in warehouses and starting a Detroit techno label / Events company, Fusion Technology Records which I managed throughout most of college.
At that time you, you had to really move to NY or Berlin to have a “career" in techno which didn’t fit with my college plans. After a couple of years in advertising, it was clear to me that I wanted to work full time in the music industry so I opened a recording studio, started managing artists again. You can only get so far in Detroit heading out to Cali and linked up Om then dirtybird who I’ve been with for almost 2 years now.
What is the best part of the business?
For me, I’m incredibly passionate about underground dance music. Recently, It has been very exciting to be able to progress and advance these genres to droves of new fans. There are so many new kids around who got into EDM during the last wave and now they are finally ready for something new and fresh and most of them are discovering that is was there all long. I love that in 2014 more formerly “underground” genres are stepping into the limelight in the US.
What are the biggest challenges?
There is no playbook for electronic music and the music industry as a whole is racing to rewrite theirs - I’m convinced that no one really knows what they are doing so you have to stay on your game at all times.
With everything changing and the insane speed at which dance music moves - you have to be able to take all these moving parts into consideration, extract what works from each campaign/ release/event/project you are working on and keep moving forward - keep building.
What career advice would you recommend to someone just starting off?
Do what you love and never stop following your passions. Ultimately you have to hustle (I can not stress this enough) - things often do not happen overnight so if you want to make something happen in your life work hard at it and don’t discount the experiences have or people you meet while getting there. You will have a moment of realization one day when it all comes full circle!
As the EDM industry continues to grow, what do you think the secrets to longevity in this business will be?
Its difficult to judge where EDM is going because I classify it as an extension of the pop music industry. While there is some overlap, it’s not where I operate on a day to day basis and I certainly welcome all EDM fans to check out other forms of dance music.
I do feel that longevity in this business comes from staying true to yourself and not following trends just because its cool at the moment.
Did you start off as a fan of electronic music and then became involved on the business side, or did business bring you into the electronic music world? Describe that process.
Fan first and foremost and it quickly turned to business. I was such a fan of the music that I really enjoyed organizing events to bring people together, discover new music, and meet others that shared the same interests as you. There were maybe 2 people in the city I lived in that shared my interest in music so you had to connect somewhere else.
It was a pretty crazy time, my experience largely revolved around a lot of crazy creative kids who had access to the tools needed at the time to make a pretty notable business for yourself. There was a blue print from people who started everything in the 80’s and 90’s - but this was a little different. The city provided us with access to local talent that is still today world class. Countless venues - abandoned, forgotten, and cheap. People like Ron Murphy were down the street and had already been cutting the early techno vinyl (and previously a lot of Motown records), Archer gave us the ability to press vinyl, the record stores were insane and gave us an immediate place to conduct business and we had the internet to reach out around the world - and we were from a city with a lot of cred so people at most times willing to at least give you a chance. It would have actually been a struggle to not get involved.
What cities/regions do you think electronic dance music is best thriving?
In the US, I think its really exciting in LA right now- good music. SF and NY are really solid as well. Detroit will always do it proper.
If you weren’t in the music biz, what would you be doing?
Probably a lot more daytime activities on the weekend!
Follow Stacey on Twitter!
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