The new year is just three days away and you will likely make some ridiculous New Year’s resolution you won’t keep. We have some new year’s resolutions for dance music and things we would like to see left behind in 2017.
1. Enough with the vocal chops:
It is infuriating this still needs to be said, but come on. It can be used sparingly, but the technique has been beaten into the ground now and sounds ok one in 100 songs now. You likely aren’t that one. Try a different way of making a good melody.
2. Stop calling everything a “live” show:
We get it – you figured out how to work a drum pad and loop a few samples on Ableton. You hit the drum pad 10 times during a three-minute song. That isn’t a “live” performance. Stop lying to your fans, the promoter and everyone else. It is a way to sell more tickets and get more money, but put in the work to actually create a real live show with more elements and inevitably more risk.
3. Festivals, continue creating interesting production:
The era of slapping giant LED walls, speakers and some European male DJs in a field or parking lot and calling it a festival seems to be falling by the wayside. We are a fan of the seemingly new and inventive ways that festivals keep on coming up to create new looks each year. Build something around the fans they will remember and feel like they are a part of. Create something unique and staying power is within your reach.
4. More diversity on festival lineups, but it needs to be better:
Some festivals, notably more underground and wellness, have been diversifying their lineups, but there is still work to be done. Non-white straight males have been putting out great music all year (and for quite some time now), so while it may still be “risky” for a major EDM festival to take that step and not have another guy wearing all black playing the same dubstep and trap as the guy before him, a change of pace and face would be a good idea.
5. Stop telling DJs not to be political:
Deal with it. Your favorite DJs have thoughts beyond airports, hotels, memes, Ableton and the next song in their set. The world is increasingly political. If they want to use their clout to try and influence their followers, that is their prerogative. If they are saying things that are factually incorrect, then pull up the receipts and hit them with facts. However, don’t tell them stay in their lane. Remember we have a reality TV star as a president now.
6: Stop playing the same songs as the guy before you at a festival:
Yes you have visuals and big production lined up, but fans didn’t pay hundreds of dollars (or whatever denomination) to hear the same song over and over again. Go to the set before yours, if you can, and make the effort to switch things around. You are a DJ -- that is the least you can do. Stop being lazy and select different music.
7. Labels – Stop signing music just for streaming:
We all know streaming is king right now and everyone is talking about in the business (like me right now!). Streaming numbers have been plastered all over artist’s pages this month as they thank fans for listening to their music. However many artists are being told that their songs won’t work because it doesn’t sound good for streaming, notably Spotify. Not all music created for streaming is good and this is shifting tastes in a direction that the services decide – not the labels.
In the end, that is up to the label to sign what they want, but if they are putting all of their eggs in that one basket, when the next big thing comes along they may be left out in the cold like the last time.
8. Stop calling everything pop or indie because it has a singer or a guitar:
You got a singer or sang on your own song. That is great. You played guitar on the song. Well done. Added elements in electronic music, notably organic elements should be celebrated. That doesn’t mean they automatically translate to pop or indie. It may sound good for press releases or your SoundCloud genre hashtag,
9. Old School DJs – stop capitalizing on cheap nostalgia to stay relevant:
We have the utmost respect for the grind and hustle it took for you to make it in this business. You put out incredible records and earned your status among the pantheon of dance music greats. No one can take that away from you. When books are written, they will mention your name as a pioneer. But, stop shaking your fist at the kids these days saying they have it great. It is harder than ever to break through and in five years, living off of streams, 80% of them will disappear. You have survived this long, so you know how to make it in this cruel and unforgiving business.
Staying relevant today is harder than ever and instead of putting that same grind, tenacity and creativity into reinventing yourself and becoming an artist that people still want to hear, some of you legends are selling the past. Those times were great and the records were great. Paying tribute to the past is fine and encouraged, but living in it is cheap and in the end damaging.