Quality Control

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Quality Control

Last week I made this little meme (how on earth do you pronounce that word ??). I posted on here and ‘the good book’ and it got the usual feedback. A lot of people agreeing and another load of people totally missing the point and stating how much great music there is out there at the moment and that I need to dig deeper to find it. I don’t need to do anything, I know what and where great music is, I am also aware of the amount of utter garbage passing itself off as ‘Deep House’.
As always, being the diplomat, I have to state that of course the appreciation of music is subjective and what I may think is shit others may love. However, the issue lies with the categorising of the genres and where the responsibility falls to get this ‘right’. It was surprising to hear from ATFC on this topic that took place on my Facebook wall that many of the on-line stores now DO NOT allow a label to say which genre a release falls into, and as he states this is great if it goes in your favour but not so if you are pigeon -holed into a genre that non of your usual fan base would think of looking to find your release.
Waking up at an ungodly 5.15am today I saw this related thread on one of the world’s undisputed pioneers page and decided to share.

Topic Title

“Fuck me there’s some horse shit out there passing itself off as deep house. Looks like ‘deep house’ just became the new ‘house’.  Anonymous.

Cue 36 comments…. followed by

No I’m not going to name and shame, anybody who knows anything about this music will know exactly the kind of records I’m talking about. Besides my disappointment about this isn’t 100% focused on the producers.
Historically most artists / producers have a terrible track record with knowing what will work, that’s the job of a record label a&r person, real DJ’s (not just bandwagon jumpers or people doing it to get laid), distributors & record store stock buyers.
As most DJ’s these days are also producers they can no longer be relied upon as a true gauge so it falls first and foremost to the record labels alone to decide what makes a good release. Sadly this can’t be relied upon either as many labels seem to be just throwing out any old shit just to build their catalogues and boost their profiles, also hardly of these labels actually have an A&R dept and judging by the sheer amount of rubbish that is getting released they don’t even have anybody there that seems to know or care if it’s good or not.
Next in line are the distributors. Since the demise of vinyl there are hardly any of these left and the ones that are still around don’t have a lot of choice due to the limited amount of physical product being released. Personally, In my opinion, these guys were the most important link in the chain as they ultimately decided what saw the light of day. If they didn’t buy it from the label, the shops couldn’t buy it from them and the customer never got to hear it. Quality control.
Even if there were more physical items being released there are hardly any record shops left to sell them in any way.
So, the real problem here lies with the shops, no longer bricks and mortar but virtual record shops, download stores. If there is one cog in the dance music machine to blame for the sad state of the scene at the moment it has to be these guys. There HAS to be some form of quality control. Every download store should employ a team of “buyers” that decide whether they wish to stock each release on a case by case basis no matter what label it’s on or what artist / producer is involved. Everybody would benefit in the long run. If your release is refused the producer would have to re-think their approach to production and the labels would actually have to start being a bit more choosy when signing tracks. It’s a harsh fact but not everything that gets printed in a studio (home or otherwise) DESERVES a general release. Sometimes it’s just shit but there is nobody in the whole process saying so.
Also, think what that would do to the producers, artists & labels that are getting their music successfully released at the stores. Think about how much profile and encouragement this would give them to keep delivering quality music.
Of course the solution above isn’t without its floors. “But what one guy at the store A&R dept thinks is shit might be the best track ever to a customer!”. Yes this is true, but this is how it worked for years and years with vinyl releases and record shops and I think you’ll agree that it worked just fine. The key is to employ people who actually know about the music! Many of us had our favourite person at our local record shop that knew our style and when we walked in asking to hear the new bits we’d get given a pile of records that were relevant to us because we trusted that he knew what was good.
If we’re going to move forward with selling music digitally some things need to change because, at the moment, the sheer amount of new releases available every day on the download stores is just making customers weary and they are fast losing interest.

Brilliant words there from (*omitted on request).. to the point and right on the money.
I just went to Beatport. I am not singling them out as the worst culprit, but it is pretty easy to find examples immediately in their Deep House Top 10 that , in my opinion, do not bear ANY REMOTE resemblance to house music except their 120-124bpm range. Herein lies the problem.
People will now jump up and say “Hold on, times change, music changes, shut up you old wanker”. So I’m going to get some muesli, dressed in my slippers and Hugh Heffner dressing gown. PLAYER !
Maybe the quote should read:
“Dear Deep House, I am so sorry you are being blamed for all the crimes against music being committed by others claiming to be you. I hope they all fuck off soon.”
That doesn’t work so well on a photograph though.


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1 Comment

  1. I agree with you Andy, my negative views on this latest trend of pitched down vocals and early 90’s house production are well documented…however I guess people will vote with their feet and also its down to preference and choice. Danny is right there is a huge volume of work coming out now and it makes the filtering activity more laborious for DJ’s, but personally I am getting quite an ear for it…I quickly pick up on what I think is shit and what isnt and buy accordingly. Thats the one good thing of online digital stores I guess is the ability to listen to tracks conveniently and quickly.

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