Commercialism? You can have the shirts off our backs first.
Written by Maximus Aurelius
April 16, 2010 9:46 pm
What about us?
The most challenging aspect of running Maxumi is staying true to our roots and sticking out to achieve what we set out when it all began. Looking through the site, we’re aware that maybe, just maybe, we haven’t quite stuck to our guns. We’re a bit red-faced about this, we’ve tried hard to be a smarter, higher quality alternative to existing publications. Take a look at Mixmags online site. Loosely based on the Joomla platform, no dis-respect to Mixmag but aesthetically the site looks like it was designed by a preteen. Garish colours, dotted lines and things popping up at you from all different angles. Not only this, but the advertising is verging on plain intrusive. – we count no less than 5 separate adverts on a single page. DJ Mags alternative web offering is severely lacking also. Although a smarter, less garish new design compared to Mixmags, the site just isn’t finished. We constantly find ourselves being re-directed either to non-existent pages or pages on the old site. Not only that, but again the dreaded two column ad layout that Mixmag uses has also been insisted on again here, and further to this, just like Mixmag, the adverts are extremely irritating. DJ Mags content is excellent however, it’s defintiely the place to go for in-depth interviews and reviews. Mixmag on the other hand seems to us to just be an advertising platform for festivals and releases.
But then, each site has its role, and purpose for existence. Mixmag is no doubt more appealing to the younger clubbers and DJ Mag is maybe more for the discerning EDM lover. Either way, we’re not writing this in an attempt to disrespect the two, both publications in print format are firm favourites among the community and have served as inspiration for Maxumi. What we’re highlighting is actually the reason why Maxumi is here. We had a specification that the new website must achieve. Some are below.
- High standard of journalism and writing.
- Simple, clean and smart design.
- No advertising.
- Stay true to roots – no commercialism.
Of course, we’ve had to make compromises. But we hope you will agree that we have only employed a little advertising on the site and it is nowhere near as obtrusive or garish as that which is used on other dance music websites. We do believe we have a smart, simple clean design that makes browsing and reading the site a pleasurable experience. We’re certainly not commercial here – we do work with some PR agencies, but we don’t simply re-post everything they send us. We only use material sent to us if we believe it to be relevant to the site, and we don’t, and never ever will, post material with the aim to “promote” or “drive sales” for a particular record label, brand, artist or DJ. What it all comes down to is that the people behind Maxumi on a day to day basis work in normal jobs and none of us profit in any way whatsoever from what we do. We don’t get exclusive releases, free material/goodies, free entry to clubs, or money. Though, the odd freebie here or there would be quite nice (yes, that is a hint!).
Who’s side are you on?
What’s really interesting, and opens up a whole can of worms, is when you extend this to EDM and not just what we do. EDM is a vast, vast industry involving thousands of people. Every day, millions of people go clubbing. Dance Music Festivals are among the biggest in the world and the genre has exploded in the last two decades. But just like we wish to stay true to our roots, and avoid commercialism, many other people in the EDM world have come across the same struggle. We’re scratching our heads about recent situations involving Armada, Armin Van Buurens record label.
AVB is by no means a commercial guy, or at least he never used to be. Armin has been responsible for uncovering some of the most brilliant grass roots Trance producers of recent years, and using his label Armada to promote and distribute their work. His radio show has also been a massively influential tool in the Trance world. Producers would either make it or break it depending on how well received a track would be.
Amateur DJ looks for Armada Boycott
However, in recent months a few things have happened involving Armada that have made us wonder whether AVB is indeed shifting to a more commercial side of the genre and deciding to desert the grass roots of everything he has achieved. A DJ we are aware of through Facebook, Anbrok, has recently waged war against Armada after Armada requested website “Podomatic” pull Anbroks podcasts from the site for featuring Armada tracks. Anbrok clearly makes no commercial gain from playing Armada tracks in his podcasts, and he’s a talented DJ. It’s alarming that a record label we thought was true to it’s roots is now pulling strings to kill off the internet mixing world. There’s no strictly legal way of creating a dj mix and broadcasting it, either live or as a podcast. But most bedroom and amateur DJs have been allowed to distribute mixes regardless, as mixes are great for getting people into DJ’ing, getting into the music and the industry, and not only that but mixes are also a great free way for producers to promote their tracks. So Armada, and thus more than likely Armin Van Buurens, decision to pull Anbroks mixes from the Podmatic site seems at best bizarre but at worst plain unnecessary.
We are aware that producers are frustrated with finding unreleased tracks freely available on Youtube weeks before release, but penalising amateur DJs who just wish to show off their skills is a ridiculous, and will never solve the problem. The obvious issue here is tracks on Youtube that have been cut from a mix are all but useless to use in another mix. We believe that if Armada genuinely felt Anbroks distribution of his mixes was damaging to their label and producers, they could have at least initiated contact with him to discuss it and find a way for him to be able to DJ and promote himself without causing any “damage”. We’re not aware this happened though.
If Armin Van Buuren is forgetting his grass roots and veering towards a corporate, commercial side of the industry, then he wouldn’t be the first. We love Tiesto, but Tiesto is guilty as sin for being commercial, almost for the sake of it. Recent collaborations with artists such as Nelly Furtado, Flo Rida and Sean Kingston have been, quite frankly, horrendous. Hey, we actually really would rather listen to Gramephonedzie one thousand times over then be assaulted through our ears again. Going back several years, Tiesto made his name as the most talented Trance producer and DJ on the planet. Kamaya Painters, Gouryella, Adagio For Strings, In the Dark. Every one of those names evokes genuinely amazing memories and cracking tunes. But his recent form has been below par, and we cannot imagine any viable reason for a collaboration with Flo-Rida then lining ones pocket.
This is the end…
It seems a shame that almost as soon as a producer or DJ hits the big time, they’re blinded by the bucks and shun the creativity for an Aston Martin. There are some great examples of artists and DJs who have resisted successfully, and several are Maxumi favourites. Way Out West have been around for many years, yet every single track is brilliant and nobody could ever accuse them of selling out. Hybrid are another such act, their most recent album is a musical masterpiece and whilst some may consider the use of a full Orchestra as pretentious and unnecessary, we feel is was a genuine effort to inject a bit more elegance and soul into the music.
There’s also a few current DJs and Producers that we’re hoping don’t wander astray from their roots and stay true to what they do. Mat Zo is an incredible young talent with a potentially stonking career ahead of him. Gareth Emery is another great producer and DJ of now, who we really love, and clearly so do the clubbing world with his top 10 DJ position last year in DJ Mag. So, resisting the pocket lining dazzling bright lights of commercialism is no mean feat, and one which many in our eyes simply fail. Here at Maxumi, we’re aware that smothering our site in adverts and turning it into a promoting machine to generate as much revenue as possible whilst abandoning the high quality we aim for would be all too easy. So from now on, we will try extra specially hard to ensure that Maxumi never turns to the dark side…