So Dave, now the reality of Coronavirus and social distancing has finally sunk in, what are your thoughts on the current climate for artists and how do you see them keeping afloat until its all back to normal?
It’s a tough situation it really is. For many, the reality is that they’re going to have to find new way of earning a living as I can’t see live events (which have been the main source of income for most artists for a long time now) getting anywhere near back to normal until at least 2021 and quite possibly, further beyond that.
Social distancing for nightclubs and concerts is almost impossible and I think a lot of people just won’t want to be congregating in large groups anyway, not until we’ve found a vaccine at least, so I think smaller events will be the first to emerge. They’ll be slightly more manageable but then, by definition they generate less income so there’ll just not be enough of a pie to feed everyone.
Plus, for someone like me, who’s majority of gigs were international, the whole problem of travel is another huge obstacle to overcome. The aviation industry is right up there with the entertainment industry in terms of some of the hardest hit so the Worldwide touring circuit as we knew it could take years to recover. Of course, a lot this could also be viewed as a positive development. Many would argue that local scenes were being decimated by large commercial events and a shift back to basics might just be what the whole scene needed.
You recently recorded an exclusive set for the new subscription streaming service Clubify. Do you feel they have got their proposition right for artists, by offering them a lifetime share of the revenue generated through sign ups that arise through their fanbase?
It’s an interesting model for sure. I think as artists, we’ve all been happy to provide content during lockdown, just as much to help our own sanity as everyone elses, but I think moving forward long term, there is something in the idea of live streaming becoming more of a viable business.
Of course, like actually going to a football match or to the cinema, it’s always better to be there in person for the best experience, but you can still enjoy football and movies from home and I think it will be the same for live events. If you can’t actually get to a gig but would still like to see and hear your favourite artists perform in high quality audio and definition (which is key once you start asking people to pay) then I think a lot of people won’t mind spending a fiver or a tenner or whatever cdepending on the content.
Especially if you’ve got a few people together at home having a house party on a Saturday night and you can pump your favourite DJ into your living room as part of the nights entertainment!
I know I’ve really enjoyed hearing people like John Digweed every weekend for the last 13 weeks. In fact, I’ve seen and heard more artists in the last few months than I probably have over the last few years! It’s been one of the positives to come out of this situation and I think as a whole, we’ve already grown accustomed to being able to tune into the huge choice of livestreams on offer. Something that will continue way after we’ve come out of lockdown.
Do you think it’s time for fans to accept that the new normal is they’re going to be asked to pay for live stream content?
I think it’s inevitable yes. It’s not really sustainable to go on being free forever. Particularly if there’s no other form of income to offset it with. Now is probably not the right time though as so many are struggling with the economic effects of Covid and we’ve all got to come together and muck in for the greater good but long term yes, maybe something like Clubify with it’s monthly subscription model akin to Spotify, where you can simply log in and choose from hundreds of different artist livestreams will have a future. I can’t see why not.
Your new release is out on Selador. Racket Abuse!? Where do you dream up these names Dave?
Ha! I suppose I’ve always fancied myself as a bit of a wordsmith. Probably stems from my days as editor of Mixmag. But I just think having a memorable title is another way to help the music stand out from the crowd a bit.
So I’ve always got my ears open for little phrases or particular words that resonate with me and then scribble them down in my little black book ready for a rain day. Believe me, there’s plenty more where this came from!
But to coin a couple of much overused clichés, at the end of the day, it’s the music that does the talking in the end and I really couldn’t be happier with how this release turned out. I’m super proud of my own version and big respect to Fairmont and Theus Mago for turning in a couple of top notch remixes too. Everyone brought their A-game 😉