In the past, we used to give our releases to a certain download store - mostly Beatport, sometimes Traxsource - exclusive for a limited period of time. For a label like Pesto with limited PR budget, it was a welcome opportunity to get banners or get featured, thus increasing exposure and sales.
To be honest though, we did not really see any changes in sales with regards to being featured or not. Some banner on Beatport or Traxsource is a nice thing to brag about and post screenshots to Facebook but in reality, it doesn't boost sales in a way that justifies excluding other download stores for at least two weeks.
Fast forward to late May 2012, we all could see the Traxsource/DJ Sneak drama unfold in shining glory. In case you missed it, here's Sneak's post on Facebook. It was followed by an official statement from Traxsource, which can be found here on Traxsource's Facebook page. Let's forget about all these questions of honour, how to run a business, etc. - I can side with both parties here and understand their respective point of view. What's more striking, especially taking into account what we were thinking regarding exclusive releases in the paragraph above, is this (quote from Traxsource's statement):
This means, when we receive a release after it has been exclusive elsewhere, we do not feature it on the site in any prime positions. Our customers know what's what and we feel its insulting to them to feature old music with today's date on it. Since we began this policy in mid 2011, we’ve seen dramatic positive results and more and more top tiered labels are providing content to all sites at the same time. We feel this is the trend moving forward.
So, let's look at from the angle of the good ol' record store days: was it usual to exclude certain record stores? Were there releases exclusive to a certain record shop? For major labels, there was this option indeed but it was never usual for underground labels - at least not to my knowledge. And when looking closer, it doesn't make a lot of sense either: when you want to sell a product, you want it to be available in as many spots as possible unless it's some super duper exclusive (sic!) product like a Bugatti Veyron. An MP3 download is quite the opposite of said luxury car.
Traxsource makes another point:
We feel it cannot be smart for top tiered artists and labels to make their releases harder to find legitimately and more expensive during the short period of demand. Lets say you make a big track and its in high demand. A young DJ Google's it and finds 100 links to free versions on various illegal file sharing sites and only 1 link to buy it legitimately, but in a store he doesn't like, and its more expensive then it should be. We feel this scenario happens every day, and drives demand for the illegal copy and ultimately hurts all of us.
Now we are probably not a top tiered label (we're trying though) but point taken. So let's think again: we have no reason for exclusive releases but we have good reasons against it. Easy decision then, innit?
Yesterday, we sent out the promos for Pesto 017 and Brian Tappert of Traxsource sent me this message:
Hi Jon, These tracks sound great. Wondering if you would consider to provide them to us same time as all other sites? Really like what you guys do. HollaKind Regards,Brian
I hope this answers your question, Brian. :)
One last word about exclusive releases: with all of the above being true and fact, we still consider exclusive releases in the future. This can happen in exclusive tracks only available on a certain platform (we did this a few years ago already) and/or in exclusive downloads directly from Pesto Music, for example via our Bandcamp page or a (to be implemented) dedicated store on our web site. So, in the future it may say "exclusive from pesto.de, all download stores to follow 14 days later".
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments!
This time, Romania's Addex is our man featuring his signature atmospheric deep sound on "Rumble In The Bronx". Small vocal chops are laid out on a stomping beat, keeping the tune dry and direct in the first third. Guitar snips and chord stabs take the tune towards a lush breakdown, just to return to that steady groove with the help of shiny cymbals.
Greece's Ilias Katelanos sticks to the deepness factor of the original but introduces a slightly shakier groove, adding some congas and a pulsating synth line. A classic Deep House bass line gives this tune a bit more chest-bumping than the original, making it ideal for an early evening purpose.
From Denmark, we have DeepWit's head honcho Alvaro Hylander who extracts the pads from the original to lay them on an infectious, deeply pumping drums and bass foundation. Punching kick, lower than low bass and an even housier groove turn this into a floor-filling rework, perfect for pre-peaktime sets.
Nadja Lind, that lovely fairy from Berlin eventually invites us on a trip to deep Dub land. The guitar samples play a major role here, being nicely used on top of a trippy atmosphere, chords being added when the remix returns to a heavily Basic Channel-ish infected groove work, let alone the truly rumbling bass. Beach venues will appreciate this mix.
Finally, Addex himself offers a more stripped down Dub of the great Original, with an amazing bass line full of balearic goodness. A hi string is introducing a soft hook line that keeps floating on this ride-driven, lush package of fantastic deepness. Summer vibe might be a good description here as well.
catalogue #: Pesto 017
title: Rumble In The Bronx
release date: 10th July 2012 worldwide
01. Rumble In The Bronx (Original)
02. Rumble In The Bronx (Ilias Katelanos Remix)
03. Rumble In The Bronx (Alvaro Hylander Remix)
04. Rumble In The Bronx (Nadja Lind Remix)
05. Rumble In The Bronx (Dub)
Here's the long overdue PestoMix 018, this time by Simon Tappenden - a true deep tech House soldier deluxe, supplying the global underground scene with arse-kicking tracks and DJ mixes since the 1990ies of the last century.
This mix represents that deep TechHouse flavour artists from England are famous and loved for (at least by myself). But it surely also bears Simon's distinctive signature which you will also be able to check out soon on our upcoming 2.0 compilation "Deep Blue Dubs". We're happy to have one of Simon Tappenden's tracks among a bunch of other deep tunes, coming to Beatport on 28th September 2011.
Speaking of british performers, let me put it like this: if Paul Jones' PestoMix was a Pesto alla Genovese, this is a Pesto Nero in the best sense of the word. Enjoy!
01. Rene Breitbarth - Leisure Larry (Franklin De Costa Remix)
02. The Timewriter - King Of Calm
03. Hans Thalau - Tuva (Rene Breitbarth Remix)
04. Matthais Vogt - Rudiments
05. Claudio Giordano - Gardens Of Flower
06. Brawther - Spaceman Funk
07. Danny Howells - Everything's Here (Deetron Remix)
08. Cosmin TRG - Magnetic Bodies
09. Mathias Kaden & Pi-ge - Konomama
10. Rene Breitbarth - Right And Left
11. Ossie - The Power Of Love
12. Kuningas - Jupiter
13. Avenir - My Mood
14. Karol XVII & MB Valence - Anxiety
15. SoundSAM - Trails Of Acid
16. Kevin Griffiths - Cantona Kung Fu (Arto Mwambe Remix)
17. Roman Stange - Paratroupr Maximal
click here to be transferred to iTunes
click here for the direct MP3 link or right-click and choose "save as"
Now, I don't have a problem with people who'd like to try before buying. They want to listen to the whole tune, not just some two-minute snippet on Beatport or some 45-seconds preview on iTunes. I do understand that! But if I really like a tune which I've acquired in a similar manner, I'm buying it in the end. Especially when using it in my DJ sets.
Then, you have the die-hard fans. They upload a Pesto track to YouTube, share it with their friends, record it from some web radio and post that to SoundCloud. They are not aware of any evil they might be doing or any harm that their action may cause to both artists and labels. They just love the tune and thus, they put it up their profile on whatever service.
How do you deal with them?
Let me give you an example. I have a Google alert set for various keywords in order to monitor other people's activity on Pesto releases. One of them is set up for the keyword "cloudsteppers" which is the artist of our Pesto 012 single. So, last weekend, I find a mention in my RSS feed for that very keyword and see it's a SoundCloud link. I thought "hmm, maybe it's Vyach of Cloudsteppers who put up a snippet on his SoundCloud" but the link pointed to a profile I wasn't aware of. I clicked the link, SoundCloud opened and I was displayed my Soda Inc. remix of Cloudsteppers' "Make Me Shine". No problem, fans tend to do that. I see downloads are enabled and it's nearly the whole tune, hijacked from some web radio stream - available as a free download.
Well, there's a free download of that Cloudsteppers track on pesto.de but, in fact, it's not the "Jon Silva's Soda Inc. Remix".
At this time, a label has two options:
1. lawyer up, hit the gym, profit.
2. write a message to the poster, explaining the backgrounds, kindly asking to disable downloads.
I went for option 2. and here's what I wrote (including all grammar and spelling errors - it was a Sunday):
Here's a transcript:
Just came across my remix of that Cloudsteppers track on your profile. I'm happy you like the tune and when people put our Music (the mix is released on my Pesto label) on their profile, it usually means they're big fans. That's awesome!
However, it takes away possible income from the artists and the label - especially when offered as download.
I am therefore asking you to disable downloads and if you feel like supporting both the artist and the label (Cloudsteppers, Pesto Music and me), please add a download link to a store. You can use a link to Beatport for example: http://www.beatport.com/release/make-me-shine/151087
Feel free to keep the track on your profile, you don't have to remove it but please disable downloads.
Hope you understand:)
cheers & have a great weekend,
PS: did you know we have a Pesto FreeBee, a free download of another version of Make Me Shine? Check this out: http://pesto-usa.com/PestoCast/Make_Me_Shine_FreeBee_Version.mp3
Less than 24 hours later, I get a reply:
I thank you for having written, downloads is disable,
(CLOUDSTEPPERS - Make Me Shine (Jon Silva's Soda Inc remix) by Olga Wagner :))
and thanks for another link, I'm glad!
Rather than pissing off one person with an unnecessary lawsuit and additional hustle, I now have a supporter. Rather than Olga telling her friends what dickheads the Pesto guys are, she's now probably telling them that we're just reasonable and that we appreciate our fans doing free promo for us. At least, I hope so. Worst case: she doesn't tell anybody but points her friends and social circle to her profile and we get more exposure. Everybody wins.
What I was about to say: I don't mind if you post our tracks. A person who's satisfied with the sound quality on YouTube or SoundCloud wouldn't buy it anyway. No sales gone. A person who's convinced of having a right to download music, software, ebooks and the likes for free without any consideration for the authors wouldn't be buying in any case.
It's up to you - the fan, the listener, the reader, the enjoyer - to pay for non-physical, digital goods. If nobody pays, there won't be as much material for you to download in the future. If you support the artists and the labels that bring lovely music to you, the artist will be able to buy a new piece of gear to record vocals or a guitar. The label will be able to buy stock photography for cover artworks, buy label software, buy new mastering plugins to improve the overall label's sound and so on and so forth.
It's all up to you! Your decision makes the difference.
Ya feelin me or you tend to disagree? Let us know in the FB comments.
First things first: let me express how overwhelmed I am by the sheer number of contributions! With Pesto being the small label that we are, I would have expected maybe 20 or 25 remixes at best. We had 50 in our inbox - wow, you guys are effin amazing! Hats off to you for putting time, effort and love in your reworks! I'd also expected to have like 3 or 4 decent remixes, hence the licenses for the first two winners for the awesome softsynths "Discovery Pro" (worth 149EUR) and "Discovery" (worth 75EUR), sponsored by makers of fine software synths discoDSP. But no way, we have way more than 3 decent remixes!
A word to discoDSP: I've also contacted other manufacturers of plugins, which I won't name here, that replied "your Alexa ranking doesn't look good, I expect some additional promotion from giving away free licenses". Note to self: don't buy at this company anymore. There's a german saying that goes "other mothers have pretty daughters as well" - other developers have proper compressors, too;)
So let me take the chance to say a big thank you to discoDSP, namely head of the company George Reales for getting back really quick and on top of that being very nice and generous. Make some noise for discoDSP, please! Usually, it says "our proud sponsors" but in this case we're the ones being proud of the sponsor. ¡Muchas gracias!
Where were we? Ah, the winners. Hang on, I need to say something about being biased first. When going through the list of winners, you'll find quite some people that are either Pestoleros (=artists) already or are somewhat closely related to us. I tried to be as objective as possible but, in the end, choosing remixes from a contest always is a highly subjective issue. I did not look at the names, I did not care for the genres provided - I think I proved I wasn't biased by publishing detailed feedback on your contributions. In fact, there are quite some Pesto artists who submitted remixes that didn't make it among the best 10. If you feel my rating of your remix is somewhat unfair or you don't understand what I meant, feel free to drop me a line via the contact form (I'll be off next week, so please allow 10 days for a reply).
Here are the first two winners of the Pesto Remix Contest 2011 for my "Aegean" tune:
1. Ilias Katelanos: like I said in my review, Ilias has home field advantage being from Athens. The emotions I tried to pack into "Aegean" were in fact triggered by a lot of stays and DJ gigs in Greece, not limited to the Aegean sea. If you know me a bit better, you know that I love Greece, I love Greeks, I love greek food, I love the mediterranean sea. And even though the mediterranean sea has lots of lovely spots and lovely people all around its edges, Greece will always remain special for me. I've made so many outstanding experiences in Greece, namely on some island in the Aegean sea that I was simply impressed of how well Ilias translated this vibe - even though we've never met in person (yet).
Like I said, this remix is "like a sunrise in the Aegean when the starry sky fades and all the shades of night grey are replaced by intense colours". It's also masterly and beautifully crafted, it's obvious that Ilias has a lot of experience in making music and that's what sets his remix apart from the others. Congrats mate, you've just won a license of "Discovery Pro" - hope it adds nicely to your sound arsenal:)
2. snapd/Science Associates: similar issue here. What strikes me is the highly professional level on which this rework was created. It seems to be very easy and accessible but this is achieved by applying lots of very smart and subtle details. The sound selection, the balance of the mix, the overall sound/production - all that is very "official" and I would not hesitate to spend money in order to get such a remix. I already said in my review: it is indeed trancy and it is a bit cheesy. But it's an amount of cheesy that's not only tolerable but Phill (aka snapd) managed to stay on the edge in a very elegant way. If I heard this on the radio, I'd say "if there were more tunes like this on the FM, I'd finally try to listen to the radio again". It's not that David Guetta-in-your-face-cheese, it's a well matured Pecorino with truffles.
Congrats also to you Phill, you've really more than earned that "Discovery" license!
So, these are the winners of the softsynth licenses. Problem: we have more - not only decent, but really proper - remix submissions. I've selected the ones I digged the most and, including Ilias and snapd, got a list of 11 remixes I consider worth releasing. Some of them may need a few tweaks here or there for the final release and they'll surely all get a proper mastering. At this point, I'm a bit undecided how to handle this issue. For the Aegean single, we already have a remix by Miami's Andrew Chibale next to the original and the first two. I think that's enough tracks for a release.
So I thought, we could make some compilation that will go on sale via the usual channels (Juno, iTunes, Traxsource, Beatport & Co) but I will discuss with all artists if there's maybe another way. Maybe donate the income to a good cause (I mean 100%) or offer the compilation as a Pesto FreeBee so that the remixers will get maximum exposure. If listeners enjoy what they hear, we could still set up a donate button or pay royalties to the remixers. Let's see;)
Why are you still here? Ah, the list of runners up. Here you are (in no particular order):
- Leaking Shell (UK/Germany)
- Nick Fay (FYROM)
- Chuter (UK)
- Alex Semchuk (Ukraine)
- Simon Tappenden (UK)
- J Kar (Greece)
- Paus & Darang (Sweden)
- Fair Play Knight (Russia)
- DJ Jem (Greece/UK)
Once again, thank you so much for all your great contributions, to discoDSP for the great prizes, to Sarah Haswell at SoundCloud and Ronnie at rekkerd.org for supporting the contest! I've wanted to test drive that remix contest thingy but now I can assure you there will be another one in 2012!
So let's quickly get to the last ten remixes then, Final Countdown out, Aegean in - you can't explain that;)
I'll anounce the winners in a bit and in a dedicated blog post.
Lee Fraged Back To The 90s remix:
pro: cool bassline reminiscent of some Hardfloor, build-up simple but working
con: I find the organ sound to be a bit weak for that bassline, keeps the track somewhat low in energy
pro: good implementation of the original hookline, proper arrangement, buildup in the break is awesome opens the tune width-wise, breakbeat part keeps the suspension, good additional sequences, has artist's signature, good adaption for this genre
con: could have a bit more energy or get a bit more driving when the straight bassdrum drops in, orchestra hit is a bit too cheesy imo
pro: nice vibe
con: arrangement has little detail, chords don't match base note properly, chords drop in too immediate and have too little variation
pro: Oh hai, it's you!:) innovative use of the sequences to trigger percussions, best remix of the 5
con: I'm used to having claps on 2 and 4 and not on 1 and 3 but I'm trying to get the concept behind 1/3 claps, hihats/shakers too loud and too hissy, sequences too loud compared to the beat, still lacking focus but much better than the other contributions, a bit too long
Roberto Conforto Remix:
pro: good use of the original sequences, simple but effective beats, detailed arrangement, signature, bent drone/F1 car passing by sound
con: a bit weak in the bass section compared to the energy level of the rest: screaming sequences require a solid fundament imo
pro: interesting use of the sequences by shifting them timewise, build up good
con: lacks bass severely (especially noticeable after the break ends), too wet, bassline sound too deep for the screaming hooklines, lacks focus
Fair Play Knight Electro Remix:
pro: this guy knows his shit regarding punchy drums, proper arrangement, signature, nice harmonies
con: lacks focus a little and therefore creates a more floating atmosphere, which I find a little irritating considering the "harsh" timbre of the sounds used
Jai Lyra remix:
pro: that's what I call a clubby bassdrum, good groove, proper build-up, detail, very DJ-friendly arrangement
con: that sequence after 04:09 doesn't really sit right with the base notes although I like the idea
Ωti Drug's remix:
pro: interesting soundscape, if it did not have beats and was a bit shorter, it could make for a cool ambient track
con: lacks focus (or the focus is too much on swooshes), too wet and washed out, arrangement lacks, is a bit undecided whether being a dance or chillout track (and yeah, I know some people have invented the Chill House subgenre but that's not that)
DJ Jem Remix:
pro: awesome chopping job, very detailed arrangement, focus, cool build-up throughout the whole tune (remember the remixes I critized for having two parts not being connected enough? Here's an example of how to do that)
con: maybe a bit too many breakdowns although that creates a lot of variation, the last part after 05:44 is a bit lengthy and could have more variation