In an ever-changing world being at the forefront of marketing and promotion has never been more complicated. Each social platform hungry for your devotion, data, time and content. Ultimately seeking to monetise and commercialise your data, posts and every movement for their gain, not yours.
The next game changer is already in motion, with streaming redefining our musical viability and wider community engagement. Further devaluing the craft of production, marginalising the impact of Twitter, Soundcloud, Facebook and other digital promotion, impacting big corporate and indie retailers alike and making the art of direct marketing harder and more onerous forever decreasing returns. It’s not too far from making your own music, mastering and selling it direct to a small group of fans will be the only possible avenue available to many to have any control or return on their creative product.
Over the last 8 years I like to think I have made a difference to the deeper house community through various projects; housemusicdirectory, numusic promo, various deep house fans pages and my own weekly mix show, and I am hugely proud of the work done under the UM Records names in bring new names to the scene, many of whom have gone on to feature on far more prestigious labels than mine.
In this ever changing world it is inevitable that nothing can remain the same forever - and so over the last month I have been taking stock of the ‘empire’ and making the big scary decisions that are needed to keep this a pleasure to be part of and keep alive the things I hold dearest.
The conclusion of that soul searching is that with immediate effect numusic-promo.com will be closing for business. The promo business has become all about the size of your list, having the biggest but uninterested names that leave useless feedback (at best) so you can brag that Hawtin is supporting it. Or the personal interface taste of users and despite testing the waters, the dominance of what I consider bloated, over priced services is what people feel more confident or used to and so be it - I tried, it didn’t fly. Move on.
Housemusicdirectory will be ending its promotional activities and all associated social media accounts will be deleted. Given the lack of take up of the service - or should I say the lack of interest in a membership model giving members exclusive access to 173,000 plus potential buyers at a minimal cost. Seems the majority of people are happier posting to other producers and friends who are on their promo list anyway than the wider music community.
The Deep House Mixes fans page has been deleted. With only 26,000 + likes the data shows people aren’t interested in listening to mixes anywhere near as much as they did 12 months ago. It suggests the sheer volume of mixes out there from every producer trying to be a DJ coupled with the lack of clear differentiation and the increasing commonality of tracks played has left the page with little to offer that people aren’t being bombarded with from every other direction.
The Tech House fans page has just failed to take off. In whole down to me having limited time to dedicate to it’s development and so it has been deleted.
untitledmusic.org will cease to be syndicated to the 7 internet stations that have long been our home and move to being a monthly mix delivered exclusively to UM Members (sign up for free here). UM Mixes will continue to appear on Soundcloud with limited download availability, but given the platforms increasing copyright protection measures it’s only a matter of time before the site just isn’t viable for mixes leaving Mixcloud as the only mainstream online outlet (until they too follow suit - which they will).
And finally to the label…
UM Records celebrates its 5th birthday this month (Sept 26th). It’s been a learning curve, and adventure and a real rollercoaster of emotions. As it embarks on the 6th year I really wanted the label to finally become the epitome of what I’ve long believed were the essential values of a great label; professional, profitable, consistently creative and above all else brave enough to take risks with new producers rather than be content with the clique of familiarity.
From December 31 2015 all past, present and future releases will have royalties passed directly to the producers, with the label taking just 10% revenue - offering a 90% return on sales and streaming - a figure unrivalled amongst our peers in the industry - and a move that will see UM Records become a truly artist focused label.
In putting the emphasis on benefiting and helping promote producers that make the ‘UM Records grade’ it’s only fair the financial onus is theirs too - producers lucky enough to be accepted onto the release schedule will be required to finance their own mastering costs by mutual agreement. UM Records releases will still benefit from promotion on the Deep House fans page (boasting over 173,000 likes) and both the UM Records and untitledmusic.org channels - a significant marketing and sales advantage in the current ‘mpfree’ culture.
Producers wanting to know more details about these changes should contact me on the usual email address or visit the website for contact details. www.um-records.com
UM Silver Members will continue to have exclusive upfront access to EPs weeks ahead of worldwide release (sign up for free here) as well as exclusive download access to the mix series and more members’ only treats to come in the rest of 2015 and beyond.
In an ever changing world, the only real constant is change, and so the UM empire shifts it’s focus to our core business - promoting the music and artists that we see as part of the UM story - be that across digital or vinyl platforms. As ever our sound is ever evolving, always emotive, often challenging but always for the best of deeper house.