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DJs vs Data - Who Is Really Breaking New Music in 2016?

Jerel Marshall
Posted by Jerel Marshall on Oct 7


ellmatik for A3C Media Services

Streaming music services are rapidly changing the way music is discovered and consumed. Digital Service providers like SoundCloud and Spotify have created  a new convenient platform for artists to distribute their work. Additionally, these services have provided a new way for burgeoning artists to reach break out success.

Despite the cycles of change that have came and went shaping hip-hop into the genre it is today, DJs have always played a major role from the beginning of hip-hop. An A3C panel featuring four heavy hitters from every lane of the industry assembled in the LouderMilk Conference Center Wednesday October 5 to discuss the place of DJs and DSPs in today’s music environment.

Each of the panelists has their unique perspective on the ever evolving games of music promotion and distribution. Here are some of the most important quotes from the session.     

Dante Ross - VP of A&R - ADA Music, A&R Consultant - Atlantic Records

“My biggest competition will be Spotify soon. When [my artists] hit rap caviar, I can 100 percent swear by this, I always see my retail go up. It broke ‘Uber Everywhere’ (MadeinTYO) for us. We had a buzz but when it got on there and it was on there for 10 straight weeks. That's when we got the retail out of it”  

"One of the advantages of DSPs is that kids are not stealing music as much. Kids are more likey now to subscribe to a service and get their parents to pay for it than torrent it. Because kids don't want that on their hard drive anymore. People are very linear. They want everything to be clean."

"Hard ticket sells are important. If someone sells hard tickets you know that people are willing to spend money on that artist. That’s your ROI out there.”

Gray Rizzy - Radio host, personality and marketing executive

"I don't want people here believing you can just rely on the playlists. You have to DJs on the radio and in clubs get behind you too. One can't live without the other. You hvae to have both."

"There are times when I buy music on Itunes and I worry. I'm like 'd*mn. What happens if they forget?' Who would I talk to? I still don't know. I still don't have the 1-800 number for Apple. There may be one but have you seen it? So for me I still like to have something tangible. There was nothing better than go ahead and get that new Jay-Z album, crack open the cassette or CD and look at the liner notes. Because you learn so much from that. Some of that isn't even available anymore."

DJ Nabs - DJ, radio personality and music producer

“I still believe in people. Discovering music is a soulful thing. It should connect with your spirit That’s why it’s art. That’s why I think the relationship between a DJ and his audience will alaways be important.”

"The thing about technology is when something is new, it's not always a good idea to just go totally embrace it. They are all tools. All of this stuff is just tools. And you find out over time what really works. Something new comes, embrace it. Why not? But don't discard the old. That's a mistake."

Justin Boland - DJ, recording artist, Head of hip-hop and R&B Programming - Pandora

“I think a combination of analytics and your gut feeling and your cutation and your group of trusted folks is what matters. I know if Dante is telling me about a record I know it’s going to be good because I trust his instincts. But interpreting the data and the analytics is almost just as important. I think you have to be able to look at the data, interepret it and use it against your gut feeling.”

"This new generation never had the experience of going to the store to buy music. It meant something to have to save up some cash to go to the record store to buy the music that you wanted. That's one of the reasons the value has sort of diminished on the music because you don't get that experience anymore”

Jerel Marshall

Written by Jerel Marshall

Jerel has covered sports, music and culture for the past 10 years. Whether writing on topics such as the Atlanta Hawks or the musical stylings of electric soul duo Honne, Jerel's work is always brimming with passion and honesty. Also, he'll probably beat you in 2K.

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