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Can you outline the major pros and cons of digi-only? Have you ever lost out on any mooted releases or acts because the artists
Kenny Speers: “Pros: primarily the reduced cost in making the track avail- were vinyl disciples?
able. The main con with downloading is the effect it’s having on the music Alexander Meinhardt: “We’ve actually lost great releases to vinyl in the past.
industry in general, making life difficult for music retailers, and people Some of those releases never saw the light after all. Shame, but we com-
caring less about the actual quality of what they are listening to.” pletely understand an artist who prefers a Soul:R 12” over a digital release
Migu: “Pros: you don’t need to wait for any shipping. One click and you with us!”
can get any track what. Cons: digital releases can be found at the same D-Func: “All our artists are happy releasing digital due to the good vibe we
quality [by illegal downloaders].” have within the label. Running a label is about building relationships with
people and doing what you say you will. The format is irrelevant in my
One of the by-products is that without physical sleeves a record’s art- opinion, but the future is digital. Make of that what you will!”
work is immediately reduced to a jpeg. Is it a pity that artwork gets Kenny Speers: “We find most artists, particularly ones that are less established,
downgraded, so to speak, or is that relatively unimportant? are open to digital releases, as they are keen to simply get their material
Migu: “Artwork’s important for our label. It is part of a release like the heard. We have, however, found more established artists are sometimes
music itself. Unfortunately it’s not possible to get a high quality sleeve with reluctant to get involved unless vinyl is part of the deal.”
a release if you buy it in a digital store. But sleeves are available on our Jonny Steward: “Most artists who are regularly releasing music on vinyl will
website free of charge.” not release digital-only. There is a definite snobbery towards digital-only
Alexander Meinhardt: “It’s always been our goal to keep the artwork nice and releases. But I’m not too bothered whether people buy our tunes on vinyl
tidy. Of course you cannot compare a jpeg to a physical record sleeve but or MP3; I just want them to pay for them!”
artwork will always stay important for us.”
Jonny Steward: “Artwork is hugely important to us. This is the reason we no Will vinyl ever die out? And if it does, would you be sad to see it go?
longer release promo copies.” Migu: “Maybe the same would happen just like with our fathers who were
D-Func: “I have a ton of vinyl in the UK, but nice as the artwork is, I was collecting progressive rock vinyl. At that time the CD business came and
always more interested in the music.” destroyed vinyl. It would be healthy if vinyl and digital can exist in the
Kenny Speers: “We feel artwork doesn’t have the same importance in the digi- same time without any damage.”
tal domain.” Alexander Meinhardt: “It can never be replaced in terms of feeling and con-
trolling. Everything is going to disappear sometime but we hope that the
Is the difference between digital and vinyl overstated in the big picture DJ and collector culture keeps vinyl alive as long as we do.”
of d&b? And has digitalisation had a significant effect on dj sets, live Jonny Steward: “I can’t see vinyl dying out anytime soon. Some people will
shows, etc.? always want a physical product and a lot of producers will only want to
Jonny Steward: “Not the raves I go to.” release on vinyl.”
Kenny Speers: “It is easier and cheaper to get promos exposed to a wider au- Kenny Speers: “As long as we are playing and making music, we will continue
dience with digital. DJs can vary their sets more and it’s easier for them to to use and support the format, and hopefully so will others. If the day
keep updated with new material.” comes when vinyl does completely disappear, it will be sad one. Vinyl is a
Migu: “I don’t think it has any significant effect on raves or DJ sets if the classic format and the music industry wouldn’t be the same without it. We
quality of a digital set is high as a vinyl set.” feel that vinyl and digital can co-exist but things do change, sometimes for
D-Func: “It makes no difference whatsoever. People on the dancefloor better or worse.”
wouldn’t care if you’re playing tunes from a cassette. Well, maybe. But 320 D-Func: “I saw a great T-shirt the other day, saying ‘Vinyl is killing the mp3
[kbps] MP3s are virtually indistinguishable from vinyl to the untrained industry’. But, seriously, vinyl is how I got into drum & bass and I’ll always
ear, and that is who you are playing to in a club: people who are out for a love it, but times have changed and the future is digital. I’d definitely be
good time, not to stroke their chins chatting about music formats. It’s all sad to see vinyl go, but it could do one day soon.”
about the music, not the format.”
www.kmag.co.uk
K42-43_DigitalLabels.indd 43 19/3/09 15:06:58
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