Chris Barbour (Global Underground) said that as a record label, we ultimately work towards sales and build a foundation to keep club music alive. Kurosh Naseri mentioned that people get defensive because everyone has limits of what they do. Managers, agents, etc pass the buck and in this economy, we can't do things as usual.
Dave Aude agreed, saying that DJs need to open the lines of communication and get people excited about dance music. We have to rethink the process and do more than just spin records for a couple of hours. Give people a little more to get them more excited. Kurosh pondered, "How do we get excited?" and said that we have make a complete package, having a story and that touring should be a component.
Lee Bridle (Most Wanted) said that to reach the mass market, getting a tour covered in the media (TV, magazines) is important. He continued that dance music stresses the youth market, 15-24 which is what the marketers want.
Ken Smith (Crobar) said that its easy to book the big guys but you have to focus on breaking new talent. This is critical because of the economy, everyone needs to hunker down and save money yet get to the next level. Cover charges and CD prices have to come down and we must stop the bidding wars.
As a new talent, Galleon talked about translating success on the underground scene to crossover to radio and sales using club events as part of the promotion. "It's hard for big labels to see that the right way to break an artist in clubs is to use DJs as promoters to break the music."
Chris Barbour agreed, saying that "people need to agree to work together, and plan a project with everyone in communication from the beginning."
Ken mentioned that dance music is in trouble because the music got boring and we got complacent. "In the early 90s, Keoki and Moby did amazing shows but they have disappeared." Our job is to entertain - Everybody is a DJ, but you need to do it better.
Dave Aude countered that "music is the spotlight, not the DJ." He said that we needed more artists and that he could care less about the spotlight when playing live. "People are confused by DJs as artists, people aren't sure who the artist is."
Galleon mentioned that he felt more disposable as a dance artist as opposed to a pop artist because there is no real contact between an artist with the audience and "everyone knows the name of a song but not the artist."
Kurosh was concerned that artists who do PAs often clear the floor and that they have an asset that needs to be used effectively as part of a show.
Ken agreed, "For live club PA's the segue has to be perfect between artist and DJ." The crowd reaction is often "wow there is an artist" behind the record as opposed to rock music which always has a face with an act.
Chris questioned "what about the fan and what is exciting about the night?" He said that dance music is about the club experience where everyone is a superstar and that the promoter has to hustle to get the DJs who will make it exciting.
When asked what smalltown markets can do, panelists suggested that they get a 30-minute mix with the DJ prior to the night to play in record stores, fashion stores and possibly radio stations. Get people to listen and remember that the internet connects everything.