Any lover of trance music will know Ricky Simmonds and Stephen Jones under one of their multitude of aliases Ascension, Chakra, Essence, Kamillian, Lustral, Oxygen, and Space Brothers. In 2004, they launched Audio Jelly as an online label to sell their productions. The successful digital download site quickly grew with labels and producers coming on board to sell their music online. With an extensive lineup of upfront European dance music, AudioJelly is a favorite of DJs and dance music lovers around the world.
DJ Ron Slomowicz: So how did y'all start Audio Jelly?
Ricky Simmonds: We started Audio Jelly first and foremost as an online label to support and sell our own projects such as Space Brothers, Chakra, and Lustral. There was never an intention for it to be a store like it is now with about fifteen hundred labels, but just before we launched, other producer friends and a few label pals asked if they could sell music through our portal. So by the time we actually got to launch in May/June 2004, we suddenly had about twenty labels and literally by fluke realized we were becoming a store as opposed to just a label. So we're here by fluke as opposed to design.
RS: Is Audio Jelly strictly a European thing or is it open to the world?
Ricky Simmonds: It's a global download site but recently in the last year, we've worked with labels that can only sell to certain territories so we've had to work that into the system. From a punter point of view, pretty much ninety to ninety-five percent of the music on there is available to buy throughout the world.
RS: Is your audience mostly DJ or consumer?
Ricky Simmonds: Mostly DJ, about seventy to eighty percent DJ. It's hard to always tell because with the many thousands of people, we don't get a direct eMail and correspondence with all of them. But from a lot of the people that correspond with us through feedback or requesting certain labels or tunes, pretty much most of them are DJs.
RS: How do you see Audio Jelly replacing the traditional record
Ricky Simmonds: I think labels will always continue but I think the labels will eventually, after the next two to three years, become digital only. There's quite a few that are thinking about ditching vinyl and CD at the moment, but the general feeling is that people want to keep vinyl as purely a profile thing because people aren't making that much. Most labels don't make money out of a vinyl run. So it's really just kind of for the profile of certain DJs getting copies of their vinyl, but it's a loss leader really.
RS: So you created this Audio Jelly engine and then you licensed
under Web Jelly, how did that get launched?
Ricky Simmonds: The Web Jelly company is really borne out of Audio Jelly with the people that developed the back end of Audio Jelly with us. We then suddenly had labels, Zulu was first actually, who asked us if we could build a download store for their own website, which was fairly easy to do for us. It became one of these situations that grew organically where we suddenly had a few labels requesting their own download stores on their own sites. So we suddenly created this company called Web Jelly which provides that service as well as services for non-music related websites like jewelry or clothes online stores. But that's purely people just approaching us, hearing about us, and our company adapting to their needs as well.
RS: On Audio Jelly, what's been your number one most downloaded track?
Ricky Simmonds: It's probably "Everytime" by our own act Lustral and probably mainly because it's a work of genius.
Stephen Jones: It was the first track we ever uploaded to the site, so considering it's been online for two years and there's twelve mixes of it, it continues to sell. It's the only place in the world where you can buy it as well, there's no other download service on the planet where you can get "Everytime" so there's no vinyl left so it continues to sell by the bucket load.
Ricky Simmonds: And its a bloody good lyric.