Last year at Amsterdam Dance Event, I heard rumblings of a new label coming to the US – Napith. Armada Music, Kontor Record, and Cloud 9 were joining together to start their own US label. With the advent of digital distribution, is licensing to US labels really necessary? A chat with labelhead Maykel Piron was very revealing with what Napith is bringing to the states.
DJ Ron Slomowicz: What is Napith Music?
Maykel Piron: What is Napith Music? Napith is Armada Music and Kontor in Germany joining forces to set up a new label in America. The other shareholders are Kurosh Nasseri and Cloud 9 music from Holland. We decided to work with nice people on a new venture in America.
RS: Why the US, why 2010?
Maykel Piron: Dance music is still growing in the US and there are not that many labels, so there's some room. We do a lot of releases on Armada, Cloud 9, and Kontor, so we picked some of the releases we are doing in Europe to release in America and we also signed tracks from other labels. I think there's room in America because there are not that many labels compared to Europe.
RS: What's your criteria for choosing a record that would go on
Napith in the US as opposed to what goes out in Europe?
Maykel Piron: We have a lot of developing artists in Europe and we have a lot of established artists already, so I think what the criteria is that we want to have a sure shot. We need to reach at least top twenty in the dance chart from iTunes. Some of the releases we've done are from Armin Van Buuren, ATB, and Dash Berlin - all artists traveling and touring in America, who are in a way already quite established.
RS: Talking about established, one thing that confused me is that
Armada is one of, if not, the biggest dance brands in the world…
Maykel Piron: Yes.
RS: Why not just bring Armada to the US and you're Armada/Kontor,
why the new name?
Maykel Piron: Because we wanted to set up something new and we didn’t want to go with Armada only to America. I've known Jens Theile, the Director from Kontor, for years and we started talking about setting up something together and it was a click. I think if you have more knowledge, more catalogue, more artists to bring in, that makes more sense, so that’s the reason why we decided not to bring in Armada but to set up a new venture together with, I think, one of the most exciting guys in the music industry.
RS: How are you promoting things in the US differently than you
are in the UK and Europe?
Maykel Piron: I think the US is far bigger. In Europe, you have countries so you promote in a country. In America you have territories so it’s a much different approach, it takes longer to promote certain tracks, certain artist albums. I think selling an album in America, also you can continue selling an album for a longer period as well. So it’s a different ball game for sure.
RS: Are you going after radio or clubs, or what's your main way
of getting the message out to the people?
Maykel Piron: We are going for digital distribution, we want to deliver every week a quality product and make sure that we distribute this online in a very broad way. Of course radio is important to get more awareness for certain tracks, but our main goal is to be a powerhouse on a digital distribution level.
RS: What are you finding to be the biggest aside from iTunes, are
you working with Masterbeat, Beatport, and Audio Jelly…?
Maykel Piron: Yes, we work with all the usual suspects in digital distribution, but iTunes is the key.
RS: Is video playing any role in this?
Maykel Piron: Video, yes. I think video is always playing a role, especially because YouTube is so big. So we have our own Napith Music YouTube channel, which already has like twenty thousand members and is growing every day, so it’s certainly something in how we promote our music.