How Positiva Records has shaped the dance music scene since 1993, A&R director Jason Ellis tells all [Interview]

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Positiva Records has been a unique influence in the music industry since its birth 25 years ago, known best for its eclectic roster of artists and breathtaking productions. With all the support Positiva has garnered over the years, the imprint has become more than just a label, but a flourishing platform for artists from all over the world to share their creations. Positiva Records has released it all – from Vengaboys’ UK No. 1 single, “Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!!” in 1997, to Martin Garrix‘s big room, chart topping, “Animals” in 2013, the label has amassed major worldwide success with several number one hits on the UK and international charts.

Jason Ellis has served as Positiva’s A&R director for over 15 years, and through his time at Positiva, with patience, perseverance, and expertise, he has developed the label to what it is today. He has kept the label diverse by choosing a wide array of artists and not confining the brand to one specific genre of music. Jason has given countless artists a foundation for their musical growth, allowing up-and-comers as well as renowned musicians to reach a massive audience of avid listeners.

Jason started his journey in the music industry at a young age, collecting vinyls from numerous artists, developing his keen sense of spotting talent by listening to many different genres from a variety of musicians.

“I was an avid record collector in my teens with quite broad tastes – Talking Heads, Tears For Fears, Japan, Simple Minds were very influential to me at the time. I worked for HMV in Birmingham for several years, and as a singles buyer in the early / mid 90’s had to be across what was big in the dance world. I started to take more interest in the scene around 1992, started DJ’ing and was hooked from then on, really. As for many of us in the dance world, Pete Tong become the main inspiration for me and I’m thrilled that he will be hosting the Positiva panel at IMS for us.”

As Jason has perfected his craft for finding and featuring producers, he sheds light on the process of choosing artists saying that the way to select,

“It depends on where they are at in the career really, but certainly talent, ambition, a certain level of commercial appeal and a good understanding of where they are as an artist and how we can help get them to where they want to be. Signing to Positiva isn’t right for every electronic producer / artist – we know that. We just want to work with talented, respectful people and help grow their profile and business.”

Along with the prosperity Positiva has earned, there have been challenges along the way. The internet, for example, has influenced both the way we consume and perceive music. “Understanding the shifting market and continuing to have hits is always a challenge,” emphasized Ellis on this new beast. “Keeping the label operating on the front line of a major label for 25 continuous years is something I’m very proud of – no one else has come close to that.”

“The anniversary campaign is a great opportunity to remind the industry and the wider public just how influential the label has been over the years and highlight the amazing artists and tracks we’ve had the privilege of working with.”

The imprint’s “ace-in-the-hole?” Jason asserts that much of Positiva’s success stems from giving artists from all genres of electronic music an opportunity to be featured on the imprint. “We’ve never been confined to one (sub) genre of electronic music, so have always been able to reflect what is popular in clubland at the time.” Competitors often lack in diversity, and when their sound goes “out of style,” it could spell a premature ending unless adaptation is involved.

That said, making a hit isn’t the most important, all-consuming thing for Ellis. Artistry is key as well, and sometimes the underdog releases end up having the most longevity. “Being part of a major label means that we’re ultimately judged on success and having hits, but it’s important to get the balance right,” he notes. In fact, he even admits that, “some of the most important and influential releases over the years haven’t always been the biggest sellers.”

“We’re no bandwagon jumpers and have always lived and breathed the electronic music world, even when it may not be fashionable to do so. I also believe strongly that how you behave and are perceived as a label during the tougher times or when things don’t always work out well can pay dividends when things pick up again.”

Jason says that the most important thing he has learned over the years, in addition to the pillars of “passion, commitment, and respect,” has been following his intuitions. Trusting oneself, in his opinion, is essential in the path of success. “Always trust your gut instinct,” he advises. “I’ve been talked out of signing a few records over the years that have gone on to be huge. Not a great feeling!”

“Be true to your word – it’s all well and good promising the earth when trying to sign a track or artist, but you have to back that up with your actions. Communication is key – even if the news is not positive.”

Some inspiring events during his career at Positiva have shaped Jason’s perspective as an A&R director. When recalling these events, he points to 2003 as a particularly developmental year. This was when he first signed Paul Van Dyk. “He was one of the biggest DJs in the world at the time, and very much an album artist as opposed to just putting out singles.” As a result, he says, working with the German superstar, “helped broaden my approach and skill set considerably.” His new skill set “paved the way for working with the likes of Deep Dish and David Guetta, plus Swedish House Mafia and deadmau5 once we joined Virgin in 2009.”

As for his own, personal strengths as an A&R director, Jason feels his ability to “balance between an undeniable passion for the scene and being able to navigate the major record company structure and politics on behalf of our artists and releases” are what put him ahead in his role. He points out once more just how much digital consumption has dominated and changed the industry in a more global way, and mentions that his experience with Positiva as a major music force makes him “well-placed to take advantage” of this change.

“On most occasions, we’ve been associated with artists during a really pivotal, positive part of their career – Morillo and Reel II Real, Guetta and ‘When Love Takes Over’ and more recently, Martin Solveig and his return to form with ‘Intoxicated’ and ‘Places’. So many key artists and moments where we have helped broaden the awareness and appeal of the genre that we all love.”

Positiva has become one of the most influential forces in the dance music industry over the past couple of decades. The label, with Jason Ellis at the A&R helm, has continued to make its mark on the dance world for its mastery in finding artists who are bringing novel sounds to the table. Some notable accomplishments since he took over the reins include chart-topping singles “When Love Takes Over” by David Guetta, “Wake Me Up” by Avicii, and “Wizard” by Martin Garrix. Twenty-five years since its inception, Positiva certainly shows no signs of slowing down their brilliant streak of discovering and representing the best of the best in dance music.


How has the success of Positiva over the years shaped the record label as a whole?
We’ve never been confined to one (sub) genre of electronic music, so have always been able to reflect what is popular in clubland at the time. Being part of a major label means that we’re ultimately judged on success and having hits, but it’s important to get the balance right – some of the most important and influential releases over the years haven’t always been the biggest sellers.

From it’s start in 1993 to now, what were the biggest challenges Positiva faced?
The internet changed so many things of course, particularly in dictating how tracks are consumed – moving from vinyl to CD to download and now streaming. Understanding the shifting market and continuing to have hits is always a challenge. Keeping the label operating on the front line of a major label for 25 continuous years is something I’m very proud of – no one else has come close to that. The anniversary campaign is a great opportunity to remind the industry and the wider public just how influential the label has been over the years and highlight the amazing artists and tracks we’ve had the privilege of working with.

What does it take to make a record label successful?
Passion, commitment, tenacity, respect. We’re no bandwagon jumpers and have always lived and breathed the electronic music world, even when it may not be fashionable to do so. I also believe strongly that how you behave and are perceived as a label during the tougher times or when things don’t always work out well can pay dividends when things pick up again.

What was the most important thing you’ve learned over the years?
Always trust your gut instinct – I’ve been talked out of signing a few records over the years that have gone on to be huge. Not a great feeling! Be true to your word – it’s all well and good promising the earth when trying to sign a track or artist, but you have to back that up with your actions. Communication is key – even if the news is not positive.

Tell us about one of the most inspiring events during your career at Positiva? How has this changed you?
There’s been several, but perhaps a good one to mention would be signing Paul van Dyk and going to the Berlin Love Parade with him in 2003. He was one of the biggest DJ’s in the world at the time, and very much an album artist as opposed to just putting out singles. It helped broaden my approach and skill set considerably, and paved the way for working with the likes of Deep Dish and David Guetta, plus Swedish House Mafia and deadmau5 once we joined Virgin in 2009.

When choosing artists for the label, what qualities do you look for in them?
It depends on where they are at in the career really, but certainly talent, ambition, a certain level of commercial appeal and a good understanding of where they are as an artist and how we can help get them to where they want to be. Signing to Positiva isn’t right for every electronic producer / artist – we know that. We just want to work with talented, respectful people and help grow their profile and business.

What is your greatest strength, and how has it helped you in the music industry?
Tough one! I would say having the balance between an undeniable passion for the scene and being able to navigate the major record company structure and politics on behalf of our artists and releases. For many years, successful dance labels around the world were almost entirely independent. But as digital consumption has taken over, release strategies had to become global rather than local, and I was therefore well placed to take advantage of that.

How did Positiva shape the dance music scene from 1993 to the present? i.e in your eyes what has Positiva contributed to the industry as a whole?
We’re making a documentary about the history of the label at the moment, and have done some amazing interviews with many of the key artists, DJ’s and contributors to the label’s success over the years. One of the key things that stands out to me from the interviews is that on most occasions, we’ve been associated with artists during a really pivotal, positive part of their career – Morillo and Reel II Real, Guetta and ‘When Love Takes Over’ and more recently, Martin Solveig and his return to form with ‘Intoxicated’ and ‘Places’. So many key artists and moments where we have helped broaden the awareness and appeal of the genre that we all love.

How did you get started in music? What/who were your greatest inspirations?
I was an avid record collector in my teens with quite broad tastes – Talking Heads, Tears For Fears, Japan, Simple Minds were very influential to me at the time. I worked for HMV in Birmingham for several years, and as a singles buyer in the early / mid 90’s had to be across what was big in the dance world. I started to take more interest in the scene around 1992, started DJ’ing and was hooked from then on really. As for many of us in the dance world, Pete Tong become the main inspiration for me and I’m thrilled that he will be hosting the Positiva panel at IMS for us.

Have you ever produced music before or have a musical background?
No, not really. I played bass guitar for fun when I was younger – Mick Karn from Japan was a big inspiration. But I sold that to buy a pair of decks and the rest is history…!

What are you most proud of and why?
As I said before, 25 years on the front line of a major label is no mean feat and I’ve been here for 18 of them. I’m very proud of having helped develop and break so many great artists and tracks – highlights would be Spiller, The Shapeshifters, Axwell / Swedish House Mafia, Guetta, Avicii… and now Jonas Blue.

Hear more about Positiva’s evolution on Friday, May 25, at IMS Ibiza:

25 YEARS OF POSITIVA RECORDS – THE CHANGING FACE OF A&R with Jason Ellis, Dave Lambert and Nick Halkes Interviewed by Pete Tong.

UTA Breaks Into EDM and Acquires Circle Talent Agency

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Earlier this week, United Talent Agency, better known as UTA has decided to expand their client portfolio significantly by acquiring the EDM-heavy label, Circle Talent. UTA’s current roster includes artists like G-Eazy, AlunaGeorge, DJ Khaled, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Post Malone and X Ambassadors, amongst a long list of artists spanning across multiple genres. Circle Talent’s artists

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DJ Snake Announces Inception of His Own Record Label

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Since hitting the Electronic Music scene in 2013 with singles “Bird Machine” and “Turn Down For What”, DJ Snake has become a household name amongst music fans. Since stepping onto the scene in 2012 with a produced track on Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” album (which recieved Grammy Nomination), Snake has continued to bless the

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[EXCLUSIVE] Music is 4 Lovers launches new label with a stunning EP from Nico Mendez

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Nico Mendez

“Music is 4 Lovers” is a well-known name among the house and transformational festival circuit.Beginning as a blog in 2011, the brand has since evolved into a reputable event organizer, bringing an array of caliber underground artists to festivals like Lightning in a Bottle, as well as the cities of San Diego and LA.

The time has now come for its next step: owning a label. Music is 4 Lovers thus debuts their namesake imprint in the most grooving of fashions, employing rising Glasgow producer Nico Mendez to provide its very first EP. The four-piece project centers around ‘Dealin,” a deep house cut peppered with mellowed-out synth notes and retro vocal clips. Though smooth in its delivery, the song rocks the dancefloor — as does its B-side and adjoining remixes by 17 Branches and My Favorite Robot.

“All five tunes are different from one another but maintain those deep and vibey grooves that we love,” continues Jimbo James. “I’ve been playing The Revenge remix out a lot and it really hypnotizes the dance floor; but the EP is built around the title track “Dealin”, which to me has that timeless element. The whole EP is great!” –
Jimbo James, Music is 4 Lovers Owner

 

YouTube record label NoCopyrightSounds hits milestone $1 million in sales despite free downloads

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In 2011, Billy Woodford established a unique UK-based record label and music organization known as the YouTube channel NoCopyrightSounds. Since then, NCS has transformed into a global music label with millions of listeners and more than 13 million YouTube subscribers.

NCS is a unique service in that it provides the option for listeners to enjoy music for free, but at the same time, users are presented with the ability to support artists through paid services. By giving away the music for free, creators are able to easily access more material for their work. Free downloads also mean new audiences will discover more music through easy access.

Despite the free download option, NCS has just announced it’s reached more than $1 million in record sales. This unique milestone is good news for the electronic music community as it cements the opportunities labels have in the channels they are monetizing for their acts. Companies like NCS have access to an entire generation of artists and can possibly alter the state of musical communication altogether.

“The demand for fresh original music from Creators is enormous and growing daily,” asserts Woodford. “I believe the music we support on the label compliments all types of content, from the Make-up and Beauty community through to the vlogging and gaming world. The fans of these content creators from each community are discovering NCS artists, and that is translating into traditional sales.”

Read More:

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YouTube Label NCS Reaches 1 Million Sales Despite Offering Free Downloads

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By now you’ve probably heard of NoCopyrightSounds. Whether you’ve heard of them from our copyright free music article, or have seen the famed YouTube channel lingering around since 2011, NCS is a staple in the dance music industry. Despite giving away free downloads and offering copyright free music, the UK label NCS (NoCopyrightSounds) has reached

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Spotify Reduces Royalty Rate 14% In New Offer To Labels

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While streaming services like Youtube engage in ongoing negotiations with major record labels, Spotify carries the heaviest weight on its shoulders. As the most widely used exclusively music streaming application in the world, creators and listeners alike depend on its good standing with labels and proper payment methods for their artists. The company plans to unveil an IPO this year, despite its quarterly decline of millions of dollars, leading to many to question its future viability in the market.

In Spotify’s most recent offer to record labels, the royalty fee amount to just 52% of sales, down about 14% from its previous offer of 58% share. The royalty fees are what allow creators to receive payment for their uploaded material, and with a decreased amount set aside for those making the music, it will be challenging for those on the smaller side to make enough to consider maintaining loyalty to the streaming service.

According to the Financial Times, “Spotify made its latest offer before Christmas: it proposed cutting its royalty fees to about 52 per cent of sales from its current 58 per cent share — which at least one of the major record labels is warming to, according to people briefed on the negotiations.”

In exchange for this lower rate, record labels are reported to be asking for concessions in the form of stock, larger upfront payments and increased restrictions for their music on the site’s free and ad-supported membership tiers.

 

Source: HypeBot

This article was first published on Your EDM.
Source: Spotify Reduces Royalty Rate 14% In New Offer To Labels

65 Best Record Labels 2016

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As dance music continues its rise to fame, dance music shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. With the help of record labels, dance music is the biggest it has ever been. For this year’s poll, more than 37 Countries came in to cast their votes. Of those countries were voters from Romania, United States,

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Pornhub Records Releases Music Video With LMFAO’s Redfoo & Sam F

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Pornhub Records, the affiliated label of the site you visit on private browsers, has just produced its second official music video. This time, the track is by former LMFAO member Redfoo’s party band F.A.M.E., and comes as the self-proclaimed first ever song written about Snapchat.

“Snap That” is a highly energetic Melbourne bounce heater, produced by none other than Sam F. Featuring a sing-along chorus and vocals from several of the band’s contributors, the track gives off a similar effect as LMFAO’s classic work.

Beginning in 2014, Pornhub Records has been seeking to intertwine their brand with several of the music industry’s up and comers. Their first ever music video was produced for American rapper Mykki Blanco, and received upwards of 300,000 plays on Youtube. Now, the label has released tracks from Waka Flocka and Coolio, along with their newly signed million dollar deal with ex-Fifth Harmony singer Camila Cabello. In 2017, Pornhub Records will also release tracks from Wheeler Walker Jr.

Check out the complete music video for “Snap That” below.

 

H/T: Techworm

This article was first published on Your EDM.
Source: Pornhub Records Releases Music Video With LMFAO’s Redfoo & Sam F

Spinnin’ Records Shares Exclusive 2017 Future Hits Mix With Loads Of IDs

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It’s that time of year again, when end-of-year mixes proliferate and we start to look toward the next year for hits. One of the biggest hit makers in EDM, Spinnin’ Records, just exclusively premiered their 2017 Future Hits mix and it’s chocked full of IDs that would make your mouth water.

There are still plenty of tracks that have either been announced or released in the mix, and many that aren’t even from Spinnin’, but the vast majority is unreleased and unannounced, so you’d better keep a sharp ear on the mix and pick out your favorites.

Tracklist:
[00:35] ID – ID
[03:06] ID – ID
[04:42] Fox Stevenson & Mesto – Chatterbox [SPINNIN’]
[06:42] Lucas & Steve feat. Jake Reese – Calling On You [SPINNIN’]
[09:54] ID – ID
[11:52] ID – ID
[16:00] ID – ID
[18:51] Tom Tyger – Dimini [CARTEL]
[20:20] ID feat. Janieck – Be With You
[21:31] ID – Voodoo
[23:51] ID – ID
[25:37] Dante Klein – Harder [SPINNIN’]
[27:40] ID – Need To Feel Loved
[29:44] ID – ID
[30:58] ANG – Take Me Away [MAXXIMIZE]
[32:32] ID – ID
[35:30] ID – ID
[36:40] CMC$ feat. Jalise Romy – Keys [SPINNIN’]
[39:22] ID – ID
[41:43] Funkin Matt – Phoenix [SPINNIN’ DEEP]
[43:32] ID – ID
[46:00] Ferreck Dawn – Higher [SPINNIN’ DEEP]
[47:08] ID – ID
[49:08] ID – ID
[50:33] ID – ID
[52:13] ID – Runaway
[54:52] DubVision – Geht’s Noch [MUSICAL FREEDOM]
[56:38] Bassjackers & Cheat Codes – ID [SPINNIN’]
[57:24] Dannic & DBSTF – Noise [MAXXIMIZE]
[58:27] ID – ID
[1:00:38] ID – ID
[1:02:42] Univz – Stardust [SPINNIN’ PREMIUM]
[1:04:38] Kris Kross Amsterdam & Conor Maynard feat. Ty Dolla $ign – Are You Sure? [SPINNIN’]
[1:07:00] ID feat. CADE – Sorry For Myself
[1:08:28] ID – ID
[1:10:18] Adrian Lux – All Aloud
[1:12:17] ID – ID
[1:13:35] ID – Believe

This article was first published on Your EDM.
Source: Spinnin’ Records Shares Exclusive 2017 Future Hits Mix With Loads Of IDs