Buying your own music: the lowest form of self-promotion?

I was a bit shocked recently when I discovered there was another level of what can only be described of fraud in the music industry. Its something that’s joked about – but until now I didn’t believe it was actually true.

Put simply: labels getting their artists to buy their own music, or labels buying their own releases.

My instant reaction is that this sounds retarded. In fact, to most people its the lowest form of self-promotion – and very costly too. So why would anyone do it? Its kind of the music industry equivalent of getting someone to bump your bids on Ebay….

Well, given the current low state of sales in the industry, you can kind of understand why someone would consider it. If buying 20 copies of your own track gets you top 10, and more people “notice” your release, then you sell 40 copies as a result, then you’d think it would be worth it. However, by the time you factor in the stores share (lets say its a nice easy 50%), you would have to sell double the number you bought to break even. This is already starting to total up…..

Then there’s whether you do it on one store, or a couple. Which means the costs add up quickly. Say the label has released on 5 stores, buying 20 copies on each store as a starter to get them kicked off.

So for a 100 downloads of their single, they would have to sell 200 to break even. And given that 20 copies would cost around $40, its going to set them back $200 to buy those copies.

And that doesn’t even factor in if the release is a pile of crap. In which case, the investment is $200, plus the cost of the release. The current returns in house music especially, make this a high risk strategy for making money. Combine this with someone buying plays to get them more noticed, and you have a set of seriously dodgy tools which probably won’t get you any admiration from your peers.

I would love to have a list of labels or producers who actually do this and get them to justify why they did it. I’m still shocked that anyone would think its a good idea. Or maybe I’m just naïve and everyone is doing it.




Its release review time………

Been thinking for a while I should do some reviews of music that either just come out or I’ve been sent as promos. For the sake of angst and avoiding being negative, Im only going to pick the stuff I’ve been REALLY impressed with.

So, here we go….

 Nico K – Love Dust EP – Black Cherry



Now Dj Heather’s label doesn’t release that often (in fact even less often than Llama Farm, and I’m slack when it comes to putting things out), but man, when they release something, its always worth listening to.

Nico K isn’t a name I’ve seen around much before, but the ep produced has a really nice balance across the five tracks. There’s something for pretty much everyone here who likes shades of jack.

The ep opener “Back together” has a deep soulful vibe – kind of a jacked up version of the soulful stuff Large used to put out. The vocal is crisp and theres a smoothness to the whole thing, which just just helps the whole track glide. Its probably my pick off the ep, simply due to smile it puts on my face.

The other cut of note on here is “Got It Bad”, which has a James Brown cut up feel to it – never giving away exactly what its sampled through an obvious breakdown, having the right level of funk to keep things going.

The ep also includes a South of Rooslevelt remix of Back Together, and two other originals in Zombie and Welcome to the Party.

Rating: 4 ½ Llamas out of 5


Random Soul and Joshua Heath – Time To Funk – Random Soul Recordings



A few years ago I had the pleasure of working with two thirds of the producers of this track (namely Husky and Joshua). They are names I always keep an eye out for and this track, when I saw the title made me start salivating. Now, I know Josh knows the funk (just listen to any bassline in any track he’s ever had ANYTHING to do with an you’ll know what I mean), and Yogi and Husky just bring their bumpin soul to table and the whole thing sticks together like some big funky cookie dough that you can’t resist.

My two picks off the ep are the the Random Soul Dub and the original extended version. I was surprised when I heard it was Josh doing the vocals – (then I twigged his flow was first heard on the re-release of his “Wanna Dance” a few years back). Josh’s lyrics are amusing and very apt and fits the RSR boys bleepy bouncy soul perfectly.

The two versions are picked for different times in the night – the extended original is more of a nu-disco feel to it, and the dub is a more straight up house version. Either way, it kicks ass.

Rating: 4 Llamas out of 5