Label Focus: VIVa Music & VIVa Limited
How does these coming months look like for VIVa MUSiC & VIVa LIMITED?
We run two labels that each release distinct styles, VIVa MUSiC releases a wider range of music from across the spectrum of house and techno with a penchant for the quirky and unusual and an emphasis on the artistic, whereas VIVa LIMITED is focussed on releasing top quality, functional cuts for the clubs.
Next up on VIVa MUSiC we have a release from Tom Flynn which sees him return to VIVa following on from 2013’s ‘My Hut EP’ which came out on VIVa LIMITED. Robert James who released his ‘Seagate / House Invader EP’ with VIVa MUSiC last year is also on board, turning in 2 remixes of the title track ‘Womp’ to round off this release. Following that we have VIVa debuts lined up from Oli Furness, Kevin Knapp and Boot Slap, and follow ups from Monday Club and Scurrilous.
Over on VIVa LIMITED we have a 3 tracker from Solardo lined up, who are returning to VIVa following their VIVa MUSIC release ’Squeeze EP’ earlier this year and their track ‘Trick The Tech’ which featured Leftwing & Kody’s mix for this year’s Warriors mix compilation. Speaking of Leftwing & Kody, they also have a VIVa LIMITED EP forthcoming which is currently seeing some strong support over on the White Isle, so keep an eye out for that one! Later in the Year we have releases from Tennan, Apollo 84, and STRiCKLAND.
We also have something very special in the works for October to mark the 10th anniversary of VIVa MUSiC, so watch out for that 😉
What’s your thoughts label’s role in the music industry as more and more music is being streamed?
Streaming platforms today have become ubiquitous and are available on computers, smartphones, and even built into car radios shifting consumer behaviour to the point where proprietary ownership of music is fast becoming a thing of the past, especially with the younger demographic. Music Business Worldwide are actually predicting the death of downloads by 2020 after their peak just 4 years ago.
The freemium business model of these streaming services has helped the major labels to combat piracy with UMG reporting their highest profits in a decade and showing a year on year rise of 56.2% (up €344m from the previous year) of income from streaming while downloads continue to decline (source). However, the independent labels working in niche genres like underground house and techno continue to feel the pain caused by piracy. The demographic of young fans means that consumers are increasingly moving to streaming, and any income generated for independents from streaming is not enough to support the business. Piracy also continues to be increasingly common amongst those who wish to actually own the music rather than stream it (for DJs who make up a large portion of the demographic this is a necessity), eating further into label profits. Piracy is still getting more accessible today with the advent of pirate streaming services, which is going to make the situation even worse.
The points above mean that many labels in our sector are no longer able to run as businesses in their own right as the profits generated from them is so small. Nowadays the label serves as a promotional platform to promote artists who can then build a career in the live sector (where the money is) through associations gained by releasing with labels. The traditional role of a label is becoming less important and many new music companies are taking a different approach by combining the roles of a record label, publishing house, and artist management company into a single entity in order to survive.
Do you think electronic music has peaked or how do you think it will grow?
Electronic music is a very broad term that encapsulates many genres of music; while these genres may come in and out of fashion there is, in my opinion, no reason to believe that electronic music in the broad sense will ever stop. As with genres throughout history modern electronic music is emergent from technological progress; without electric guitars and amplifiers there would be no Rock; without samplers no Hip-hop, no House music; without synthesisers no Prog Rock, no Synth-Pop, no Electro, no Techno. Progress in technology and music go hand in had with each other and the future of technology is very much electronic and very much digital.