How the Black House Music DJs Shut Themselves Out of the Global House Nation Explosion

House Music started in the Black community mostly in the northeast and midwest areas with post-disco area DJs spinning and blending 4/4 tracks and their own custom beats. New York house DJs, Chicago House DJs, Baltimore house DJs, Detroit techno DJs are all on the scene and house music producers emerged during the 80s and early 90s and they even toured the world spreading the love and vibe of house music. House music took off worldwide thanks to these brothas DJing house tracks and making a name of themselves. Now, let’s come back here to 2013 where dance music the biggest global genre in the world, got the biggest profit margins and have the biggest music festivals the world have seen, way bigger than Woodstock or Coachella or SWSX which feature dance music DJs: Because of the enormous success of Tomorrowland and the fact that it is a Belgian festival, ID&T decided to give Belgians an exclusive chance with a pre-sale (80,000 of the 185,000 tickets) on March 24. In less than one day, all of the tickets sold out and at some moments there were 2,000,000 people on the online waiting list. The worldwide sale started April 7. Within 43 minutes, the other 100,000 tickets sold out. In addition to regular tickets, Tomorrowland partnered with Brussels Airlines to provide exclusive travel packages from over 15 cities around the world. Other highlights of the festival were the Cloud Rider, the highest mobile Ferris wheel in Europe, and the fact that 25 airlines were organised to bring spectators to the festival from all over the world. Two million people on a damn waiting list and you know 185,000 x $347 is? That’s $64 million dollars on that one event in Boom, Belgium and we are not even talking about the economic impact of additional money on the local community. This is what the dance music and house music is bringing. And I don’t even know the numbers of Ultra Winter Festival in Miami but you also know those numbers are big too. These are people who create electronic dance tracks off a computer and use fake DJ turntables and wave in front of a crowd for their money. So in case you are wondering the obvious – where are the Black house DJs and Black dance music producers and why they ain’t all in this and got this kind of event setup on this level? I’m not talking about Carl Cox in the picture above – he is worth more money than the rappers and he is from the UK. You know the house music DJs I’m talking about and yeah, I’m calling out the Chicago ones especially. All the years all of them been in the game and touring the world, where the hell is their $60 million dollar dance music festival? In this article we are going to discuss another sad tale of Black people boxing themselves into a “Black identity” complex instead of elevate themselves to global leaders of their industry/game. And I hope every last one of you cats after reading this article get it in your head to stop doing this “Black identity” bullcrap, for real. Just like hip-hop and Black comedy, the dance music industry is another one Black people founded and other people took over, took the industry global, they making millions and you still got these old head cats sitting around talking shit about “real hip-hop” or “real house music” with their broke simple ass and $200/night shows at some hole-in-a-wall club somewhere. We are going to talk about what the Miami, Los Angeles and European House Music DJs done right and where the Black House Music DJs went sideways like they fell asleep in the airplane cockpit. The goal here is to educate brothas and sistas and existing DJs on how to get their proper share of the global dance music pie that our people started and become globally competitive instead of being a chump change local yokel DJ that is only known in Chicago or Baltimore or whatever. Collaborations with Label and Indie Artists Dance tracks now are more than a beat and some sample. They are now full songs with vocals and lyrics. The major house music DJs collaborated with well-known and even b-list artists on singles that can be played in the clubs around the world boosting the recognition of both the DJ and the profile of the artist. They racking 10,000,000 to 100,000,000+ views on YouTube but meanwhile your local Black music DJ artist, who they collaborating with? They may be remixing but I don’t see them creating these kind of tracks for artists as original music that can sell globally and get the money up and the fame up, do you? See, here it the problem and when you hear this, it’s going to piss you off. Number one, most of these Black dance music DJs got egos and full of self and very self-centered on their tracks and being the headliner and center of attention. That is just the way we Black folks act when we think we got a little fame and status and we don’t strive for bigger things, we just live off the little fame we think we got. Number two, where are the Black-owned dance music radio stations to promote these tracks? They got these radio stations all over the world in all major cities that plays nothing but dance tracks but are Black folks running this stuff? Here is the thing – Black folks are boxing themselves in wanting to hear Trey Songz and not play these other songs because they don’t think it is “Black enough” for urban radio. What is “Black enough” to Black radio stations is songs that degrades Black women and talk about drug dealing and Black on Black violence. Again, we created this damn genre but dance music is not “Black enough”. So all of these Black dance music DJs did nothing but live off the little fame/recognition they got and they still in 2013 pushing their own crates and doing small-time parties at club venues with paper fliers promotions while the mainstream DJs are doing festivals worldwide that bring in $60 million dollars gross sales. Advance Programming Techniques for Modern Dance Music Tracks When releasing a dance music track in 2013, it has to be in several formats and “open source” meaning there is some technical programming that need to be to allow other DJs and remixers to add their touch to the track. So you have to release the iTunes or radio version of the dance track, release a mixable version that is designed for DJ software that allow individual tracks and vocals to be muted on/off and this requires engineering. Most of the Black DJs do not have this level of sophistication with computers and music in terms of programming. They are just releasing 4/4 126bpm tracks with the default factory sound of the Guitar Center drum machine or synthesizer and at best, have an external effect processor which is some old 1980s ish style of creating electronic music. Electronic music programming is no different than any other form of digital publishing where you have to use different formats and templates to package the track for sale worldwide. In addition there are also sound programming techniques in electronic music to create certain kind of effects with sound that requires knowledge of bending sine wavelength and programming a pulsing arpeggio in a time/space continuum on modern keyboards. Software like Cubase for example requires a level of programming on the backend to create custom and proprietary music effects. In fact, you can easily get away with programming dozens of dance music effects and apply to any sample loop or drum track and keep producing “new” hits over and over again and keep selling worldwide over and over again on DJ tours over and over again. But Black DJs have to sit down and learn keyboard/synthesizer programming sound and effect techniques. Yes in case you wondering, Ed Dunn and some of the 3rd Strategic Institute can program keyboards and drum machine and you may catch me at Guitar Center in Cobb Parkway or off I-85 from time to time programming in the keyboard room. I still don’t understand why brothas don’t take their chick to Guitar Center because that an easy score right there. Let me take your woman with me to Guitar Center and let’s see how that works out, LOL. Music Videos This video by Zedd called Clarity is in my opinion the best overall music video, song and lyrics I’ve heard in a very long time. If you look at the video, notice how they sync the scene cut with the beat and how they use visuals that are surreal – we Black folks don’t make videos like this and it’s a shame. Look at 3:14 in this video – I’m sorry but that level of creativity and symbolism is why I love this whole video overall. Not to mention the beautiful keyboard sound programming technique done for the track and Foxes (the chick is an alt-rock singer) definitely took it to another level. Black DJs when they make videos of their dance music, the videos are extremely cornball and egotistical and non-artististic and even worse, have no soul. I remember Jay-Z music video “on to the next one” that was very creative but then you got ignorant Black folks talking about that music video was the devil or illuminati or some crap like that. And that’s the kind of dumb crap that is holding Black people back because we are afraid to unleash our best creativity and artistic form to appease a dumb-downed Black audience used to drama media like R&B crap and reality TV shows. Screw all of that – when we launch our IPTV, we are going to demand some of the most cutting edge, creative videos out there the Black community going to like or they going to have to just get over it. I want to see videos exactly like this Zedd and Clarity with the same level of intensity and surrealism and I don’t give a damn what some punk in the Black community have to say about it either. The same warning goes to the dance music DJs – stop putting out these bullshit cornball music videos with your dance tracks. Get a real damn video producer who is creative and talented and let them run with it. Events and Festivals The biggest loss is the Black dance music DJs making fun of “rave” and the whole rave culture. Rave was not about popping chemicals and hard edgy synth pads over heavy 4/4 beats. Rave was a gathering and an experience and once it began in one area, more and more raves popped up all around the world. Today, those raves matured into festivals and attracts tens of thousands to events and heavily sponsored and bring in serious revenue. Black dance music DJs dropped the ball hard on this one because they stuck to their format instead of expanding out and reaching out globally and bringing in the global community as they toured the world. But other house music DJs already took the initiative of going worldwide and collaborating to create mega festivals and they started making super serious money. Think about this – they bringing in 10,000 or even more to a dance music festival while at hip-hop concerts, cats want to gang-bang and shoot each other. With that said, are people still confused why dance music is being promoted and rising while hip-hop is being divested by the record companies? No one want to do rap or hip-hop anymore, homey. Sorry to break the bad news to all you cats talking about you want to be a rapper and ish. Creating dance festivals is the big bang theory of the revenue generation of the DJ game. You create tracks, you collaborate with other DJs and you put on a big show that you sponsor and get paid and go worldwide to all the major urban areas in the world. $60 million here, $20 million there and you keep pushing out electronic dance tracks mostly generated by a computer. Crowds of people camping out, the positive vibe and that is why dance music is the global music standard today. How to Reverse the Mistakes into a Positive Outcome The moral of this whole article is another example of how we brothas and sistas cling too damn much on Black identity instead of global domination. Look, you can still have the “Black experience” which is what you are really after but we got to admit and acknowledge we f*cked up chasing after a Black identity and it messed up our paper chasing game for the past 30-40 years. We got to build out a foundation and that is what you see missing here. We didn’t have real dance music record labels and in my opinion, a real dance music record label need to be as sophisticated as a software programming company, not some shady music industry moron. Dance music is programmed and there is patterns and practices in the science of dance music tracks and a good label like Ultra Records are using scientific methodologies in their tracks and releases. Then we going to need our own radio stations and make them worldwide dance music stations and we play our own tracks on that stations and even some of the classics. Push those tracks on iTunes and make real YouTube videos and re-release some of those tracks. You got Black DJs with nice dance music track catalog from 1990s that only 10,000 people in Chicago know about that they need to just re-release in 2013 with a music video and modern spin and repackage. But we got to start collaborating with artists and I don’t care if the artist is a has-been as their name will still lead more credibility to a good track with vocals. Those tracks will be heard on YouTube and played by DJs and push the recognition of the label and help that artist get more exposure. You got plenty of Black female artists out there dropped from a label who can be on these dance music tracks and music videos and get 10,000,000 views on YouTube easily worldwide and tour worldwide in clubs as a result. Yeah, Black DJs messed up and I hope they take some time to reflect on what was written here, drop their pride and get into the global dance music scene the right way. And you young cats out there, I want you to really think about this dance music industry in terms of the global power and real money potential and even better contract signings where you just sign cats to one single that have 10,000,000 YouTube views and 700,000 digital sales and you create a catalog and put them on tour and create music festivals. That’s where the real music game is at and you cats been briefed.

136 thoughts on “How the Black House Music DJs Shut Themselves Out of the Global House Nation Explosion

  1. There was a moment when house and techno djs from Chicago and Detroit could’ve done this. But it wasn’t on them–they were djs trying to DJ not entrepreneurs–it was on the radio stations like WBMX and WDRQ that got gobbled up by Radio One and the like that sent them overseas. Hard to develop a US infrastructure for this type of thing when you’re creating tracks for a European market IN Europe and you’re American. AND then add on to that the fact that you aren’t entrepreneurial–the folk promoting those festivals aren’t djs themselves but promoters.

    Now if you’re saying the PROMOTERS messed up, you might have a point. One being rectified now–Detroit has a festival, Miami has a festival/conference, and Chicago has a festival.

    1. Dr. Spence, the majority if not all of the house/techno DJs had 12″ records releases from their own self-made music label on the market and getting airplay worldwide. They were not signed to a major label and knew the global DJ pools and record stores so I believe they were entrepreneurial back then. These same dance DJs would throw big parties at hotels and conference centers back in the day also so they had the global name recognition, their songs on the airwaves worldwide and toured worldwide.

      What we listening to now and what you hear Usher, Chris Brown and Ne-Yo singing behind is the rave dance music format. Rave was ridiculed by these same DJs but they failed to recognize the business model and the fast growth of “raves” and how the San Francisco, Miami, Los Angeles subculture began jumping on rave music. Raves were not just parties, it was a social movement.

      Rave was attracting thousands to abandoned warehouses and tens of thousands to rave gatherings that were posted on the Internet. I remember talking to some of the famous DJs I won’t name and they ridiculed Rave but at the same time, engaged in bickering and petty ego matches while the dance genre moved on without them.

      I know about the festivals we have nowadays but they look more like a high school reunion if you grew up in the 80s or 90s and is no way in comparison to TommorowWorld or the Ultra Winter Festival or even that crowd in the Swedish House Mafia above. That could have been the Chicago/Detroit/Baltimore DJs audience and $60 million and I think they blew it in my opinion regarding raving while sticking to their old ways instead of scale up and remain current to the dance music changing trends.

  2. They were entrepreneurial enough to make the music and sell it in the first place. No Way Back for example came out on Trax Records and I’m pretty sure somebody in Chicago ran that out of their basement. In Detroit tracks like Technicolor were released on Metroplex.

    But for them to have been entrepreneurial enough to do the rave thing they’d would’ve had to be entrepreneurial enough to do serious party promotion…and I didn’t know any DJs who were also party promoters (not in Detroit anyway). AND they would’ve had to have been entrepreneurial enough to change their groove enough to produce…..

    Some WEAK ASS TRACKS! lol

    Rave was a movement, and it seriously changed a whole bunch of folks’ lives for the better. But damn that music sucked. You’re suggesting they should’ve…sold out is perhaps too strong a word…but they should have changed their tastes in order to take advantage of the changing market.

    Yes they should have, if their primary goal was to make loot. But if their primary goal was to make banging tracks (tracks THEY THOUGHT were banging)? Then I don’t know how they could’ve done that. Selling widgets and then changing the widgets you sell to hit new consumers is one thing. But selling music you put your heart and soul into…and then changing that music just to hit a new consumer? That’s hard as hell.

    I know in jazz it’s what separates Kenny G. from someone like Wallace Roney but that ish is hard as hell to do.

    1. Understood, but if their goal was to still make banging tracks after market conditions changed, then that answer the question why Black dance DJs shut themselves out of the global house nation explosion.

      This begs the question at what point are we as a people going to stop just wanting to put out good music, just wanting to make some good food, just wanting to play some good ball and choose to start reaching the next level in our industry and profession to create the legacy to pass on and achieve greater heights?

      Most of these Black DJs were doing club venue all over the world, they had to gather some knowledge about doing promotions since they had to keep signing contracts. Jay-Z keep rhyming but he also step into new areas such as clothing and being the CEO of Def Jam for a while. Quincy Jones as much as he is a performer, had to become the label owner of Qwest and executive producer. Plenty of sports figures became coaches and part owners of teams.

      I know this going to be hard to say, but we have these Black DJs to blame for the aweful rave music by not staying competitive or current with the changing market. The ravers won and why we seeing Ne-Yo and Usher singing and dancing to rave tracks….

    2. Lester, you have a point there. I don’t even think I get the point of this article, I’m quite sure it’s actually a compliment. It’s like confusing Kurosawa with John Woo. Plus I feel a bit awkward, the message is surely a tad racist as I can tell you a hundred white techno and house musicians who’ve kept it seriously underground. When all of this fad goes away, Theo Parrish will still be Theo, Kenny Dixon will be Kenny, Derrick May will be Derrick, Jeff Mills will be Jeff. I don’t think this was never meant to be making more money than people like them already earn, justly so… it’s only playing other people’s music to create a narrative, not rocket science, it’s modern art and entertainment. Or just entertainment if you think about the references Ed mentions.

    3. I agree with your comment ….first music a feeling and those DJS did just that for the love not the consumer ..the music is good and still is today. They were Blacked out to this market but our own peeps didn’t support the music either or didn’t hear it more likely. That old R&B of today isn’t even true R&B just one subject matter…always sex on some corny ass Quiet storm station. This music and the Djs are ready we just need access and prayer….it will happen. Brother !

  3. Interesting article. I like the Spaceship song/video and the Clarity video is innovative. The Tomorrowland…$64 million plus 2 million waiting, partnering with the airlines…that is amazing. Folks camping out to see shows. Reminds me of Woodstock.

    I put the Chicago house Djs in the same category as the early hiphop NY DJs…they were just into the art, not the commercialization of it. I mean DJ Kool Herc and Frankie Knuckles…aren’t billionaires. I don’t think they had access to the money and clubs/audience like the white promoters of the time. That’s why I can’t really blame them for not having the “entrepreneurial vision”. Does that mean we can’t learn from their example.

    Why there has never been a Black owned dance channel that plays electronic music(house/techno/rave)..I don’t get it.
    Sad that there is no House festival in Chicago.

    1. Chicago has a House Music Festival called The Chosen Few at and if you check out the web site, they only market to a Black audience and is nothing more than a class of 198X high school reunion full of 40+ year old folks. So in essence, they boxed themselves in.

      I wanted to present this article as a learning lesson to the young generation today if they want to start a music label to avoid these mistakes and focus on the larger global audience. I can go to Columbia in South America right now and find a house music club.

      I understand what everybody is saying but keep missing the major points of lack of collaboration, not advanced enough technology wise in electronic music programming, poor music videos as well as not uniting to create a dance music radio station or create a festival and multiple festivals worldwide.

      The sad irony is Atlanta will be hosting the US version of TommorowWorld this fall and we will be bigger than Chicago and Detroit combined x 10.

    2. FYI… yes there is… and its huge!
      GOOGLE IT!
      Wayne Williams is the founder!

      It is wonderful. .. peaceful and powerful! Check it out!

    3. AH:

      Why must we always allow others to be the barometer that we measure ourselves by? Its always “whites have this”, “whites have that”? We have to realize that we have all of the abilities to do these things; however, culturally we do not believe in our own abilities thus de-empowering ourselves. I am convinced this mentality is know culturally and genetically imprinted and will never change.

  4. The paradigm has shifted and I knew that house music will be the biggest music on the planet I do not agree with the article entirely because Im a black man and dj producer and all along we have not had all the opportunities in front of us to be all we can be in this business because even brothers where producing house early 80s 90s had some limitations as far you know money bottom line so you had to cut deals with foreign distributers and and try and make money that way of course in the early days there where a lot of very small underground start up labels owned by brothers in the Chi Detroit Jersey New York but a lot of them have been bought out or they sold their catalogs or just dissolved and when you are trying to eat what are you gonna do bottom line also racism played a part in the overall take over of our music to even get these dj gigs because all of the big and even small promoters not all are white get the picture its about control bottom line to get work we have to go thru them to work and I see this today now there are no limitation on how the internet has broke a wide open market which is great I have always believed in a world wide market from the get go and starting my own label and controlling my product but when you find that you have no money and no where to start that is the cold reality and my product is soulful house a very classic sound because that I stand by and will represent that with no shame because Im proud of my heritage and I love this music.

  5. hey… I just realized that one can play more than one and mix these videos to create his own D&H track while reading….

  6. I feel this, I’m from Chicago and know a few people into music of course. I started in my teens to aspire to be a music video director but that goal was ultimately extinguished due to artists wanting me to create basic productions or use hacky visual effects that every director used off, all for no money as well. I always loved abstract art since I was a kid and even as most younger black artists aspire to change creatively, it’s always seems from a perspective that “whites think it’s cool, so I can get paid and excepted”. Maybe I’m just cynical.

  7. Correction. Maybe I’m BITTER. We as a people used to be on the edge of change and expression of soul. Now everyone thinks they’re literally entering foreign territory by making a techno backed rap beat or pop music group. Both genres spawned from the same core ancestors. It’s also ironic that most of these artist tend not to trust the visions of other blacks when it comes to visually representing the song but would go to a white visionary instead for insight. I wished I would have just travelled to film this dance video for a German techno group back in the day when I wrote a treatment for them :(.

  8. AWESOME article, so thank you for writing it!!! Although I’m sure it will or probably has rub some the wrong way, we (people…ESPECIALLY Black people) need to start learning how to deal with difficult and/or uncomfortable topics OUT IN THE OPEN with intelligent, informed, articulate, and reasonable discussions. Not being a House Music DJ myself, I don’t know for a fact whether everything stated in the article is factual, but I can TOTALLY appreciate the brutal honesty with which it’s stated. No sugar-coating…cut to the chase and let’s address and deal with the problem. I do, however, know that MUCH of what was stated in the article can be applied to my personal experience as a businessman dealing with other (Black) business owners/organizations. In many, many, MANY instances we truly are our own worst enemy, and, for some reason, choose to remain blind to that fact. What you stated here pretty sums up the problem: “See, here it the problem and when you hear this, it’s going to piss you off. Number one, most of these Black dance music DJs got egos and full of self and very self-centered on their tracks and being the headliner and center of attention. That is just the way we Black folks act when we think we got a little fame and status and we don’t strive for bigger things, we just live off the little fame we think we got.”

    1. Thanks for the positive comments…sometimes you got to show tough love..yeah, they getting mad and abrasive but after all the dust is settled, everybody know that we got to work on the solution.

  9. What a ridiculous article… The real problem is your attitude of *quote* ” it messed up our paper chasing game for the past 30-40 years.” That mentality, which is so very much American, touches not only Black People, but the majority of Americans who have been raised in a culture where the dollar is king and life revolves around it. Making music with the aim to earn big money is universally known as being unfruitful.

    You are talking like “Black People” are different from other human beings, that they have an inherent, indivisible identity that hasn’t been recognized and that “black people” should start acting and thinking like “white folks” (but better of course).
    On top of that, im shocked that you box your “brothers and sisters” by saying they dont have similar technical abilities and ambitions as those of “white folks”. Basically you are just another ignorant MF (let me borrow your style).

    Following all your advices will just add another layer of musical mediocrity that is trying to mimic the current global musical horror of EDM. You are a jealous and envious nobody that thinks he is smarter than the people he despises. You are like Samuel Jackson in Django.


    1. Kimbo, I’m pretty sure after you read more of this blog, it occurred to you I’m far from self-hate and you exposed yourself as somebody who just like to disagree and be oppositional. We don’t play that nonsense here, son.

    2. Kimbo’s got a point, also, this EDM stuff in US is not directly from the rave music of the 90’s, it’s come about in a strange way, and i think the original house dj’s were right to stay with house, because actual rave music is very unprofitable, and WAY more importantly, wasn’t anything to do with them and the places/experiences their sound came from. They stayed true to themselves, and if they had switched to ‘rave’ music, they’d be broke now because it’s got nothing to do with ‘EDM’ (which is where all the crazy money is)

      This new EDM music (which has little in common with 80’s/90’s rave music) is just being labelled as ‘rave’ by the promoters.

      Also, all you need is a computer to make music now, everyone’s on the same level, and it’s easy to (illegally) download all the software for free too, so it doesn’t matter if you’re struggling or not, if you’re talented, you can make great music and be succesful, black or white.

      Look at Dj Dez from Slum Village, he makes house under the name ‘Andres’, and he is raking in money worldwide right now, and he always stayed true to his sound, he blew up just from one good track, every track since that one gets mad amounts of press and support from all the big dj’s (black and white)

      You don’t have to change, you just have to find your people, or your market, same thing.

  10. You missed the part in High Tech Soul, (go watch it) where Derrick May is pissed at Paul Oakenfold for “stealing” their thunder. Oakie went on to tour with U2 and was the first to take EDM into the Stadiums in the Early 90s. In the south particularly there was so much hatred against Rave/EDMusic, esp from Black Hip Hop Community, not even realizing it was built on the foundations of Black producers from Detroit, Chicago, and Bristol, UK. I agree with you on the part of re-releasing hits, and younger producers stepping up. The Dance music FAD will soon be over, meanwhile Moodymann, Carl Craig, Jeff Mills, and DJ Krust will still keep pushing boundaries.

    1. Aviation Parkway,

      Why would you say dance music is a fad after PSY Gangnam style came out last year? We are seeing a massive uptick in EDM demand in Asia and early stage in China. There is huge opportunity here for EDM producers especially from the Black root hubs like Chicago Baltimore New York and Detroit to step up.

    1. Where is this convo coming from? I wrote this several weeks ago and wondered how this got picked up again.

  11. Let’s start here Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Italy, France and electronic dance music with it’s house origin has a very white consumer based audience and like the film producer John Hughes said to me once when i asked him why he didn’t have black people in his movies he said ” i don’t know about the black experience, and i make movies about what i know” the EDM community unfortunately is a predominantly white community and they tend to embrace those DJ’s And Producers that they relate to the closest. Carl Cox, Green Velvet and Ron Carroll have been able to make waves and sustain in that market but there are hundreds of very talented and capable black DJ’s and producers that produce the same style of music that your “top” white counterparts produce but they are not getting deals and placement because they don’t “fit the mold”. I personally know of a artist who has had the opportunity to be part of this elite circle and when the major independent label based out of Germany got the video they edited the video to remove all the black people except for the main artist out of the video because they said it didn’t fit their model. I’ve also been in situations when playing at festivals where lesser known white dj’s were paid 5 times what the feature black dj’s were paid. It is true you do have some DJ’s that limit themselves by the Genre’s of house that they limit themselves to, but, they are not the majority. As far as a Major black radio station that plays house music doesn’t make sense at the moment when the demographic buying public that responds to advertising, which is where radio makes it’s money, is the white youth and you don’t have black artist recording the house and EDM music that attracts that demographic. Unfortunately the underground and more soulful house music supporters don’t seem to show as much financial support in radio’s and advertiser’s eyes. Tomorrowland being held in Atlanta this fall is more of a climate thing as opposed to Atlanta being the best place. We have had 4 major festivals here in Chicago this summer and it wouldn’t be smart to try to do another one when there is a chance for it to be very cold at that time of the year. As a last note I am Personally working at putting on a festival here in Chicago next Spring to bring a little more color to mega festivals.

    1. Joesmooth, thank you for your comment – the core of the issues you outlined above so well is due to a lack of distribution/media framework in place to ensure artists and the genre stays relevant.

      The solution is to create that distribution/media framework with IPTV streaming video, online audio broadcasts and programming of shows and videos that can reach worldwide. The technology part is not the hard part and already in progress. The hard part will be the Black DJs and EDM producers creating content to distribute on this medium that is good enough and quality enough to reach the global market.

      Everybody got their part to do in this and I’m hoping everybody understand what needs to be done.

    2. I am a Huge fan, still listen to Promised Land regularly, there are some really great bootlegs out there. Nice to get your input. Good luck with the festival!

  12. I couldn’t be bothered reading after the article went on to mention how artists like Chris Brown etc have managed to ride the crest of the wave that is ‘house’. The ‘black’ artists whom he failed to name (I’m guessing the Mills, Pierres, Jeffersons etc) are not money grabbing wannabe superstars out to milk the next trend for all they can get. EDM is the bloodsucking blacksheep of electronic music which has it’s roots firmly in the major labels pockets. Go on, name one infuential independent EDM label, you can’t. The ‘black’ artists who founded house music in America will go down in legendary status for decades, probably centuries, to come. Chris brown et al will not. That my friend is priceless and your article is a pile of crap.

    1. So Norman Neil – you telling everybody who read this blog you missed the part about creating solutions because we mention Chris Brown? Then you say this article is a pile of crap? Did you even mention one solution? So who is the one a pile of crap? As I stated in the article below, I’m implementing a solution to the problem, not just talking/ranting and it is in progress. Let’s not try to be negative as we over here are about solutions, not attitude.

  13. While I appreciate the discussion around EDM and always glad we can have this kind of discussion, I want to calibrate the purpose behind this article and why it was published in the first place.

    This is first and foremost, this is an economic/business discussion and not a “history of dance” lesson where everybody is an expert on house music. We seen enough of that in the rap music where everybody run around claiming they from the Bronx and name drop their uncle as some pioneer of rap music. We don’t do articles like that and that is not the intention.

    The intention of this article is to point out that Black house music DJs early on in the 1980s were worldwide, had their own record labels and even toured worldwide – please do not continue this discussion if you do not have this factual understanding. However, like every other industry Black people get into, we have a scalability issue of not growing with the demand and keep choosing to “keep it real” and then we here in 2013 talking about the old school cats and what they done “back in the day” while others are doing $60 million in sales off the music genre.

    Many of the posts I’m seeing keep trying to “correct the past” and want to argue about small talk when it comes to EDM and house music and Black DJs. This is not a solution or a positive path forward. This article tried to identified not only how the Black DJs failed, but also point out how the others succeeded in this genre and the end goal is to find a solution to help the real house music genre succeed and thrive again.

    Most of what Joe Smooth (is this the real Joe Smooth) described is what I’ve personally seen in the industry and the reason why is the failure to establish a true media framework/infrastructure to promote inner city based electronic dance music to urban hubs and worldwide markets. That was the solution we proposed in this article and we have done more since I published this article than talk about it.

    I have committed already to creating an online streaming station dedicated to inner city dance music but at the same time, we will rotate all of the mainstream EDM music in tandem. This station will try it best to chase down rare grooves of the urban dance genre and bring them back into the forefront. In addition, this blog has focused hard recently on how to create content for online magazine publishing as well as an IPTV media framework and programming. This is the 21st century media framework/infrastructure that will need to be created to truly keep the founders and originators relevant because we don’t do that, they will be forgotten with only a few hardcore fans knowing who they were.

    But the Black DJs have to accept responsibility for their mistakes and learn to change their direction. They have to come out with better quality tracks that use vocals, including Chris Brown if necessary. They have to come up with better and creative music videos and they have to learn programming techniques to make their music as expandable as possible.

    Again, i appreciate having this discussion but let’s focus on the solutions so we can keep house music and all other forms of inner city dance music alive and vibrant and let me state again – Asia is now ramping up and we have not even seen the impact it will happen over there with their 2 billion plus population equipped with smart phones and huge urban cities that are going to be spinning club tunes…

    1. I understand where you are going but you misunderstand what is happening now will fade and burn its going to die as quickly as it came, EDM is about the mainstream, you wont even get these black artists making the kind of music that deadmau5 makes because they are creative musicians and they simply aren’t going to write to a formula to sell records, It isn’t what they do.

    2. Underground Resistance…what is wrong with deadmau5? That’s actually good music that Black people would like to hear and style to produce. Like I said in the article, keeping it real is nice but the truth is, you will sit there being the only one keeping it real while everybody is growing the industry and game to new global heights….

    3. Yes this is the real Joe Smooth : ) and I Think there are a lot of conversations going on about the issues and solutions being created at this very moment. There are many Black DJ’s with the production skill set to create and do create EDM and commercially viable music, some who are creating music for these DJ’s that are faking the credit for the productions. As for writing, Ester Dean, is one of the biggest writers in that genre just to point out one black writer. The biggest problem is the media and lack of publicist exposing the black talent involved in this genre, because sadly this genre is marketing to a white world and not all the people of the world. The other cultures that embrace this genre are just a bonus. If people that have a strong blog following, such as yourself, do more research into what is actually happening, outside of what the older black DJ’s are doing with regard to such events like the Chosen Few Picnic and expose the world to the new talents developing in our black communities there would be more high profile black DJ’s emerging all the time. Also as a note The media only focuses on the EDM music DJ when they talk about wealth … The Frankie Knuckles and Todd Terry’s in this world are no financial slouches so people should not get that twisted. There is a change coming …

  14. You’re talking about business man…but you have to talk about music! Nowadays commercial dance music is not house or techno music…is commercial music!!! If you want to make money make commercial music and go to tomorrowland with guetta…but if you love house and techno music go where the real music is and just feelin it…p.s. I’m white..

    1. EDM as its understood in America is really mainstream pop music, and likes all other variants of mainstream pop music the majors will rinse the soul out of it and it will crash and burn.

      To include Chicago house or Techno in the EDM umbrella is kind of insulting because those genres are made by people who don’t give a fuck about fame or money, sure they could make EDM but why would they want to, they are musicians not wannabe celebrities seeking fame and riches.

      Like you said if you really understand this music you dont call it EDM because that means mainstream music aimed at a mainstream audience. Music made for money.

      But then you know the difference.

    2. Underground Resistance…how is it insulting to include Chicago house or Techno into EDM? EDM was around way before these two genre…what was Blue Monday by New Order? Isn’t that classified as EDM? That’s the most bizarre thing I’ve heard to pretend Chicago house or Techno was not influence or had nothing to do with early 1980s EDM which was the Italian House scene and early German Kraftwerk scene. Old Chicago House music was really post-disco sounds and SalSoul Records, not electronic..when it became electronic, EDM was already matured and was mixed along with many Chicago basement tracks..

  15. Are you familiar with Derrick Carter from Chicago or Felix Da House Cat? They Have been extremely successful in terms of finance and fame… Much more so overseas than in the States.

    1. k Hood…and what festivals do johnny-come-lately Derrick Carter and Felix Da House Cat headline? Do they fly out of helicopters like the Swedish House Mafia or have their own private jet like Afrojack?

    2. Both Derrick and Felix have been headliners in Europe since the late 80’s. In fact I just spoke with Derrick after he landed from play Ibiza and Germany. I think your argument is interested but limited in its scope. You are assuming all black DJ’ S have had the desire and or access to even headliners of one of your so called mega festivals. I find condescending and insulting to a lot of the genres pioneers. Most of them from Chicago I know or a friendly with. They all have different reasons why large scale financial gain has not been bestowed upon them (Derrick is the exception…his financial success is unquestioned). Like hip hop, jazz, the blues and rock and roll…the first through the doors are usually the sacrificial lambs.I truly get your point…I just wish you were more respectful in your tone . Their desires just may nit mesh with your S and that’s their prerogative… still they shouldn’t be ridiculed.

  16. Ed:
    I hope to see you at the Atlanta Weekender & House In The Park during Labor Day Weekend. It may be small. But it’s home grown. 4 days of events.

    1. So much reality missing here. Your efforts are appreciated, but I don’t think it’s fair to “Extract the Soul” from the music and still call it Black Music. I don’t think it’s fair to extract the “creativity” or the “lyrics”, replace them with loops and sound effects and call it House!. I don’t think the finger is totally pointed in the right direction. House evolved from Disco. There was no evolution from House to ….? However, there was (an agreeable point) an evolution in technology, spearheaded by a new generation and supported by the masses (not black masses because that generation went to hip hop-which is a whole other conversation). And these “masses”, seem to be satisfied simply with a series of 6 minute songs that provide 4 minute opportunities to throw your hands in the air and pump your fists til the beat drops after the space ship lands. That’s not Black Music! That’s not House music!
      There is no soul in that. It’s actually an insult to those who put in the work. Not keepin’ it “real”, but keppin’ it righteous by putting in REAL WORK.
      You could have easily replaced “Black DJ” with “Musician”.
      And in doing so, perhaps you could see how ridiculous it might be to suggest to someone who has spent a lifetime honing their craft as a guitar, saxaphone or bass player, to lay down their instrument and pick up their lap top cause we gettin’ the band together for a gig overseas.
      It’s a painful reality (talking about the state of the industry and lack of creativity).
      And in essence the moral of this article is if you can’t beat em….join em. And even if that were an option, you probably wouldn’t be invited. It is what it is. What it isn’t is OURS. I don’t knock the hustle, just ain’t proper for me. I guess that’s EGO, but I will persevere.
      Celebrating our 10 year anniversary

  17. Hi

    Your comment about black musicians not knowing how to use computers is insulting and demeaning, its also nonsense. I presume your black because if not frankly that borders on racism.

    Anyway I’m left confused. Without the black artists and DJs this music wouldn’t be out there, it came from the black communities. Let me repeat, Larry Levan, Ron Hardy, Frankie Knuckles, Jamie Principle, Jesse Saunders, Joe Smooth, Derrick May, Carl Craig, Kevin Saunderson, Robert Owens, Eddie Fowlkes, Todd Terry, Eddie Amador, DJ Pierre, Farley Jackmaster Funk, Marshall Jefferson, Jeff Mills, Green Velvet/Cajmere, Robert Hood and so on. These people created this music, they were the innovators. They took the mainly white static european electronic sounds of the 1980s being made by machines and gave them soul, the early house music anthems are choc full of spirituality and its even clear to me that these songs were inspired by the church going black community where these musicians came from. You can clearly hear it even clear from the song titles, “Pennies from Heaven”, Promised Land, Praise, hallelujah, these werent religious/ christian songs but they very clearly came from the black community. These songs have a sprituality and a positivity that really could only come from black America. I’m not even religious and I hear it and to be honest I think that’s great. This was a community that wanted people to dance, to spread love and happiness and hope and joy, because that’s how they felt.

    House music took Europe by storm, I’m British, house music and its many wayward offspring were changing British society forever. Okay illicit substances were also involved but back in the 1990s there were 2 million brits going dancing raving to this music every single weekend in fields and clubs and warehouses. Clubs in Britain before house music were mainly a wasteland of drunken aggression and violence and oppressive sexuality. House music brought everybody together it really was a uniting force.

    Of course this black music wasn’t even getting airplay in the US except on specialist local stations. That’s not to say there wasn’t a movement in the US, there were scenes all over the US communicating by fanzines and the proto-internet, but the US radio network majors are tuned in to the white community.

    The founders I’ve listed above are genuine heroes, of course to us it really didn’t matter whether they were black or white, why should it, they are musicians, and musicians are to be judged by their product, their output, between the 70s and the 80s black people had invented three completely new major music genres, disco, house and techno and in the 1990s robert hood pretty much defined minimal music which is musical science mixed with avant-garde art, the impact this music has had should not be understated. We still dance in fields today.

    Now onto the most recent explosion in the US, EDM, a term many of us europeans really don’t like.

    EDM is the corporate takeover of underground electronic music. It’s about money and hits and image and corporate marketing, and making a new track that sounds like the last track, The music is about formulas and hooks and to be honest its completely different to what came before, sure it sounds like updated house music but it has no soul. Now it’s currently the big movement and money is being thrown at it but it will crash and burn, formulaic music becomes tiring, its already happened to dubstep, all the original innovators have moved on and it will happen to the big mainroom house sound that is currently the sound of the overpriced rip off festivals, it won’t take punters long before they become tired of being ripped off by these companies that don’t exist for the love of the music but for the love of the money. Of course the underground wants no part of any of that, because the original innovators were never in it just for the money they were the very definition of musicians, they were in it for the creative genius and the love for their work, and quite frankly their tracks are timeless and they will continue making music for the love of it and not for a music company that wants to make money off their backs and will hang them out to dry when the latest fad is over.

    1. if you say it’s insulting and demeaning, fair enough…but it’s the reality. Sorry, but you got to seriously convince me and show me one Black house music producer who can seriously program synth rhythms and other effects that are custom proprietary modules..yes, Roger and Herbie Hancock but they are not house music…in the house music genre, …it ain’t there, feel all insulted and demeaning you want but it’s the reality.

      Besides that – did you list any solutions or attempting to give me a history lesson of people I personally know and grew up with and still in contact being from Chicago? Did you miss that detail – i’m from Chicago?

    2. Ed I have to disagree with Black Dj’s not knowing how to effectively program. I am very proficient in Pro Tools, Logic, Abelton, Reason and even Fruity Loops. To the point where I produce every Genre of music and so do many of my contemporaries and young emerging talents i am familiar with. The DJ producer J-Lektro ( to name one who is gaining lots of respect and exposure, he has even had Peter Tong feature his work on his radio show and is from right here in Chicago as there are so many others. You are missing a very important point with all of this. Sadly to say if all the DJ’s were black at all the festivals the market that these corporations are marketing to would not be there.

      EDM music of today is a hybrid of The House music we created and a distant relative of the 80’s alternative music even though they used some electronic instrumentation. At that time in the late 80’s I worked with New Order, Pet Shop Boys and the Art of Noise and they all said “can you give us that house sound” so I couldn’t be giving them a sound they already had. That’s why you have group like The Swedish HOUSE Mafia and Afro JACK and they consider their music house. Because their roots come from house music. Just for those who don’t get the relationship.

      1. @joesmooth, I will edit the article about the programming part so it will not be a sweeping generalization and I’m not qualified to make that decision. When I was discussing programming, I was trying to go further with custom modules for the software packages you discuss that are proprietary and can be “plug and play” for tracks. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  18. How in the hell wee NJ DJ’s left out of a hosue discussion? two words for you “FOLLOW ME”

    1. Sorry about that, again..I was not talking regions but this article was about scalability and creating a media framework for Black DJs and inner city EDM to build their empire upon and keep themselves relevant.

  19. This has got to be one of the best examples of faulty logic I’ve seen in an incredibly long time. House music was originally a term given to dance music largely played in gay and black nightclubs in Chicago, then NY and Detroit. The music left these underground scenes and went overseas. In subsequent years, and amidst MANY industry changes both in the US and around the world, an industry which was largely underground, became mainstream. Thanks to Clear Channel, the largest owner of am and fm radio stations in the US, and other large media conglomerates, radio play is now controlled by corporations, NOT DJs. The preponderance of anglo DJs in the global market speaks more to the economic advantages of these communities than anything else. The viewpoint of this article is quite narrow and simplistic, as well as being chock-full of false logic and inaccurate syllogistic inference. Next time, you might want to write little less of the broad sweeping statements with no factual basis in reality and do a lot more research.

    1. I love how people come around trying to establish some kind of dominance with a put-down. You said it was faulty – did you even look at the points made in this article? This is really a business model article, not a super fan of house music article to discuss the industry as a whole.

      What I’m seeing is obviously the anger and denial phase by you guys because I’m telling you to take blame for your mistakes. I know how you guys are – yeah, you going to be mad but you going to go home, look in the mirror and start crying to yourself and say that I’m right.

      You guys know you have to product tight quality tracks that can be downloaded and global ready. You guys know you have to put out videos that are original and compelling. You guys know you have to have a media framework to promote your music on. You just upset because you don’t know me yet as if Farley Jackmaster Funk or Steve Hurley should have told you guys this stuff instead of little ol me…I get it…

  20. African American Producers with amazing technical prowess. Ever hear of Ron Trent, Kerri Chandler, Jovonn, Jeff Mills, Derrick May, Glenn Underground, Theo Parrish, Moodyman, Rick Wilhite, and so man many more. You are to me an Uncle Tom.

    1. Vincent Intrieri for argument I have not heard of these people. Guess what, the majority of the audience who listen to EDM probably never heard of these people either. Only you know of these people you name dropping and that’s the whole problem here you are missing.

      In other words, Ron Trent, Kerri Chandler, Jovonn, Jeff Mills, Derrick May, Glenn Underground, Theo Parrish, Moodyman, Rick Wilhite fame will only be appreciated by Vincent Intrieri until Vincent Intrieri get tired of talking about them. That is not fair to them and what will be fair is to have a media framework to keep them in the headlines and rotation so everybody, not just Vincent Intrieri know who they are.

      I will listen to these people I don’t know that Vincent Intrieri know so well, but to be honest – I’m really know this industry and have strong doubts they do not have the synth programming skills you are pretending they have for this discussion…just being honest…

  21. I knew this article was going to be harsh before I came in here. I’m glad I did. I also respect that you provided solutions, which will be the parts that most will overlook because they are probably too offended. I am both a DJ who loves House music and an individual with 15 years of major record label and commercial radio experience. So I get it! This business is not a place for your feelings. Few people that I’ve come across understand that so I know this article will be hard to digest for some, but it’s spot on. Are you still in Chicago?

    1. Thanks drackmuse, but I’m currently between cities but based in Atlanta. Chicago is still my home and I go back often.

      If people feel offended, then so be it. What is offensive to me is what happened to Ragtime, Swing Jazz, Doo-Wop,Rock and Roll where names of Black pioneers disappeared altogether from the scene.

      It appears only Berry Gordy figured it out creating Motown Records and keeping the Detroit Soul sound alive and running up to this date. The Motown Sound was extremely soulful and would not be considered “mainstream” but Motown was able to put out talent for decades. So this excuse these inner city house music and other EDM artists are making are BS to me, no matter how emotional they are.

      A media framework using current technology has to be created to make underground EDM sustainable and serve as a platform to scale and grow their subgenre, that is what this whole article is about and applying the tools of success that others considered mainstream EDM has done so well..

  22. Interesting article but I think soulfull house music djs are a special genre unto themselves creative ecletic artists who weave the tapestry of soulfull house into melodic rythms that demand dance music to anyone who hears it…. they may not have been super commercially sucessful..yet….it aint too late…because we know they can do it the mix! Im one of them dj charly on soundcloud..

    1. I agree charles byrd but at the same time, there is “scalability” and the ability to grow healthy. The Black DJs and subculture dance genres cannot keep hiding behind that “underground” facade and have to create a strong sustainable media framework to distribute their content and keep the genre alive and appreciated or they will fade along with their genre.

  23. Ed,
    I applaud your honest search for solutions to globalizing House Music and seeing the potential in new technology, media and art as a means to accomplish that goal. I personally am a mom, dancer, fan, business woman and artist who loves all kinds of music not just House. It is obvious that there will always be many viewpoints on the issues you have raised, which is good, actually. With that said, may I make a suggestion? Art comes from the heart. Business is not something that is innate. To combine the two well takes vision and collaboration. Try to keep your professional voice in your comments. It comes across much less condescending which most adults do not appreciate as their natural response will be defensive. It is obvious you are passionate about the movement and seeing black artists get a piece of the pie. I couldn’t agree more. Many of the above comments are valid and some are just not very helpful or polite. People of any color and from differing points of view should respect each other no matter where they stand on an issue. If you want to attract rather than repel an audience take a “that’s your opinion, perhaps you are right” approach. I think the discussion would go smoother. It is offensive and is making some readers not want to take your IMPORTANT issues seriously. Change is really hard. Music is not something you can tweak to suit the masses.The 40+ crowd has a lot of experience and insight to offer just as the young “EDM” people probably do. The money will be market driven. The festivals are growing in popularity, but large and small crowds have a different feel and therefore attract a different market. I would rather be at the “reunion” style parties than Ultra any day of the week! I would pay more money for smaller venue gigs than larger. There is room for everyone but arguing is not a solution. Little ol’ You have a lot to say, but how you present it IS going to make a difference in how it is received. You don’t want to miss out on solutions because of lack of diplomacy. That is a very important skill to develop if you want to get things done. I hope you are not offended by my suggestion.
    All the Best,

    1. Kate,

      I don’t think anybody is mad at me..I see the venting but I read through the lines and see that the message is sinking in.

      Yes, some of the people commenting are passionate about Black house DJs and the genre but at the same time while they talking, they know in their heart that they have to look the success of “commercial house music” in magazine, videos and club and radio rotation.

      This is missed opportunity, not “keeping it real” and I believe people will need to understand that an underlying media framework to promote the industry and keep it alive has to be in place. IPTV, streaming audio, magazines and record labels with quality tracks and quality music videos – everybody got work to do and I’m hoping after the emotions die down, people begin to make things really happen.

  24. I had this discussion with plenty of DJ I know in the Chicago area. I also think there was a missed opportunity but still a great opportunity because the DJ is bigger than the music itself nowadays. I want to start with your quote about the Chosen Few Picnic “They only market to a Black audience and is nothing more than a class of 198X high school reunion full of 40+ year old folks. So in essence, they boxed themselves in” is perhaps a ridiculous statement to say the least. I say ridiculous because you can’t be informed on Chicago House Music making a statement like that. The CFHDJP been an institution for years without “city” support. Over 20 years, only recently the city chipped in, but at this last picnic parking was scarce, in a precinct where police presence is rare I find droves of them writing parking tickets! Also keep in mind there’s never no report of violence with 20K+ black people in the heat jamming to some of the finest DJ’s on the planet. This year the Wavefront festival ironically was given the green light with prime locations near downtown, the CFP asked for the same consideration but was denied. Why? 30K black people near downtown Chicago would spook tourists!

    House music to the Househead is a lifestyle, we live the music, it’s a way of release not a way for financial gain to some, many DJ’s do this for $200 or free for the mere satisfaction of helping someone who had a crappy week at work or any other situation to just live in the music. In its heyday many house DJ’s had to compromise, the popular clubs were owned by whites, many didn’t want house music played at all! Many Chicago DJ’s didn’t have access to avenues of promotion outside the South and West Sides of Chicago. The only black DJ’s that did make it were Frankie Knuckles and Farley JMF, Marshall Jefferson and some others because they not only produced, they also were great DJ’s with a following.

    Those videos posted are terrible comparisons if you want to show missed opportunities. You should look to guys like Dimitri from Paris, Henrik Schwarz, Louis Vega/Kenny Dope and others of their caliber. There is a clear delineation of real house music and someone who are just adding a beat to a song. I’ve seen local DJ’s like Julius The Mad Thinker, DJ Ceez, Pablo Discobar, DJ Alicia, Jackie Moon, JMJ Edits, Cratebug and others create, recreate and cut up songs like none other. I gave a mp3 from a friend DJ Peace to a co-worker who’s from Mexico. She’s been to all the big music festivals, but she said she never heard anything as nice as that and she wants more, that tells me the opportunity hasn’t been missed, it tells me those who are looking to make quick bucks days are numbered! I’m not dissing our blog, I have much respect that you even jumped in the water of a discussion needed, and many truths been told, but many statements are just not true. Check out these DJ’s mentioned on Soundcloud and judge for yourself. You ain’t heard nuttin yet!


    1. How can you say I cannot be informed when you said the Chosen Few did not market to Blacks but then before the paragraph ended, said Chicago is scared of 30K Blacks from the Chosen Few concert?

      Oh boy..there you go…” we live the music, it’s a way of release not a way for financial gain ” and failing to realize the financial gain is to help sustain the industry, not for material goods. Most successful people who get financial gain know the important of the money to keep what they love intact and alive. You got to do it for financial gain if you want it to survive..that’s the core problem here..

      I will check out the artists you mention but I hope you know Mexico City has a few new EDM clubs starting up in their city as well as other parts of Latin America…sounds like you want to talk more about Chicago instead of the global house explosion…

      Let me ask you a question…do you think Bad Boy Bill, Julian Jumping Perez agree with all this you and your peeps are hollering about? It’s a fair question.

    2. Did you read anything I typed? But I knew you were going the BBB route. Do you know anything about BBB? He’s a Chicago DJ Legend, a legend who also had the benefit of a father who was part of WBMX’s heyday. BBB basically interned under the HotMix 5, after BMX and GCI (Clearchannel) parted ways with House he landed on B96 and the rest is history. He had the privilege of knowing someone in the industry and capitalized on it.

      Also what don’t you understand about CFP? They been trying to market to a diverse audience for years, yet the city seems intent on keeping them on the Southside in a park where many whites don’t venture, I saw plenty whites there in the past few years though, nothing will happen to them in that environment, but the mindset of too many blacks dancing to music will be trouble is sadly hardwired. If you are not a Chicagoan I don’t expect you to understand so at least listen to what I’m trying to say. This event was ignored for years until recently, it use to be free also, but Chicago being the Kraken of money grubbing cities found out a way to get paid so now they recognize it, what’s also foul is if someone on the Southside is shot it would be on the news, if 30,000 people are on the Southside having a good time in one park it’s like whatever, yet the new Wavefront festival received plenty of good press.

      Some of your responses seems thin skinned, did you expect this conversation to be benign? Of course I’m talking about Chicago DJ’s who in reality are the prototype of Black House Music DJ’s. Maurice Joshua, Terry Hunter, Mike Dunn all are successful on the commercial front. Their style is different than the ‘commercial house’ you speak fondly of. It’s way more than DJ worship (which I think many of these festivals are anyway) it’s release. Who care if you can pack 100,000 to listen to DJ, many just crave to be apart of something like Woodstock.

      The model is different in Europe, Jazz made a bigger impact in Europe that it did in the place it was birthed, it’s the same model you speak of, but the only thing missing is real musicianship.

      Many of these responses aren’t going for this jugular, try to get off the high horse and listen to some, sure there will be some who attack you but I think most are offended because you seem to come more opinionated than knowledgeable. The Global House explosion already happened, these are just the aftershocks, still plenty of money to be made and the Black House Music DJs are still relevant, just close your eyes and open your ears.

  25. The tunes posted in this article are not house or techno, they’re modern day commercial renditions of “house music” which in my opinion is a marketing buzz word these days to sell out big events cause that is what sells at the moment. The black DJs (and the white DJs for that matter) that started house and techno music back in the day would never play this kind of music nor do they care about fame or fortune through media platforms such as commercial radio and TV stations, (of course everyone’s got to make a living, but fame and fortune and massive sell out gigs are not what house and techno was about back in the day nor is it about it today). The DJ’s you are talking about would much rather play at a smaller underground club to 200 “educated in the music” people rather then 2000 kids who don’t really know whats it all about. While were on the subject, a lot of the black artists from 80’s and 90’s would hate somebody relating it to black music or white music, or black DJs or white DJs. ie. Scan 7 to this day wear ski masks, and Mad Mike (Underground Resistance) never shows his face to the media, “because there shouldnt be a face to it, the music is higher that all that” – or he said something to that nature. Bottom line was the music should speak for its self without any back story or face or personality or million dollar light show behind it. end rant

    1. c909..we are in the year 2013 AD in the 21st century..this is not the New Wave 1980s with Duran Duran and Chicago house music..things have changed.

      The EDM scene has evolved and so has the technology to program and distribute and promote the EDM genre. You are missing the point about the “rave” and once again, ignoring that those festivals is not about headcount but a collective population of people coming together to enjoy one experience.

      House music or techno can deliver that same experience and can scale up to that level but the infrastructure has to be put in place to make it happen.

    1. So your point/premise is that you are an “Uncle Tom” if you make it up to that level of the game? So you promoting real Blackness is anti-successful – seriously? Come on…

  26. I don’t think it’s simply a matter of self-imposed “boxing in” I think it’s a combination of factors as to the disparity of participation by People of color on the elite level of “the boom”. I think you could have selected a headline that is more encouraging as well as serve an offering of extremely detailed suggestions and not appear to casta cloud of condescension on your predecessors. It comes across as if you’re angry. Email me to discuss at length I would like to interview you on this issue GRUVEKAMP@GMAIL.COM

    1. Are you suggesting I should just hero worship and fan worship some of the older Black house DJs who did not scale up? We should take a honest look at this conversation to understand why David Guetta is where he is at and why Black house DJs started from the bottom and they still there after several decades..i think that is a far discussion, don’t you agree?

  27. They should have learned from the old Jazz muscians. I can’t remember which musician said in an interview about black musicians in the 60’s and 70’s, that they thought of themselves as entertainers first and foremost. Even though they were musically talented, and probably because of that, they were driven and had the ability to challenge themselves to learn adapt to various musical genres during their careers. They were very serious about their careers as professional musicians, but didn’t feel they had to be serious about pigeon holing themselves into a small niche. You saw household names like Herbie Hancock moving through all the major musical styes of his day.

    1. And_One,

      Thanks for the comment…that is the core of this article.

      This whole article point was about the pigeon-holing of Black talent by either clinging on a “Black identity” branding and limiting themselves from a global market.

      The Black DJs and people on this board are attempting to argue they trying to keep it Black and not mainstream. Well, the last I check Roy Ayers and Herbie Hancock tour all over the world and still pack crowds to this date and they are a little more soulful than the Black inner city house music. These are nothing but excuses people are bringing up.

      Quality tracks need to be made, quality videos need to be accompany the music video and a framework to distribute the music need to happen..I really cannot relate to some of these people who want to keep inner city EDM a broke underdeveloped (“also referred to as underground”) genre when it can be worldwide and global.

  28. Seth Troxler, Jeff Mills, Jamie Jones, Kerri Chandler, Theo Parrish, Carl Craig, Stacey Pullen, Kevin Saunderson, Felix Da Housecat? just to name a few and I believe they are all black DJ’s that are still touring around the world and getting publicity….black DJ’s aren’t into that Dubstep or Electro or commercial house music shit! They keep it underground and are still heavy in the underground scene. If you look at the lineup for Ultra Music Festival….a lot of these DJs are on that lineup as well as Tomorrowland. Seth Troxler was featured in Rolling Stone not too long ago and Carl Craig headlines festivals all the time and so does Jamie Jones….

    1. “black DJ’s aren’t into that Dubstep or Electro or commercial house music shit! ”

      Saxe…you do realize Black UK Djs pioneered dubstep in the early 1990s?

  29. Can Stevie Wonder sell out a stadium. The Rolling Stones can announce a tour tomorrow and they will sell out across the world. They haven’t had a hit or even made music in some time. Stevie Wonder has., but he would be hard-pressed to sell out any stadium in the USA unless he is billed with a bunch of other artists.

    The reason I use the analogy because it is the story of Black music. One of many reasons why I believe in the eventual decline of Black house music is because Black people in particularly the Black/Latino youth do no listen to it. They listen to rap music and other forms of pop music. Let’s not be naive and think that the rap artists that are selling out aren’t pop musicians. The Talib kweli’s of the world aren’t pushing music like that. Black R&B doesn’t pack stadiums..You can’t put the likes of Rihanna, Beyonce, and Usher int he R&b category. They are pop artists.

    I think your argument should be a little more nuanced than it is. I do agree with you about things that can be done especially with music videos. You do need artists wit vision who aren’t going to make videos with a bunch of out of shape and old people dancing. Sex and funky visuals do sell. Never underestimate advertising. The reality is that if you hear it a bunch of times you are more likely to like it. I know the words to some of these pop house songs just because I hear them in the gym. I still don’t like the music, but the average person doesn’t feel the same.

    1. QMC,

      We cannot ignore the fact it is the “urban radio stations” who are suppressing dance music and we covered this topic in another article on this blog. Dance music is actually more profitable than rap music and the industry is converting their radio stations to “party radio” format across the country.

      In addition and I will say one more time, we are witnessing an emergence of EDM in the Asian market and that market is bigger than the US and Europe combined. It is totally the onus on Black DJs to drop their ego, polish up their act and start being a global leader of their genre if they want to keep it alive in this global economy and market.

  30. Lovely job of not actually addressing ANY of the issues I presented. Your exceptional ability to ignore all requests for factual information to purport your stance while maintaining your own purely emotional response is exemplary. Every piece of music you included in your article which supposedly supported your argument was mediocre musically and bore very little resemblance to what is considered to be house music to traveling house DJs. If you believe that the masses are a better judge of what has value artistically than the purveyors and the cognoscenti of the art, we will never see eye to eye. You can have your whitewashed, sterilized, and user-friendly house, along with the millions of dollars I’m sure you’re raking in personally every year ;-). I’ll stick to quality, DJs and producers alike.

    1. You are just babbling thenewconnoisseur…you saying I’m doing this or doing that but haven’t offered any specifics.

      Maybe you are blinded with emotional opinions but I offered plenty of specifics…I specifically told you an inner city house music streaming broadcast is in the works and an IPTV framework is planned…what are you doing since you talking so much and pretending you have an one-up in this discussion?

  31. Not sure im allowed post links, but you just need to listen to this interview from Mad Mike (UR). It explains exactly why “Black House Music DJs Shut Themselves Out of the Global House Nation Explosion”

    1. Thanks, I will check out the video. However, have to focus more on the solution, regardless if a lot of people want to have cognitive dissonance about the problem…

  32. When Donny Hathaway sand “Everything is Everything” he was channeling a truth as big as any spiritual or scientific doctrine. The pattern you highlight is ingrained in our culture. I come across Jazz purists everyday that are no different than the DJs you speak of. Although it’s easier to point to the ego trippers, it’s also in some of the most (seemingly) humble and rational musicians. So focused on keeping “Jazz Alive i.e. “Pure”. That they couldn’t rock a crowd like their heroes did back in the day if they had to. 1980 and 2010 aint no different than 1950.

    1. John Mitchell thanks for explaining the behavior we are seeing.

      Some of these guys are the ones when you look at a Swedish House Mafia video on YouTube, they be posting in the comments they do “real dance music” and put up a link to their amateur-hour dance track. They also do that in the popular hip-hop videos. These are the same people who will argue day and night about what’s real house music or whatever and who started what and when.

      The story here is to prevent the mistakes of the past as you noted, went as far back as Ragtime in the 1800s where Black musicians and publishers did not get any fame because they did not have their own framework to distribute and preserve their genre. The solution here and we already in progress is a media framework – all this other stuff is just super fan chatter to me.

  33. Whats an urban entrepreneur? An entrepreneur that is black? So it is different to an entrepreneur that is white??

    1. c909, thanks for asking – an urban entrepreneur is an entrepreneur that works in high-density areas and have a different set of needs and paradigms. There is no essential difference in our mind between an urban entrepreneur in London, Dublin, Tokyo, San Paulo, Singapore, Los Angeles and Portland or Berlin – we discuss the same issues and opportunities here but provide this content to a Black/African-American audience.

      The point of this article is to address Black/African-American issues and house music/EDM is an urban enterprise driven by urban entrepreneurs and why it was relevant to discuss here. Again, thanks for asking.

    1. Brett, the quote you pulled has more to do with a digital divide and lack of STEM background. You cannot scale well in EDM unless you have some level of programming and STEM to be able to properly create modules and building blocks and keep putting out tracks to sustain yourself in this highly competitive field.

      I cannot answer why America is so racist but I know it’s a bigger world of opportunity out there instead of focusing on just the American angle…

  34. The fact is… Black DJs may be left out of the huge EDM market and sadly I’m OK with that. EDM SUCKS!!!! People who know soulful house and its history know it sucks. It’s true that t’s an extension of the music that was created so long ago but it’s lost all it’s soul and plays for a mass audience of techno kids and night club glow-stick wannabees. It’s watered down, derivative and ultimately forgettable… and yes it makes millions.

    I feel sorry for the true pioneers of the sound who leave me smiling and in a good mood. They won’t cash in and sadly my good mood and appreciation won’t fill up their bank accounts. But I ask you this who would you rather be Felix the House Cat or David Guetta? If you take money aside the answer is simple…

    Money only muddles the argument… I agree with the point of Ed… this is a business model argument. And that’s part of the issue as well. When we as Black people create something musically new and build it from the ground up it makes it cool. It then gets ported over and made huge all the while losing it’s brilliance and creativity. It has happened before (see Elvis among a countless host of others). EDM is no different. Sadly it’s the way the world works.

  35. While I understand and somewhat agree with the article, I also believe that there is a certain line that the writer wants the Black house DJ to cross.

    Where is the line between ‘Keeping it real’ and ‘selling out’?? I mean, to listen to some ‘house’ music that is provided on Traxsource, it sounds NOTHING like the original house sound that came out of Chicago. this man would have you make the soulful house sound more ‘techno’ in order to make more money. And while I understand that you need money to keep the soulful house sound sustainable, If the sound is no longer soulful, why sustain it??

    I’ve thought about this type of reality you’ve been bringing up here for a minute. And even moreso, since a lot of blacks want to boycott the Winter Music Conference next year because they don’t want to step foot into Florida. however, with The soulful house sound not being sustainable like the rest, boycotting the Conference would be cutting their noses, to spite their faces.

    Also, there is a LOT of reluctance to evolve into the new age. Some DJ’s are loath to step to electronic programs in order to create a sound. Or a mix. The amount of DJ’s that have disdain for those that use a ‘sync’ button, or ‘Serato’, are the same as those who had issues with CD decks as opposed to 1200 turntables.

    I don’t believe that you solutions are totally within understandability. I don’t think that making techno videos are going to be the way. However, promotion IS key. If you can make your sound in demand ACROSS party lines, then you have achieved success.

  36. Great piece but I think a major detail was missed in the equation you spelt out in the article. “Black House Music” and “Rave/Techno” went there separate ways in the early 90s. Although guys like Marshall Jefferson, Robert Owens, Todd Terry and Frankie Knuckles were big stars in the UK and Europe at the time. A new underground culture was on the rise and gaining momentum — techno and rave emerged with hard core sounds from Belgium (home of Tomorrowland) and the UK and back here in the U.S. with guys like Frankie Bones (Storm Raves NYC), this sound clearly delineated the two categories and they each, from that point, grew in their own different ways. One driven by black culture and the other looking to differentiate itself was white culture driven. Fast forward 20 years later and they’ve both reached very different destinations as you clearly pointed this out by including a picture of Techno legend Carl Cox, not a house legend, but Techno star that has made and continues to make millions.

    Techno had many false starts to stardom in the past 20 years here in America, the centre point and symbolic top of the international heap. Techno and it’s housish cousins reached critical mass in 2000 but it never overflowed into the mainstream like it has recently in the U.S. After over a decade of “Rave is Dead” in the U.S. it has finally taken hold and is finally attracting the masses. There has been both a change in tastes and preferences since the millennium but also the retired ravers have influenced lifestyle and culture around the world, an offshoot being the massive dance festivals that evolved from the old Rave template of 1000s meeting in a field or warehouse and dancing all night with all the accessories related to the scene. At present, “House” is relegated to small clubs like Cielo in NYC or Stereo in Montreal.

    In the end, it’s not about being black or white, it’s about producing commercially viable products that are accessible to everyone. There’s nothing wrong with being underground to the core but that usually means less cash flow. The question is to every dj/producer is what is their end game — cash and fame or a cult following and creative integrity.

    1. The Commercial EDM music we are hearing today is a more refined techno that has shed the harsh synth lines. It is also very formula and cold and a certain culture interpretation of house music which is why it gets so much criticism. In response to this and in talking to some of the DJ’s like Tiesto and Afro Jack and such they know this and admit they are basically capitalizing on it at this time … but even they say that they know people are getting tired of it and they need to get into more soulful productions because that is where the music is going. We just need to be prepared to take control of this new opportunity that is about to present itself.

  37. Summarized your original 5 points:
    1. African Americans have too big of egos to collaborate with trending indie artists & labels
    2. House music culture is not supported by black culture
    3. Black DJs don’t make good music anymore because it doesn’t sound like what is palatable to mass audiences
    4. Without a good music video their songs were doomed to fail no matter of their quality anyway
    5. Black culture is completely isolated from rave culture

    I also summarized your comment where you clarify the intention of your post:
    1. This is a Business/Economic discussion
    2. Black people need to take responsibility for their missed opportunity
    3. Black people need to “change their direction”
    4. Black people must make better music, which means including vocals in their songs and apparently Chris Brown as well.

    If this is about economics, I understand what you are trying to say. Financially, it would have been a secure move for Frankie Knuckles & Derrick May (etc.) to begin producing music in a calculated, formulaic fashion. They very well could be flying into stadiums on helicopters (like SHM) or making *great* music videos (like Zedd). Even if they did, they might not have been successful. There is no way to strategically attack the music industry. But why should they even have to? No one has to do anything, music is subjective, and no matter how many helicopters Deadmau5 uses in his next show I won’t be able to appreciate his work like I appreciate a High Tech Soul show in Detroit.

    When you equate success and value with money, is where I draw the line. I can’t speak for the greats, the kids who started this whole thing out in Detroit & Chicago, the ones who nurtured it in London, and the people who developed a love for it in cities across the globe – but I don’t listen to music because of the flash or the show, i listen to music that I like.

    1. Tyler Miller, the problem I having is there is some kind of subtle rationale that “soulful house music” is not scalable and ignoring the chicken and egg argument.

      The reason “soulful house music” did not scale because there was no infrastructure in place to promote it. Black house music DJs relied on others instead of create their own media framework to sustain their genre. Super fans do not sustain a genre, they only worship and most people making comments are super fans.

      No one should be making the assumption they cannot go commercial and keep it “soulful” because there is no proof of that. So that is why I’m saying that “real house music” argument is straight BS and in a way, it’s an excuse to explain why Black DJs got shut out when the truth is, they shut themselves out because they failed to create an infrastructure.

      Michael Jackson blows everybody talk about “soulful music” out of the water. He created “Off the Wall” with Quincy Jones which was one of the most heaviest rotated songs during the early Chicago House Music scene as well as the Philly Sound. Did Michael Jackson go “commercial” when he came out with Thriller? Or did Michael Jackson scaled up his success to new heights. How about “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson late in his career? He still stayed true MJ and soulful as he scaled up. So I’m not buying into that “real house music” can’t be commercial and global BS line, no matter how many people come here with that excuse.

      The kids in Taiwan who started breakdancing on the streets and created their own breakdancing crew – are you telling me they didn’t appreciate Black/Latin breakdancing culture of rap music? How about the Japanese hip-hop freestylers at the hip-hop clubs in Tokyo? They truly do appreciate “underground” music worldwide and it can be scaled to a global audience.

      Again, I’m not going to let cats off the hook coming here talking that “real soulful house music” and say it cannot scale to a global level like the so-called commercial EDM counterpart. The so-called “underground soulful house music” will need to create their media framework, create quality content to distribution and stop making excuses and take responsibility if they want to sustain the genre that they base their lives upon.

  38. more of a rant than an article, which would entail objective reporting and fact-checking, as well as context. some of the points were ok, but we can’t blame black DJs for the co-option of black radio, which effectively ceased to exist following the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which led to the mass consolidation of commercial radio… the fact that the EDM craze is happening w/out them isn’t entirely their fault…

  39. Ever heard of the Detroit Electronic Music Festival aka Movement? The headliners are usually the hometown performers. I’ve hung out with Kenny Larkin and have seen the lifestyle of Carl Craig, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins, Octave One, Jeff Mills, Rob Hood and the Detroit guys. They are playing all around the world, every weekend and they don’t care about having this mainstream success in the EDM scene. Sure, they might cross over once in awhile as they did during the height of the rave scene in the 90’s, but they won’t sell themselves out the way a lot of Europeans have for money by changing the style of music they play. Almost all of them produce their own music too, so they are not these poseur DJ’s like David Guetta who have both arms in the air, completely abandoning their mixer.

    This article presents points as if speaking from common knowledge that black DJ’s know less about production techniques than their white counterparts. “But Black DJs have to sit down and learn keyboard/synthesizer programming sound and effect techniques.” Generalized nonsense. Look up some clips of Maschine tutorials by Rob Hood and Carl Craig at Boiler Room. They have more equipment set up than any other performers on Boiler Room and know how to use all of it. Knowing them personally, most, if not all of the Detroit guys would think this article is way off-base.

    Where you will find black DJ’s are in clubs around the world, from Tokyo to Torino, South Africa to Serbia. They have plenty of respect for themselves, and don’t need the approval of clueless people. In my opinion, the Detroit guys are true ambassadors of electronic dance music. They have a lot more passion for the music than I’ve seen from Europeans and have too much pride and integrity to sell out. If they show up at Tomorrowland, they will do the same thing they’ve been doing for decades.

    1. Thanks for mentioning South Africa, a new emerging economy and hot market for the “soulful house music” I did not mention in this article. However, you are basically saying in your article the people you namedropping are still doing “club venues”, not festivals – right? Yeah, thought so.

      Next time you talk to these people you know so well, have that discussion about creating a soulful house music festival in South Africa to promote the genre instead of doing gigs – that was what this article was talking about.

    2. While I understand your point about black DJ’s not being included in massive event lineups, my point in reply to your article is that they are doing just fine. They get plenty of respect and money in the circles they’ve been performing in. The music started in the underground and for many, that’s where they want it to stay. Besides, I see Derrick Carter and Kerry Chandler on the lineup for Tomorrowland. Most of the other performers are Europeans, where black performers are more involved with dubstep and drum and bass.

      Why would any respectable DJ’s aspire to perform alongside tools like Tiesto and David Guetta or the thousands of casual fans that idolize them? This is about the integrity of the music, not a giant popularity contest. If these said DJ’s were struggling and really wanted to get into these festivals, that would be a different story. I don’t think that’s the case at all. Maybe you should interview some of these supposedly disenfranchised black DJ’s to get their real opinions on the subject instead of interjecting your own speculation. Start with Carl Craig, who might have a few things to say.

  40. Hello all. I just started reading this (skimming actually) but generally agree with Ed’s ‘scalability of soulful music” concept. There was zero infrastructure in the early parts of house music, the blind leading the blind basically. Chicago being as segregated as was/is, there were few opportunities for venture capital(heck capital period) to see what was emerging. you cannot “scale” without resources and knowledge. Regardless of the personality types Ed spoke on, this is and what always has limited growth. Alot of the so called attitude may just hav been the result of the fact that people of color were often at an unfair disadvantage when attempting to do anything (even when hey were jumpstarting what will be one of the most significant points in music history). This subject could be discussed ad infinitum, but i leave this for thought.

    Love Is The Answer

    Vince L

  41. I don’t think soulful house or what is underground now *cant* be commercial. I just don’t think your assertions as to how the artists should change their sound or that the artists need to change their sound are correct. I don’t think you can tell all the hard working people in underground scenes that they are the ones who created commercially successful house, and that they need to apologize for it. Producing a high quality music video might be a good marketing tool, but to an artist who sees that as trivial or distracting from the content of the song that might be the wrong direction. Making a song with chris brown might be popular, but then you associate with beating women weather you want to or not. Some people prefer to make songs with old technology and some people prefer to hear those songs. You can’t say that is wrong – It’s just personal preference. I don’t think music needs to be commercially successful to actually be successful. I think music is music and you will like what you like. Trends will cycle, and what is underground will be commercial eventually. I think as long as we are honest about the music we love we will be happy. I agree with Vince, love is the answer.

    1. Tyler, no one is saying “change a soulful sound” to a riff-raff rave pattern – what need to change is the format for commercial release and distribution. That includes everything from proper equalization and mixdown in the studio to the time length format. The packaging and all other material for commercial release need to be part of the project.

      In the 80s, there was a song called “video killed the radio star” and the same rule applies to house music. Video is a necessity – cannot scale without video. It’s not debatable about video – that is a requirement and mandatory. There is no realistic way to promote music without a video in today market to reach the audience. If not, the music will be at the mercy of a DJ whim to play or not to play and the same with radio stations.

      How can people complain about Zedd or Calvin Harris but they are unwilling to release music videos? What are they thinking – they just “going to keep it real” as if that is a real sustainable option? Without videos, cannot create an IPTV broadcast, without an IPTV broadcast then it remains the same declining model where someone commercial EDM can rip off an underground beat and no one is around to defend it….

  42. I don’t know if this has been said, but if you are in Atlanta we have House In The Park September 1 2013. Which last year I think about 8000 mostly Black folks came out and danced from 12-8 . And they were of all ages, races , and sexual orientations from all over the world. Atlanta has a nice mixture of House music events with Black Dj’s playing and they are Tambor, Sugar Groove, Tribal, Sunday School , Distinctive, Free Ur Soul , and those events are in Big Clubs to small rooms. And I forgot to mention other outdoor festivals like Greenhouse and Indigenous House . Now as a person who has been listening to House for over 30years and speaking for myself I like to hear and dance to music that is soulful and has some funk a lot of EDM just Don’t do it for me . But if you want proof about House In The Park .

  43. Also, didn’t see Wavefront mentioned here, it’s a house music festival in Chicago (it’s second year was this year) and it does a good job balancing originators (Frankie knuckles headlined one of the main stages this year) with more commercially successful acts, allowing people who are new to the genre to experience what those who are old in the genre to experienced in the past.

  44. “House is a Feeling”……. “EDM” is the sonic epitome of the compartmentalized “white” experience – – – there is no rhythm, there is no soul, there is no essence… there is only a hyper-neurotic post-industrial back-beat with pseudo-analog bursts of skittish noise . . the concept of a DJ on a stage “performing” in front of a crowd whose only “dancing” is to jump up and down and pump their fist is the virtualization of the white devil’s institutionalized theatrics…. there is no ritual that brings all together as One… there is only an audience worshipping a self-conscious golden calf…. the difference between the frenzied communal subjectivity of the Black church and the objective spectator-driven experience found within the white Sunday morning “gatherings” where a flock of recessive androids sit stiffly and absorb false prophecies of self-righteousness from an insecure pilgrim…. Miles Davis said that white musicians seemed to play ahead of the beat… if you have “soul” and know how to let your self go in order to bring light to the Self, go ahead and play some EDM for a minimum of a half-hour and dont stop dancing…. did you enter into an ancestral healing trance that elevated your intuition… did the rhythms guide your body language into the unspoken vernacular of the eternal conscience…. or did you simply have a minor cardio workout that left you craving processed carbohydrates ?

  45. All of these festivals you guys are bringing up in this article? FREE events!! That’s not helping the cause, as Ed is putting it. If Black people aren’t willing to promote their own sound, by spending money on it, then of course it will die out……

  46. Thank you Ed this is very informative. People mention some of the Beautiful house events that are here in the US that attract many people. There is an event that goes on in NYS “Electric Zoo” this is suppose to be a house event (of course check the name) this event attracts over 200,000 people everyday (it’s a weekend event) I’ve followed it for several years and I have yet to see a DJ tap into the Soulful House, the roots of house, I have yet to see the Icons of house on any of their stages. WHY is that ?? they aren’t mainstream enough?? or they aren’t techno/electric? I believe ED hit it on point with this.

  47. There are some conditions that the Author of this article is not aware of or doesnt have any first hand knowledge of regarding the Chicago Artists referrenced. The pioneers of most music genres seldom get the recognition nor cash in on there contribution to their respected scenes . How many common folks have heard of DJ Kool Herc (godfather of hip hop) or Frankie Knuckles/Ron Hardy (house godfathers)??? Probably not many…
    So back to Chicago-
    Chicago is located in middle America and our media centers are located on the coasts in New York and LA. Even in MTVs heyday and the times when the radio ruled there was seldom any coverage of midwest acts. Hell..Motown records even left Detroit in the 70s for LA. Even today there is a ton of talent in Chicago that gets no local airplay or bookings by local clubs. America is dominated by its media..and if the media dont play it, the people dont pay to see it. Kinda sad, but it is reality..and I dont see them flying to Chicago to scout out the local talent too often.
    Theres also a ton of socio-economic problems in Chicago (and America) that exist that play into this as well…Even today this town is still very segregated…so if you wonder why a lot of blacks stick to black audiences, its probably because thats who they play to a majority of the time..the posh nightclubs with white audiences seldom book them.

    We also have the problem of the current state of the record industry…I dont need to remind anyone that these companies are for-profit business’s; and if its not a pretty face or an instant hit they dont want anything to do with it. America is an instant gratification society..people dont want to do their homework nor step inches outside of their comfort zone. So good luck trying to win over the masses or big business with what they see as “Ghetto music” cause lets face it, its a race thing and an image thing.

    As far as these festivals go…yea the masses see it as a cool thing to do and all their friends are going..but most of the time they dont even care what musical acts are even playing…its just a facebook photo op or the fact they can say “I went.”

    1. Ok and goodness CK…

      You first start off with a diss/condescending statement saying I’m missing something. Then you started posting up Wikipedia stuff like you dropping some knowledge around here…have someone heard of Kool Herc or Frankie Knuckles or Ron Hardy????!!!!!

      Then it went bad to worse! You started a grievance diatribe! They didn’t do this for us..they didn’t allow us to do this and that…they didn’t rotate or promote our stuff….it’s all about they, huh?

      The Black House Djs need to own their infrastructure to promote their genre, their way..plain and simple..stop talking about them and focus on us..

  48. Ed,

    As a DJ, in LA & Hollywood as well a globetrotter, (since 92′) and I feel you perspective offers angst in lieu of solution.

    To suggest what you perceive as failure upon a body of people reveals your inability to successfully deliver any usable literature. Perhaps offering an op-ed about what is, in fact, happening could serve you and an audience clear insight about your point of view as well as more direction about an opportunity to be seized…? Perhaps.

    To humor your ill-advised piece yes it is a small circuit which began with offerings from Larry Levan… and today’s market offers the likes of Goonrock, Redfoo and Chuckie (as mentioned above Frankie Knuckles and so many others) to get you started. Tomorrow their will be more.

    By the way, music (as also is writing), is a platform to be used by all. How the platform is utilized is up to the individual to be defined. Is it fair to offer the idea that you could write the same story about writers too?

    Believe it or not Morgan Freeman puts it best:

    – Mr. Gavin

    1. Mr. Garvin,

      I mentioned several times in the article back in April when it was published and I mentioned it in the comment section again…we are creating both an audio streaming station designed for worldwide consumption and an IPTV channel and that is what me and team will do..we already taken action and we are in progress.

      However and I need to stress again, one cannot make chicken salad with chicken crap…quality content has to be created and things have to be structured to promote and preserve the genre, not this loosey-goosey stuff. Black people want to claim “underground” but we lose too much history not having a structure in place to sustain the things we created and founded.

  49. Many valid points, there are many ways to bridge the gap, I’m working my hardest to do so. Merging todays pop culture with authentic sounds of house, trying to find that medium. Below are links of work i have done. Many people have shot these down because its me “so called selling out” But it’s not, it’s me reaching toward the children/teens and what they like, why not. May be if they here something, the’ll dig for more of the older house music. I’m young, only been in house 7 years, I see a 15 to 20 year old gap. Old guys controlling a circuit, New bee’s being pushed back. Totally understand why they made this Label called EDM, More like a bunch of new dudes breaking free of control. Dance is not be controlled but re invented & move forward. My music will stay authentic but it will have a modern twist and a video as well. Business is very weird over here, ain’t gonna lie, leaving the major recording industry and coming over here was a big switch. BUT. I love the music, the message and most of all the vibe. I have a goal 40% of the way there.

    Drake Feat Rihanna – Take Care

    Kelly Roland Feat Lil Wayne – Ice

    Rihanna – Diamonds(Afro Versions)

    Elle Goulding – lights(Remix)

    1. who is qh? If anybody posted some negative nonsense that was not constructive, it’s not coming this way and we don’t get down like that here.

  50. ED The Chosen Few DJs play soulful House Music from the 70s disco Sylvester to the Soulful House music of today Monique Bingham Josh Milan and Bucie.We are a Black DJ crew who give the biggest picnic in the World.We our proud of our heritage and our crowd is mostly African American which we surely won’t apologize for but we welcome all humans.We do not discriminate on ANY level.We will not change our style of music we play to attract a different crowd or make more money.ITS NOT ALWAYS ABOUT THE MONEY!!!.We do realize those other festivals charge 100s of dollars for their event but we choose to make the sacrifice in personal monetary rewards for keeping our event affordable for our clientele as well as play the soulful House Music that people love.Its funny that a lot of the EDM DJs were staying in the same hotel we were in and were asking us for OUR autographs and trying to get to OUR event. Real recognizes Real!!! We have respect for EDM DJs and their sound BUT it is theirs NOT ours.Sure any good DJ can play any style of music if they choose too but we do not CHOOSE too and we are fully aware of the financial sacrifice we are making by not playing it.Will some of my DJs change their mind and play that style in the future who knows.They are all grown man and make their own decisions but most of them have been spinning over 20yrs and haven’t done that so far.My question to you ED is have you ? If you play EDM style good for you.We choose to play our style.By the way our picnic this year was our biggest ever!!!HOUSEHEAD NATION LET’S GO!!!DJ Wayne Williams founder

    1. Wayne Williams, thanks for the explanation of the Chosen Few. I know about the Chosen Few as I’m from Chicago and missed it this year but will not the next.

      To answer your question, I can and do spin everything from ESG – Moody to Axwell remix of In My Mind because I have respect for all forms of dance music. The same way the original WBMX Hot Mix 5 would mix Euro tracks like Ris Love in Music and Chicago homegrown tracks like Adonis No Way Back in the same mix.

      From an industry standpoint, the lack of infrastructure is causing talent in the house music industry to go unnoticed, catalogs to become lost and we hearing commercial dance music ripoffs of songs that were rare house music grooves. Not advocating anybody to change their style but to understand that a better structure and distribution framework has to be put in place to keep the genre healthy and alive.

      Let’s remember that Chicago back in the 1960s had a vibrant music scene comparable to Motown and while people are familiar with Curtis Mayfield and Donnie Hathaway, there were plenty of self-press 33 1/3 records of artists and diva groups from the 1960s in Chicago who simply got lost as time went by. Don’t want to repeat that loss again and why Black house music DJs and inner city EDM producers (this term is used to be inclusive of dubstep, drum and bass, downtempo and techno and more) have to work together to create an infrastructure for distribution and preservation to keep the genre intact.

    2. The Chosen Few picnic was a very great and successful event! Even with the React group changing the date of the Wavefront festival from last years date of a week earlier to the same date as the CFP and incorporated a more diverse DJ line up to try and capitalize on the CFP media hype and try to also get CFP’s consumer market share. It didn’t work and shows there are possibilities for more successful events of this type. Keep up the great work Wayne!

  51. I’m sorry Ed, I’ll be nice about it, but I think this article is misguided.

    You can’t use these examples of SHM, Tomorrowland, Zedd, Bingo Players, etc….unless you’re ONLY thinking of it all in terms of making money and nothing else. What you’re really asking for is for Black house music producers to water down their sounds and make happy poppy easy-to-digest big festival “raise your hands up” garbage in the hopes you’ll see a Black David Guetta or Black Calvin Harris.

    While I will agree too many urban Black club cultures have embraced rap music mainly or cling too hard to the old school, I’ve seen many great niche scenes in both the clubs and raves of Black DJs and producers creating amazing sounds in deep house, jungle, and techno.

    The real problem is deep house, jungle, and techno doesn’t sell to the mainly white audiences who rush out to these massive festivals. In Chicago they tried a house music festival that offered many Black acts and diversity, but it flopped. A lot of Blacks didn’t want to go because it wasn’t rap or old school, and a lot of whites didn’t go because they were scared of Black people. It’s a shame too.

    There are Black radio stations, but they’re pumping commercial and old school. I can’t blame them because they have Corporate overlords who scream for profits over musical diversity. Black raves simply don’t happen easily because in the US, such a gathering would set off warning alarms to the many unknowing and racially fearful folks who would be scared at such a gathering.

    I think Black House music producers are doing just fine. They go to Europe and play big events. If you want them to be all over the US like Guetta, Harris, or Pauly D (YUK!), then they have to sell out. Plain and simple. Plus they need marketing/PR departments and stylists to give them that “cool global DJ” look, which often means they stop looking like themselves and instead look manufactured.

    You can compare Black house music producers with your examples…but I’ll see it as you comparing art with garbage. Look at even the white house music producers who try to do something better than your examples. How are they doing? Not much better.

    1. I think that was the great part of going to DEMF for the first time back in 2007. It was great that all these people from around the world were flocking to downtown Detroit to watch predominantly black DJ’s perform what is considered a white person form of music. Pure irony. I had a great time seeing Octave One, Scan 7, Model 500, and then some Europeans like Hardfloor and Christian Smith. They were playing together for an equally diverse crowd.

      Then you have Las Vegas, which has become a pretty vile scene. I went to school there back in the late 90’s, and saw the beginnings of the true global club scene start from the opening of Club Utopia on the Strip. That was back when they had top 40 DJ’s in every casino club. Now you have monthly residences from Tiesto, Benny Benassi, David Guetta, Kaskade, at these clubs with dress codes, $100’s, $1000’s for bottle service, and an obscene cover charge. They kicked DJ Shadow off the decks because they wanted to pack the dance floor. No respect for the music, only the money.

      I was never a fan of the whole Euro-Ibiza fashion photography DJ marketing campaigns in the past 15 years. It only fed into the vanity and ego of DJ’s who do little more than auto-beat match their tracks, or even worse, pre-mix their entire set and then jump pump their arms like Paris Hilton.

      Where’s the dignity? I guess you don’t need dignity when you’ve got the dinero. And that’s my problem with the “EDM” movement. It has mainstream written all over it, without much deference or respect for those who came before it. And probably the most amusing part of it all is that most of the music sounds almost the same as the music we were listening to back in 1998. It’s all been recycled for mass consumption, not unlike all those remakes they are doing in Hollywood. Except the remakes are done by hacks that shamelessly all the credit for themselves.

      Money only seems to make things worse.

  52. “House” today is not truly “house.” Not in spirit, not in sound, not in feeling. IT’S POP. You’re comparing apples to oranges. Of course pop music can bring millions. The “Black DJs” you speak of made “house.” It was underground, it was soulful, it was disco, it was African and Latino, it was gay, EVERYTHING today’s pop dance is not. It was never commercial, nor was it supposed to be. (Nor do I or any of the thousands of people who attend the Chicago’s Chosen Few picnic or Brooklyn’s Soul Summit want it to be. Both of which, by the way, are FREE.) Real house was a refuge for people to escape the mainstream and its rules and regulations, the dominating classes and their business, the ads on TV, the social white-collar-white-people guidelines that kept the Black people who made house and the people who danced to it in their lane. These festivals, these DJs…You cannot sanely say that they are embracing nor providing the same thing. They are not a means of escape from the norm. They ARE the norm. Tis why they’re sponsored/hosted/funded by corporate organizations. Tis why most of the audience is white.

    300,000 people attended a Shakira concert in Mexico City.

    Should “Black DJs” start playing Shakira?

    Admittedly, I didn’t read this article at length, though. It was too long, too many typos, and you are too misinformed. Read “Love Saves the Day” to be more up on your shit.

    Peace, though!

    1. Hebert Holler, maybe you should have read the article at length or you wouldn’t have been misinformed while trying to claim I’m misinformed – no need to be snarky as you don’t get extra points here for it.

      When you stated 300,000 people attended a Shakira concert, then it shows you have not read this article as I stated the importance of emerging urban markets that will increase the life of dance music and EDM. Mexico City is a rapidly growing emerging market and that is not the only concert that brought in that many people lately. We are seeing the same numbers in emerging Asian markets and China will soon be another market with those huge numbers.

      This emerging growth trend is the opportunity for many inner city dance music artists to start on a new slate in new markets and they can “keep it real” at the same time. Again, this article was not about your “emotions” or how house music make you feel, it was about growing and preserving the genre and understanding and acknowledging the mistakes done in the past and avoid them.

  53. We all Know there wouldn’t be any EDM without Chicago House Music !! Like the man said.. Is time for a change.!! Here in Chicago we don’t support each other like we should. Ok Chicago Lets stand Up!!!.. We can say is not about money…. Dj’s Like to Eat Too !! Mr. Williams i think that was the best move you made for the House Heads of Chicago Thanks … And Mr. Ed Thank you for that Vital information and wakeup call .. I have been in the game over 20 yrs. and i support every Dj & Producer that can mix a live set, and put out Quality Tracks ….. I love it all… i spin. House. Soul,EDM,Deep,dub,rage,,trap etc…i’m starting to produce Quality tracks ….let’s not limit ourselves ,we have the control if we want it…Chicago Will Be Back on Top of the Map .. Dj Teddy Jackson .

  54. Somewhere in the equation Newark, New Jersey was left out of the mix. However, with the small market we have here in Phx, I get a chance to see many African American DJs who play the soulful house sound. Just like jazz musicians of the 50s, most make their big money over in Europe. The last I checked Claussell, Jihad Muhammed, Naeem Johnson, Louie Vega are booked every weekend. Vega has his gallery of singers/band who hammers out all kinds of soulful house. Wish the writer would have written the positive side as to what the names mentioned in my reply are now doing in the industry.
    Also singers like Josh Milan is singing everywhere every weekend someplace. I liken this to the comedians of Def Jam. Through the week they are performing in their areas, but on the weekend their frequent flyer numbers are on the rise….
    Newark, New Jersey was the cradle for “soulful house”…. That should have been included in this article….

  55. dude,
    You really have no idea what you are talking about. Maybe in regards to the Chi town scene and the house/electronic scene you hang out in but I personally know way to many black engineers / programmers and producers who have been innovators of this technology. You also seem to be lacking in practical knowledge of the media industry and its controllers. It seems as though enough people are here though to tell you so I will save the typing time.
    I do like what you said in regards to creating and utilizing the new delivery methods better.

    1. mmoss7, I understand your desire to try to put someone like me down to establish yourself but it don’t work that way. I don’t why people keep running to this discussion saying that. At this point, it should have been establish that I must know what I’m talking about and not a lightweight.

      Strong bit of DJ/music industry career advice to mmoss7 and everybody else who come to this discussion and the first words that come out of their mouth is I don’t know what I’m talking about – you exposing yourself as a wannabee with an ego bigger than your experience. You are only mad because you know deep inside, this article targeted you for falling to step your game up and you are conflicted knowing you putting up a “keep it real” facade to cover your lack of hustle to step things up to another level.

      The one thing you learn with experience is you don’t come in attacking people you don’t know or trying to discount them. Only wannabees does that type of stuff as many of us have learn about the game is the ones we don’t know, never heard of are usually the most influential and behind the scenes and leave you doing cheap gigs trying to cross them the wrong way.

      No, I don’t chit chat on house music blogs, show up at conferences and sit on panels. But mmoss7 don’t ever make the mistake of opening your mouth and publicly saying I don’t know what I’m talking about when you clearly don’t know me or my background – that is one clear way to destroy your credibility fast among the pros.

  56. As a New York City Old School Dj , I totally agree with this article With the exception of saying its the Black Djs that let the ball drop ,I have to disagree with that . If you know the history of Dance music Djs from New York you will know we as black people arrived a bit late on the Dance Scene, people of Color were far and few back in the day who were involved in the craft , back in the day people of color who were Djs in the clubs were mainly of Latino decent ( Puerto Rican ) also at this time a lot of clubs were run by Mobsters, and it became an Italian thing , so lf a Black Dj applied for a job at a club he would not stand a chance unless he was real tight with someone in the business , so there was a racial divide in the mix as well . Black Djs uptown Harlem , Bronx and the outer boroughs were not given the opportunity to play in the downtown Manhattan Club scene due to racial bias , so because of that, many people of color started small clubs uptown and the Bronx as well as parks and the streets This is where the history of Hip Hop and or Rap began , Hip hop is a broad conglomerate of artistic forms that originated as a specific street subculture within South Bronx communities during the 1970s in New York City ,if you read any of the trade magazines, Djs from the United States get very little recognition in the mainstream Dance Music world, we are so stuck on where the art form began instead of doing some innovating things to improve our craft here in the United States …

    1. Larry thanks for bringing up the background of New York and what you explained about the clubs was the very same setup on the North Side of Chicago during that same era and probably a lot of other urban cities. Keep in mind that record labels and clubs were a way to funnel illicit money where anybody can make up revenue numbers about record sales back in the day and do payola with the radio stations.

      This is good information you brought up because the problems have to be brought forth and understood so inner city EDM can create real solutions to not allow the same mistakes to occur again. I understand people are taken back by this article peeling off the scab in a harsh manner, but we got to look at the underlying wound to determine the impact, how and why it happened and apply a healing solution.

      While I understand what happened in the 70s and 80s, the year 2000 happened 13 years ago! So what happened between the year 2000 and 2013 – 13 years?! I’m just not seeing much accountability for those past 13 years from the Black DJs and inner city EDM producers for the lack of growth and clinging to nostalgia and stagnation under the facade of “underground” and “real house music”.

      This is a urban business orientated blog and we have to look at problems in an unflinching and raw manner to create real solutions and make sure mistakes do not happen again. Thanks for your response and again, we are fully aware of New York City contribution to the genre from Larry Levan to Lime to SalSoul and more who helped shaped EDM to what it is today.

  57. “Thanks for mentioning South Africa, a new emerging economy and hot market for the “soulful house music” I did not mention in this article. However, you are basically saying in your article the people you namedropping are still doing “club venues”, not festivals – right? Yeah, thought so.

    Next time you talk to these people you know so well, have that discussion about creating a soulful house music festival in South Africa to promote the genre instead of doing gigs – that was what this article was talking about.”

    Ed, I agree with you on the business end of your article and I’ve had the fortune of being able to travel the world to see many of these artists to perform at festivals recently in Spain, Croatia and the UK. Kerri chandler and others as well.

    Regarding South Africa…

    I’ve traveled to South Africa over 6 times in the last two years the biggest artist is Black Coffee and his genre is house the edm sound gets no play down there. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him at southporter weekender in the uk and wmc in miami. black coffee and a host of other artists like Bucie tour all over the world and consistently sale out shows and stadiums in SA and that variety of house music is King in that region of Africa. A collaboration festival in South Africa would be a perfect pair for many house music artist.

  58. Thanks everybody for your comments, advice, history lessons and words on this topic. I do listen to everybody that made a comment, even if they were critical of this article as we are interested in solutions and a positive path forward. I’m going to close out the discussion section for now to avoid circular arguments and BSP (blatant self-promotions) postings as I think a lot of major points were covered.

    This article was written in April and back in April, solutions has been defined and are in progress since the writing of this article.

    * IPTV streaming media channel to broadcast or play on-demand (both can be done) on SmartTVs, streaming media boxes (including Xbox) and mobile devices.

    * Audio streaming media to broadcast as an online radio station. As discussed on this blog, this will be done in select cities and markets worldwide.

    Creating and maintaining the technology infrastructure is straightforward – that is me and my team expertise. The hard part will be getting high quality, creative content to engage and captivate an audience. So standards and guidelines have to be created and the whole “underground” and “real house music” façade people are hiding behind need to go away as it did nothing but made the genre stagnant with no growth.

    So I feel the additional need to be done:

    * Music producers need to make quality music videos – that is mandatory. Cover art is also mandatory for streaming audio programs.

    * Knowledge of iTunes and Google Play and Amazon for digital distribution and sales.

    * Festivals are going to have to be done worldwide, outside of the “home base” to promote the genre worldwide.

    * As much as people hate to hear this, the producers are going to have to create copy/paste sequences and release as many as they can and put it out to market. The tracks are turning into a commodity regardless of quality – festivals and licensing have to be establish for revenue streams.

    The biggest concern I have about this discussion is royalties and licensing to keep artists earning for their work. It was no secret back in the day that some record stores (especially in Europe) would illegally press 12-inch records and sell them as “white sleeves” in their own store taking all the profits. Because of the rapid globalization of EDM music that includes inner city EDM, the goal is to make sure artists and producers receive fair pay-for-play and not miss out on royalties and lost opportunities.

    I want people to check out the link above and understand what is going on for real. I’m not attacking Disclosure as I like their reversed-engineered music. But notice the Pitchfork article says “dancing security guard” for the White Noise video and failed to realize the “dancing guy” in the video is a known staple in the Detroit techno scene – the writer didn’t point that out, just called him a “dancing security guy” in the article. In the second video, notice they are performing “you used to hold me” like they are a new wave band with keyboards and electronic drum machines.

    These “keyboard bands” are the competition house music producers and Black DJs face – kids like this who are a hybrid programmer/performers who can “reverse engineer” songs like Chicago house music classics and create their own version to entertain their audience without proper attribution.

    This was the same tactic that was done to Duke Ellington and Chuck Berry, taking their music style and entertaining a different audience. Let’s avoid repeating this trend where Black pioneers are exploited and copied and not given their proper respect and focus on creating a media infrastructure to make sure the genre “stays real” as some of us like to put it.

    I already know some of the commentators on this thread or know the people they affiliate and will be reaching out to them for help and industry guidance to help put in place a solution. Feel free to reach me on back channels or social media if you want to continue this discussion or check in on our progress.

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