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November 23 , 2017
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The Flop Industry / by DJ Yaniv Tal







Before I start I would like to apologize to all that I might offend with this article, if I do so it was indirect and without any bad intention. I would also like to declare that all the numbers that I'm stating here are my own estimations and not based on real facts (it could be that my estimations would be far from reality).










This article is to supply sufficient answers to all those new age people with colorful clothes, which often ask things like:







How much your best selling title sold?



Why do the distributions kill the labels?



Why do the labels kill the artists?



What does it take to be distributed by a distribution company?



How can I open a label?



If I make good track how much do you pay?



What does "exclusive" mean?



What's the difference between trance, full on, progressive- and tech-trance?



Who killed JFK?



How many licenses can I get?



Is the scene going commercial?







To those who look upon the Trance Scene (trance, psytrance, full on, psychedelic, progressive trance, tech trance, trance with housey touch) from the side and say "wow, so many artists, music, labels, distributions, parties, magazines… these scene must be a pumped up money machine"







You are wrong!







The truth about this scene is that it's so small and uninteresting which makes it almost unknown, in other words if you will look in the yellow pages you will not find the Trance Scene inside.


This scene relies on psycho sound junkies, party freaks, psychedelic fast food drug lovers, people who appreciate the evolution of the electronic music and the ones whose ears have passed the sound barriers and just looking for something innovative (I wish that this would be the majority). All these people are so extreme in their way of life that they will dedicate all their resources, money and time to become a part of this machine.


I don't know about you, but I started a label and later on a distribution only because I love this music and I wanted to spend all my time around this music without any interruption of a regular job and so on. I also know that many of the labels and the distributors, which you know today, have started for the same reason.







For what reason they do it today is another question…










To answer on behalf of myself, I'm doing it because I'm interested in music business, in interesting well-produced music and- I don't know what I could do instead!


In this scene there is nothing like a "big" artist or a "big" label, if you will ask 100 random people in the streets of any city of the world (except of Goa) who is Hallucinogen or Infected Mushroom (or any other artist which you consider to be big in this scene), if you will get lucky one will tell you that he heard this name once before……..









That's the fact Trance Lovers, your heroes are nobody!



This music is unknown!



It is not played in TV,



It is not played in international Radio Stations,



And it is not reviewed in any global music magazine!








When an A&R (Artist and Repertoire) in a major music company will get a demo of any project band, which you imagine are the biggest seller of this scene, he will put it in the garbage because things selling below 75.000 copies world wide are not subject for negotiations!







Ok, we got rid of the majors and we're left with the independent companies. 10 -8 years ago everything was simple, because there was only 1 distribution, 5 labels, 20 artists and 10,000 people who were looking for this music. Today you have at least 10 big distributions far more than 50 known labels, over 500 artists and less than 10,000 people who want to buy this music.










About the distributions:



Every distribution has their key labels and mainly the same imports. Whenever a distribution lists a new label in their catalogue, they reduce the sales of the other labels in their catalogue, due to the fact that most customers have a fixed budget, which needs to be divided by the number of releases. Whenever a distribution doesn't take a new label to their catalogue they make their competitors stronger.






Whenever a distribution dares to sell to a shop or another distribution for credit, they have to face the following risks:













1. The buyer is a new cutting age hippie who decided that from today on his business will be selling records, but doesn't have the budget to back-up his wishes. So maybe he will not pay his bills to the distribution, the distribution will fail to pay the labels bill, the labels will fail to pay their artists or printing bill- somebody might go bankrupt!







2. The buyer is a well-known distribution discovering a 'new' trend. They stock giant quantities and after some time they realize that they can sell only a third of what they ordered, so they return the goods to the distribution. The distribution will return it to the label, the label printed too much upon demand, they get half of the quantity 6 months later (when they hardly can sell it any more). After 2 or 3 times that things happen like this- the label will go bankrupt!







Whenever a distribution does not agree to the customer requests for selling him on credit, they stand in that high-risk point- The customer will get in touch with the label direct, promise them big promises and convince them to sell to him direct on credit. This action can lead to 2 possible situations:







1. Since the label can't supply this customer with important releases every week they will be added to the bottom of the 'urgent' payment list and maybe will not be paid at all, until they will have their next big product to come.







2. Since the label supplies the buyer direct he will not pay his previous invoices to the original distribution and so the distribution will not be able to pay their open invoices to the label…







All this leads to a chain reaction of unpaid invoices which always lead to a bankruptcy of at least 1 company sooner or later……..







Another problem of the distributors is the turn over:



The distributors have to reach 'x' turnover to be able to run their company. Now, the products have a very short life 1-3 weeks and than it's not so hot anymore, so they have to find every week new products to make their list interesting enough for the shop to order every week.







Result: the market is full with unnecessary products, which compete with each other.







About the labels:



The labels try to get their hands on the trendy stuff in a good time, release fast and sell a lot, but they have few problems:







1. If it is a new label they will have a problem to find a distribution, because all distributions are full of labels already…







2. They have to pay advances to the artists, pay and print the records and get paid within 90-120 days if they will get paid at all. That slows them down and by the time they release the music, the "smart" artists already gave their trax to all their friends who swapped it with other friends and distributed it on MP3- by the time the album is out, nobody wants to buy it anymore.







There are 3 kinds of labels:







1. The major-related or big-budget label:



These labels come as a division of a major record company who wants to invest in an upcoming style and has to grab the market by the balls, or totally rich guys that find nothing else to spend their money for.



These labels pay ridiculous high advances to the big artists (advances which never justify these sells), they pay those advances because they want to catch the market with big names and they have a big budget to spend and they don't give a fuck about the future of the scene. Mostly those labels make few experiments with the style- see that its not profitable and go on to the next thing- leaving the scene with blown-up ego artists which got used now to big advances and will not accept less in the future







2. The long timer hard survivors:



These labels work on a small budget and pay well-calculated advances in relationship to expectation of sales… these labels discover artists, make them big and later on loose them to category no 1.







3. The "open/close-labels":



These labels are newcomers that want to have a label for mostly artists who never manage to get a record deal in the first two categories and decide- "we will do it ourselves". The result is that either after 1-2 releases they are fed up with investing money for no profit and they close their business down. Or since they find no distribution they gather with some more "open/close-labels" and create their own distribution, which lead to a market full of unnecessary products and confused consumers.







About the artists:



The artists are standing in an electronically competition since what counts for good music in this scene is the fattest sound and the coolest samples. For this they have to be daily updated with new software and machines, which cost more, than what can be covered by selling their music. This scene is infected with new young artists who have fresh ideas and more knowledge about software than the big dinosaurs. This scene is full of different projects made by the same artist. The reason is to be able to sign as much tracks as possible to different labels avoiding breaking the exclusivity section in their contract. This scene is full of non-innovative artists, which produce one-time-hits to meet the markets demand.



The result: no big name, no fame, no money, no fans, no picture, no bikini girls in video clips.







About the consumer:



There are few kinds of consumers for this music:







1. The junkies:



Crazy kids spending all their money (and their family's money) on CDs and records. These people buy every week at least 5 different products, they play it 1- 2 times and then want to get more (unfortunately this is an endangered species).







2. The "wanna-be DJs":



These people are the most updated ones. They buy everything, they record all, and they swap whatever, just for the chance that they might be booked to play for free in a future party.







3. The "Mafia guys":



3 guys come in the shop and buy 3 different CD, but later on all three of them have all three CDs!







4. The "wanna buys":



"I want to buy all these 10 records but I don't have enough money because I spend it all on lollipops, so can you keep me this 3 for next week…and when will you get new stuff?"







5. The classic consumer:



"Hmm… I love these Goa parties and I love this music, so I should have at least 1 CD of Goa at home, do you have a special CD with Goa sound"







6. The smart ones:



These guys know exactly what they want and what they need, if they get it in advance by swapping or MP3 its good, if not - they buy it.










Conclusions:



In a scene that demands new sound everyday- you can't expect big sales from just a single product. In a scene where a DJ requires only 'new' sound to be able to play- you can't expect to hear amazing innovative sets. In a scene where all consumers look like pirate drug addicts- you can't expect positive support by the Media. In a scene where everybody who has a computer and a bit of software can make a track- you can't expect to have plenty of good music. In a scene where everyone want to be a part of the machine- you can expect that one day trance will eat itself. In a scene where freaks try to run a business- you can't expect correct payment days and good book keeping.









Suggestions for solutions:







1. The distributors have to take care to sign serious and quality labels with a promising concept and output







2. The labels have to take care to show the artist correct calculations about how much their record can really sell and not promise them unrealistic no based on unrealistic advances just to seduce them to sign a deal.







3. The artists might want to be more innovative and to spend a bit more time on each track they make, instead repeating on the prototype. In order to support the scene, which feeds them instead ripping it off by copying.







4. The club owners and party organizers should look that the DJs that they book will carry with them some original CDs or records and not just copied material… (Hey, you pay them so much money- at least make sure that a part of it goes back into the scene). We all know that clubs have to pay royalties to their local society for playing music- maybe they could ask the DJs what tracks he played and give this list to the society so the money that they pay goes back to the artists.










BUT I do have something positive to say:



Just imagine that this scene will be successful being played in the radio and TV all the time.



The sells of ATMOS t-shirts will top Michael Jackson…








Would you continue to feel so special whenever you put a new CD in your player?







February, 2003.


1. The major-related or big-budget label: These labels come as a division of a major record company who wants to invest in an upcoming style and has to grab the market by the balls, or totally rich guys that find nothing else to spend their money for. These labels pay ridiculous high advances to the big artists (advances which never justify these sells), they pay those advances because they want to catch the market with big names and they have a big budget to spend and they don't give a fuck about the future of the scene. Mostly those labels make few experiments with the style- see that its not profitable and go on to the next thing- leaving the scene with blown-up ego artists which got used now to big advances and will not accept less in the future… " sooo true!!! imho this is the main reason for the scene being where it is today. and this fact has also huge effect/impact on newer artists. ppl got to understand that we r stending in a situation where its very very hard for labels/artists to live from music. its almost imposible!!! like every business, its an investment. and no matter how good the music is, it not sales enough to cover the extrimely high upfront payments that labels pay to the artists. (relatively small market, illegal downlads etc etc.) i still dont understand how we got to a point where a totaly new artist can ask for 300-500USD for a track (and maybe today it sounds legitimate... but its totaly not!) artists/labels/distributeds got to realize that its hard nowdays, and lower the incomes expectations from the music. get real! boom
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Maybe someone will realize not where the scene is and where should it go to... Less releases! The solution for all.. :)
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so my question to you: why dont u pay your labels in advance? why some of them need to close because u didnt pay? if everybody pay his bills in advance we wouldnt have so much problems. in normal business u pay also when u get your stuff. not 60, 90 oir 120 days later... 2 years ago the business was really good. so the distributors had a good live on there money. big offices with many ppl, nice cars and an expensive lifestyle with drugs and so on... if u want to survive in this business u cant life like a boss of an big company. look i dont have a car, no other ppl working for me, i live and sleep in one room between the CDs and vinyls. but hey... im happy. i think thats enough. isnt it?
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Well ,in general we agree here on all the points,and there is no much space for any comments,we just hope that people who going to read this article will understand the full meaning of it and thinks twice about each point Yaniv explains here.
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Right words in a right time! Only one thing that I feel about this subject and this monologue Yaniv.. No one really gives a fuck about what u have written there, and we will see more of the new labels rising up like mushrooms after rain and quality getting down etc.. Planet Earth will ( already ? ) suffers from overpopulation... so our little scene is just the Microcosmos and that is a little pity.. But in the test of time.. only the ones that are true to what they do and special / innovative will survive ----> or ( and it is even better ) mean something to those who will listen to electronic music some 5 years from now Respect for the bluntness
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money and art is like water and oil, it never mixes together. you can shake it well and the oil gets suspended in the water but sooner or later they separate. on the other hand I see many people inspired by this music and starting local scences. Trance never stops feeding creativity. It keeps creating these bubbles of energy glowing with optimism, freedom and love all over the world. I think this what's all about. And it's changing constantly, morphing into ever-new landscapes. If you try to make money with trance it's like creating a religion just to profit form it. Freedom is more elusive and cannot be bought with money, thanks god! Money is not about freedom. If trance music looses it's underground aspect, and gets sucked in into the mainstream, it's over. Than is time to look for something else ;) There's no freedom in your ego. Love and Light!
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what you said is true but from my point of view if scene will get famous and big it will atract bad pepole i want the scene to be underground like now without any poblisity sorry for the missed print
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To Space Gypsy : So basically, artists should make their music on evenings and weekends since they have to have dayjobs to be able to pay for rent and food etc. Well I guess all artists in other fields like graphic, painting, movies etc should stop charging for their work too... Music as an artform suffer if the artists can't have a decent living.
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I want to add that all you 'connected' people should send this article to anyone you know and I'm sure that the scene will have better times :)
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to cosmo: I think everybody should have a decent living, I'm only opposed to the superstar syndrome and to greedy promoters. I think if everybody is fair with each other and not try to cash in on the expense of the other, if everybody could control their vanity and greed and think about the real goal, to give everybody a real feeling of extasy, belonging and freedom, in other words, if we can stay real, then the trance scene can support their artists and fans in a beautiful way and give creativity a fertile ground (or should I say agar ;) to grow and change the conscienseness of many people around the world. An I think we really need to do this, before it's to late. You know what I mean? We are responsible of creating this thing.
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People - Upcoming artists, and especially future labels founders - Should take personal responsibility for NOT entering the commercial side of the scene. This saturated scene has no demand for new blood. Please! It's in your hands; Make music, enjoy life, and make a decision to stay out for the good of us all.
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he has made many great points here. but also has missed many points like how distributors effect sales also ..... i have quite a tale but dont think this is the situation to to mention it in...i dont want to start any fight.
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First of all, I have to say that I agree with many points that Yaniv has been talking about...but no distributor has the right to act like god and kill-off small labels by owing them money..if you do not want to cooperate with them, then simply do not take them on- the distributor should not rip them off- where is the professionalism from their side? Finally, I do not agree with the ironic decsription of the customer types by Yaniv. They should be treated with much more respect, after all, they are the ones who generate the money that the distributors make. A degree of self-awareness and modestity would not do any harm and last but not least, we should not forget where each of one of us came from....
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I think it ALL the problems/issues are due to human nature.. greed.. ego..envy.. pride.. how can we combat that ? I think we would need a massive shift in the way we are as people.. but is that really possible? For the future of quality psychedelic trance I sure hope its possible!
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Well, thats just how it developped. Nearly no selflessness, 'Live-Acts' from CD or MD and the missing of basic thoughts that many newcomers just dont know about. Yes, i guess this is how it must have been in the early 70s: many flower but no power. Reasons? Geee, if u ask me its just this typical behaviour of humanity: as soon as you get respect for something you get lost in it; forgetting the roots and friends and basics that its all made of. Maybe get these things back in peoples heads? But how???
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i think that yaniv forgot to mention something in the solution part. all the Suggestions a great, but still... if u maintain all this and keep on working in full power, it wont work. we r standing infront of a fact - CD`S DONT SELL. no matter what we`ll do and no matter what r the reasons for it, and i dont see any big change soon. so my little Suggestion is just to keep working in a "lower profile"... i just dont get it how a label prints 8000 copies when they can sell only 3000 (the numbers r fictions.. just an example). the naked truth for now is that this scence is not for "big money". and untill ppl wont realize it, this scence will go down much faster then we think. boom
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most of the labels dont sell even close to that 3000 copies...more like below 2000... very good points in the text of Yaniv, points that should be thought out by anyone involved in the scene.there are problems with distributors as well, but theyre in a tight spot too, and are hardly the ones to blame for the troubles of this scene...
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nice article, a lot of correct facts..
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Yaniv's made some valid points and I think it all comes down to the size of the scene. As we all know, the psychedelic scene is something very special and the music that drives it is awesome. I for one find it amazing that it's not bigger... The reality is that across the board CD sales are dropping and CDR sales are climbing; soaring in fact. We can't change that; people will copy if they can... What we can all do is work towards promoting the scene to new people. I used to be into progressive house, clubbing and all that malarky and one day found myself at a trance party in Cape Town and had the most awesome conversion.. I couldn't say how many times I've heard 'trance heads' suggest that 'non-trance heads' shouldn't be attracted to parties; that they ruin the vibe, that the parties become too commercial, that there's too many fucked up kids etc... I say bollocks to that... Let people be exposed to it. Even use more mainstream avenues to promote this. Make people's lives better by opening their eyes up to this and make our lives better by making it easier to make a living out of this... If care is taken then the energy of our way of life will change the way other people view the world, rather than that change our way of life. In Cape Town we have an awesome party scene, people are chilled and happy and a growing number of us are making a living out of trance music. A recent survey here of 18-30 year olds taken from a cross section of people in central Cape Town showed that 18% liked psy trance. That is a huge proportion. And that is due to the promoters here doing occasional more mainstream parties and getting information about gigs, music and releases into all sorts of press and media and so bringing new people into the scene and the scene is far more healthy for it. If you asked 100 people here whether they'd heard of Hallucinogen or Infected Mushroom you'd definitely get more than one who knew....! And with regard to setting up labels and releasing music, I think people should just stop releasing crap (and there's alot of it) as it's that that disheartens buyers. How many times has one bought a CD only to find that you paid your money for 1 good track?
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well obviously the problem is that theres plenty of people who did something like (im saying this because its a good example and very often true as well) sold enough drugs to start a label and actually have no idea what is crap and what is not.its not VERY expensive to print 1000 cd`s...i think 70% or more of the current psychedelic trance releases are crap, but obviously there are people who think otherwise as they make and buy (at least to some extent) these products...its clear to me that the scene that started out as a very experimental thing, pushing the boundaries and all that, got stuck to a few formulas around 1998 and has not really evolved enough since.ofcourse there are exeptions to this, but most of the producers are just taking the easiest possible path in their creations. also a lot of people in the industry side of the psychedelic trance scene scene have very little understanding of music production in general, how a good product should sound etc...people get in it and make their mistakes, learn perhaps and continue with better results, perhaps just give up. the standards of the music are so low that when someone new gets into the industry they just dont have to give a shit about how unimaginative and low quality their stuff is, theres always worse music out there.
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Trance scene's roots are uncommercial and therefore it has traditionally been an unprofessional scene in a way. As the scene has grown it also has progressed to a point where the normal rules of market and trade are becoming effective, this is maybe the thing that has caused controversy and surprise. I guess that the newest phenomenon is that there is more competition even on the distribution front (just look at the amount of distributors carrying trance titles). In my opinion one reason, apart from illegal copying of music, for the relatively low sales figures has to be the lack of professionalism and sufficient information in marketing and promotion. Looking at practically every other kind of business where there are local agencies/distributors involved, the distributor/agency normally takes care of marketing and promotion of the product in its specific territory since they usually have better knowledge and a better picture of the local market. Music business is mostly based on marketing and therefore detailed knowledge of different markets in respective territories is essential. I think that generally the label-distributor -relationships need to develop into a level where they are more like strategic partnerships, that involve "immaterial support" ranging from exchange of information to consultation, than just plain "trade on commission". The alleged "short shelf life" of trance records is also connected to inadequate marketing and promotion, I don't think that people every will stop buying old records that sound good if they know about the records and there's adequate supply. People buy records by Abba, The Doors, Dire Straits etc. every day although they are a lot more than 3-4 weeks old, I don't think that (the biggest part of) trance music is any "fast food" so why whould trance really die any faster? About the "labels releasing too much bad music" -issue, there has always been bad music and there will always be bad music - just let the free market do the trick! If people don't like certain records they won't buy them and so the "bad music" will disappear. Or does anyone here admit buying bad music on purpose, just for the sake of supporting the Bad Music Industry? Maybe there are other people who like "bad music" that you weren't aware of (?). Controlled risks and taking risks are among the essential elements of doing business. Proper credit policy is important if one wants to survive. There will always be short sighted cheaters around who want to make bad business, but that's something that the seller (being it a distributor or a label) has to be aware of. Either one has to be able to do credit analyses (and take advance payments from new not-so-well-known customers etc.) and have sufficient methods of collection or alternatively have certain financial backup to cover possible losses. There is _no_excuse_ for not paying your own bills even though you haven't received payment from your own clients. If a label sells records to a certain retailer and doesn't get paid, it doesn't mean that for example the CD-manufacturer doesn't get paid - if the label doesn't get its money it's the label's problem - not its supplier's problem. If the distributor doesn't for some odd reason get its money from its clients it's the distributor's problem - not the label's! I see no reason why retailers should not be able to buy goods from the place that can offer them good prices or other advantages. It's called competition, competition benefits customers and that's the way the free market works. I see computer music revolution as a stimulating factor for the musical part of the industry, now people with potential don't necessarily need to do well economically in order to realise their musical visions. I've seen people making bad music with their 8000 euro studios and on the other hand I've heard some real masterpieces made with a standard PC and some fancy programs. It's true that a bigger proportion of the music made with cheaper equipment is crap since it's easier to start making music with a PC and software, but as long as there is no demand for poorly made music there won't be supply either. Just let the free market do the trick? The trance scene evolving to a more commercial direction, it has also become subject to changes in trends and therefore more dependent of customer satisfaction and this is a point where I think that many people really should change their attitudes. In a scene as small as trance scene ("This music is unknown!" as Yaniv put it) there many people with extremely huge egos ("The trance scene is the only real scene, everything else is fake and equal to nothing." kind of attitude), I think that the trance scene has to maintain a certain level of modesty and to expand itself in to new territories and target groups in order to avoid stagnation. I've recently noticed when I've played trance for people who normally don't listen to trance that there are a lot of people who would listen to trance and buy trance records, but the link between the artists and the consumers is somehow missing. I see a huge potential in trance as music, but some things have to develop in order for this potential to become realized.
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Yaniv.... nice one... It isn't all gloomy though... there is hope ! I don't think that it is always the case that your smaller dedicated labels always fall victim to being bought by the crap $$$ labels... most labels don't automatically work with the publishing - they mostly sign deals that give them the rights to release a specific album on cd and vinyl. given that there's no $ to be made on vinyl and that compact disc is so vulnerable to copying, many labels are investing in rights that give them increasingly less return for their efforts and $. The answer is to look at other usages and applications for the music you work with. In order to do this - and be prepared for the future, labels should consider publishing as the way forward. If the future distribution of music is driven by transfer of digital files - either via cable, or satelite, then only having the rights to release your artist's album on cd will leave some labels out of the picture. Sure...selling a few thousand units of a cd is a good thing, but it isn't the only thing you can do with that music. Film and tv occupy a central place in western society, and film editors always like to cut to music. There is a massive appetite for music, and the $ result for the amount of work is much more attractive than selling cd's [with all the challenges that yaniv outlines - top of the list : getting paid / managing cash flow It is true though that chill out music has more potential film/ tv applications than your banging trance... but sooner or later people slow down. Either they get older, the drugs wear off, or they move to the countryside... [or all 3] anyway... good luck to you all
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dont forget that the artists today make trance because of love to this music allthough they know there is no big money this what makes this scene so quality to my opinion becase all the artists do it from love to the music not to get reached thing hat happens in other musical styles that have hugh audiance conclusion - although the scene is very small sometimes it is a good thing which make things more close more warm and the most important it brings people so clse to their human gods(artists) if astral, infected,simon or anyone else it would almost impossible to talk to them or meet them today that there is few people in trance scene the artists feel close to the crowd because it is always the same people in each club...country...whatever
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well Yaniv, deep knowledge and feeling of this scene u have, no doubt. but i have to say i didnt found myself in your "consumer defination", i mean where me there ?? i guess i am "smart" coze i KNOW what release i want and NEED it, but first prioritet of mine is BUYing my music (not that i never get burned mafia way cd or some promo), so i guess there is bunch of consumers that u didnt told about. this second generation ppl that know life next to trance also, Techno bom bom House la la and IDM mmm:) ppl that buy music before started listenting to trance (and way before they had a pc), ppl that like original cd coze a quality and complete feeling, ppl that care how designed the cover and if digital masering maded properly. call us "ideal but hard consumers", thanx. i also think trance have some goodies to offer to nontrance heads also, well may be not psychotic psy full on music but some Sunset or alike (TNT its a best example), so more directly signed promotion work from a labels and distributers, right understanding of who potential consumer might be and professional buesness making (why if u didnt got money from shop u dont pay to label ?? its complitely different stories..) and some day (in near future) everything will be OK.
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Yaniv says some wery wise words. I think that in order to keep the scene underground with enough sales to survive, there is still a lot to be done, one thing that people can start working on is exactly the localized marketing strategy, only by this way is it possible to target the specific locations that carry undergournd material without compromising and mining the scene with all the "wanna be's". The local markets know what is good and what is bad, they know who is hot or not, in their area and specific style of trance music. Trying to see the market in a golbal perspective will bring you global problems, mainly in the distribution areas... As an alternatinve scene,it needs alternative thinking or else it will succumb from the wounds that have been inflicting us since the end of 98. K
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I guess we need more ppl to get involved in this culture other that just to make, press, distribute or retail the music. We need more ppl to be a part of the culture for what it stands. Ppl, psychedelics, myths, celebrations, tribes, alternative perceptions etc... Ppl who create culture that adds and builds a society, who in part will like to explore our sense of hearing and feeling through sound ;)
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To anyone with the arguement that you cant work a day job and still make awesome music check out Mindwarped. http://www.soularrecords.com/ The guy makes some of the best stuff being released IMO and hes a fucking medical doctor....
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i give this assay an A+!
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nice approach Yaniv :) but i find that it´s not all exacly like you say . . we as labels need to see more long term visions from the artists, by this i mean that for a small label to pay 350-500 Euro for a track is outrageous, thus creating impossible budgets to fullfill with the constant mkt slump! . . If artists would settle for alot less and be willing to grow with the labels, then yes we would see many labels prosper and still be able to save the sales and provide cheaper original cd´s; In the hope of teaching ppl that MP3 has piss poor quality when amplified. . .
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Let's all hope that there's a better future for the scene.... peace
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I think It s because of people like you that the market and the scene is fuked up Bom
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I agree with much of what has been said above, but nobody has mentioned two obvious points: 1) Trance has the biggest potential, and reaches its potential most often, within the context of a party. Well-produced trance music is designed with Turbosound rigs in mind, not car stereos. Of course much enjoyment can be derived from listening to dance music in a non-dance environment (waking up, studying, driving, etc), but intense music at 140bpm is not very good background music. In other words, its application is somewhat limited. I see it as a very specialized tool: killer in one context, but not so hot in others. I think a small number of people like to buy many releases as a kind of intellectual hobby: they want to see what developments, both positive and negative, are unfolding in this small world of music producers. So there are certain number of trainspotters and freaks and wannabe dj's who want every last release, but not enough to push sales anywhere beyond 5000 copies. And anything below 5000 copies is basically an invisible blip on the screen. Take for instance the Son Kite release "Perspectives of..." I personallty consider this the height of trance music is basically every category: the most professional sound production, the most intelligent arrangements, the highest level of musicality, etc. But how many copies can this masterpiece sell? I believe the current figure is around 4,000. This number is frighteningly small when one considers the musical and technical skills and dedication that went into its production, and even more so when one considers that every year there are routinely parties in Germany, Japan, Portugal, and Greece that can attract around 10,000 people. In Japan there are five separate annual events (the Solstice, Visionquest, Mount Hotaka, and Arcadia summer festivals and the Solstice-VQ New Year's party) that get from 5,000 to over 10,000 people paying around $100 a ticket. You do the math...these are very large numbers we are talking about. There's no way Paul Oakenwanker could get 10,000 Japanese youngsters to travel 4 hours and spend $200 on transportation alone to see him do his thing, but the Japanese will do it in droves for Tsuyoshi, Hallucinogen, X-Dream, Dimitri, and others. But even Solstice, as a music label, is not hitting astronomical sales. So the bad news is that Son Kite cannot sell many copies. The good news is that there is a huge demand in countries all over the world to see them play. The trance scene is a two-headed beast. If Son Kite were making basically any other form of electronic music, they would not be playing in front of ecstatic crowds of thousands. So the big questions: Why can a Son Kite live set bring them indescribable joy, but a Son Kite cd sell only 4,00 copies over two-three years? Or, Why can Solstice get 10,000 people to come a party in the same location with the exact same line-up year after year, but not move 10,000 units of its extremely well-promoted and well-produced releases? The answer is obvious: the experience of this music is in the party. This is what makes it special, this is what people want. Bottom-line: The best dance music makes you dance like a lunatic. And when you can share that experience with other dancing lunatics, the whole crazy world seems to make sense for a few brief hours, or for a few brief days. The home experience is simply a distant shadow cast in the mind by experiences on the dance floor. When I listen to trance at home, the only moment it hits me is the moment when I connect to the memories of a party past, or thoughts of a party lurking in the future. This music lives and dies in the parties, not in the home stereo. A lot of people need a certain amount of home-party fuel, but your collection reaches a saturation point where you don't really need any more. If you're a "party person", maybe you've got some trance music to pep you up in the morning, some music to play as you drive to work, some music to play as you drive to a party, some music to play when you need to put on the headphones and escape the world, but then you reach a point where you say, maybe I don't need that much more new music anymore. I want to spend my money on traveling to a party in an exotic locale, not at my neighbourhood grungy vinyl joint. What's this means for the labels is another question entirely. The only labels that sell really well, such as Tip.world, are the ones that aim most unabashedly at the full-on party experience. Other labels that aim more for artistic innovation, namely Digital Structures, Iboga, and Plusquam, struggle to break even. And most of the labels in the middle flood the market with a load of crap every single week. Perhaps certain labels need to rethink their position entirely, and see cd sales not as revenue, but as purely promotion for artist booking. In other words, turn themselves more into booking agencies than record labels. Only release your tight collective of artists that are commited to you. Pay less to the artists for tracks, but charge considerably more to promoters for label djs and live acts. And most importantly, have the booking agency/label take a percentage of that live act/dj's increased fee to keep the ball rolling. Right now many quality labels are basically doing what can only be described as promotional work (printing cd's, lining up graphics, sending out promos, ect) for free. The problem is that they don't seem to realize they are doing promo work. This even leads them to book discounted "tours" to promote the release of an album. When an album can only sell 3000 copies, why are you "promoting" an album? This is totally backwards. You should be charging more for the sets when you have new material. The cd form of this new material should be seen merely as a tool to promote gigs. (Of course one problem with this solution is the number of unprofessional trance promoters in the scene, but that's another article entirely...) The other strategy is to branch off. You have extremely talented young minds with technical knowledge spilling out of their heads. Be aggressive with this asset. Aim for TV, advertising, video games music + fx. It's tough to break in, but these are commercially viable options for these skills. 2) Some perspective is also in order when it comes to trance economics. What percentage of musicians in any musical genre make enough money to support themselves on cd sales alone? VERY VERY FEW. It is easy to let the high visibility of certain exceptional cases (from your Backstreet "boy bands" and your Russian lesbian lolitas marketing gimmick t.a.t.u. to your coked-up "top" progressive house dj's getting 5-figures for a set) skew one's take on the music world. Take Jazz for example. How many Jazz musicians around the world can live off cd sales? 50 tops. I suspect far less. For every Herbie Hancock with his fancy suits there are thousands of technically proficient and musically gifted Jazz artists who have to survive (forget about prosper) by gigging, day in and day out, or by teaching music, or by working another job. Even high-profile does not mean money. How does Philip Glass support his musical career? Primarily by making music for TV commercials, like car ads. Another example. Bill Laswell is known in many music circles around the world, but the dude has little to no money. Or how about the collective record label that Frank Zorn runs in New York that releases albums by artists like Laswell. It only survives by artists chipping in at the end of the year for releasing their tracks. This really sucks of course, but this crew has resigned themselves to that fact and keep on putting out releases that satisfy them and a few others. A sick Laswell bassline makes peanuts while sick saccharine whining makes megabucks, but dumb human animals are not going to get smarter anytime soon. In conclusion, I think everyone has to come to peace with the unfair nature of the economics of this business. If not, you'll just go mad with frustration. The era of sustainable cd sales in this market are numbered, but there are incredible moments still out there. Money might be hard to come by, but learning experiences + personal connections + emotional catharses are always waiting around any corner. Analyze the situation rationally (admit that people are not going to stop downloading, and they are not always going to buy the best music, and that for every one who appreciates your hard work there are five who want to rip you off), and then make your choice--in or out? It sucks when your parade gets rained on. But it's self-defeating getting hostile with the clouds. Rainclouds are a given, just like markets and human nature. Get wet, or look for shelter elsewhere. It's up to you. Where do you want to be?
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Russ! Very good points! I couldn't have said it better :) With people like you it might be worth getting wet. Much love! I just like to add that Laswell is quite comfortable, although his not super rich, but he didn't make his money with his cool projects.
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hiya space gypsy :) happy to hear that laswell is doing fine!
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we need a school of psychedelic arts... our artist could be teachers..
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An international school for psychedelic arts! Very good idea!
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After reading all the posts (straight on from the begining) I have little to add, specially after russ' post. (i really was missing much of the points he stated). ¿why cant GTC list be like this flow of posts? ¿Where can i find more of this? Sorry not to add anything to the topic yaniv started but i really needed to ask this 2 questions.
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As an artist I agree with most of what Yaniv and Russ have so eloquently put, particularly with regards to Russ' points about gigging vs. releasing. In my experience it tends to be the artist who pays the price when bills do not get paid further up the chain; OOOD has fallen foul of the chain of unpaid invoices on more than one occasion. Plus some labels tend not to pay for sales unless you get really hassly - which isn't good for the soul of the hassler, I'm sure! This and other factors has made it clear to me that in general, releasing music is a mug's game for the artists; returns are in no way proportional to the amount of work the music takes. So for years now we've not bothered to even try getting our music released; we've been writing, writing, and writing... We've done some live sets, and I DJ the tracks, however, it's difficult to get the gigs when no-one's heard your music! So I've started sending out CDs again, but I NEVER send tracks out without some kind of 'spoiler' which makes it impossible to release or even play out - gotta keep the exclusivity! I reckon if people want to release it, we'll send them master copies after the contract has been signed, thankyou very much. If people complain, well, chances are they want to copy them or play them out - neither of which activities do any good for our potential record sales or for my DJ sets ("100% unreleased, 100% exclusive - you will NOT hear this music anywhere else!") We have maybe a little interest from certain quarters for releasing the music (we\'ve got about 4 albums worth, written over 3 years) but who knows whether or not anything will come of it... I certainly hope so because, like the man said, it all helps to promote the gigs - and it sure is good seeing your CD on the shelves! I have given up my expectations (but not my hopes!) of being able to earn a living from the music; if we ever earn anything substantial from it, I think it will be from DJing and live gigs (and then be split 4+ ways, but what the hell, we get to party for free + see people get off on our music :). In the meantime, I\'ve got a job for the first time in a decade - teaching 9 year-old schoolkids how to make music with computers. Part-time, but it pays the rent. Now I can write for the pleasure of it... :)
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An international school for psychedelic arts! Very good idea! we should do some thing for this becoz it will bring peoples together . 1 big school every body will be a student there yaaaa aka a-TIN
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yes!great idea!people from all over the world toghether to increase psy art.very interesting!!
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commercialising the scene will worsen the situation as in today......artists will try to raise their demands, more bad people will be seen and the entire charm of the holy dance will fade away .... its really not sensible on the part of labels to target larger number and give false promises, when they expect and know that the sale is not too much. What they should try to do is limit the sale of releases and make quality music. Money can be minted through organising parties, which is the MAIN CHARM of trance music.....loads of ppl r ready to spend hundreds of pounds to spend some chillout time listening to the loud psychedelic sounds !! its worth the money and the time !! Probably labels should start focusing their next business in organising parties and making some profits !!....... But i would certainly love to keep this scene underground and safe as it is in today !!
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Raves are the best thing in the world!!!!
Crystal skulls
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looks like we're barking up the same tree, Russ.

Last year I asked Son Kite about these very issues, they said they're best selling release sold about 7000 units, concurring my suspicion that to make a living (eat and pay rent) as a psy-trance artist, there must be a demand for personal appearance and presumably new music or skillful remixing at the gig. Once I quit my day job (yipes) I believe I can take my music to the next level. It's vital that a number of artists spend their daily prime-time working with their art.

I see a future business model as a music-on-demand. Basically iTunes or MP3.com, i.e. psyTunes.com. Essentially give lower encode quality music away (try before you buy) then pay-per-tune for approximate CD-quality music. Have an on-line radio station beaming, with easy access to purchase a tune that you just heard and creamed over. To sell physical CD units then you're going to need to rely on ecsquisite packaging and quality (possibly DVD encoding). Professional DJ's and collectors will want the real package (which will probably cost more than your typical CD today). For people without broadband and mafia friends, just-in-time CD burning at discount prices from aforementioned psyTunes. This is all conjecture but it can satisfy impulsive urge.

It can be frustrating to work on a piece of music (assume its actually good) for a couple of weeks, or a month then it not be able to provide some small slice of paying the rent or food. I think there are alot of craft artists (ceramics, etc) making a living selling their one month creations. That's because music makers really just make some form of information, so this is where CD packaging attempts to equalize with the craft arts.

throw that into the stew and crock it.

peace,
dean
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Some good points... But I think what we really have to realize is that the psychedelic thing is not about money and profit... it's about smiling and dancing and trancing to the most beautiful sounds and try to build forward... It's impossible to be in control, so let's just release it. Money is soon history so let's think about the future and let's try to create the music and dance for that purpose!
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Your words are like angels playing in my ears.
All this years I have got some serious problems with people in the "electronic-world" they act so strange......you gave me the answer.
I realised that the are wannabeeees, and they know jack-shit about joy,love and beautiful sounds.
I think, and hope this will some day come to an end.
Any questions? send me a letter!
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Don't let the music become Commercial. Love to all.
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ross, love your words, i totally agree...

AND...I have to say...i also agree with what someone else said about spreading the music...I was VJ & flyer designer for a couple of prog.house parties a couple of years ago, everything was all good, we had a great vj system, totally wicked light system, and the sound system was the best i've ever heard in sound quality, it beats every turbosound i can tell you, anyway the party went fine, a good prog.house/prog.trance dj played you could smell the coke from the speakers it was nothing more ambitious than mad fun....then i played at the afterparty and played psychedelic trance, and the vibe of the party simply jumped a couple of levels, and these clubbers came up asking me WHAT THE HELL IS THIS MUSIC? They were simply going nuts to this new music, and absolutely loved it and you could even feel their egos drop a bit, i say spread this music to as many people as possible, don't worry about the scene becoming "infected", just stay pure yourself, be positive and full of love and they will adapt, they won't change the scene....a lot of people are complaining that it is just too much drugs in the scene and people just come there to do dope and do get messed up, and it's destroying the scene blabla still it is often the same people who are spaced out on acid who say this, it's like they are taking their tabs to get to that fuzzy cozy goa-vibe on anjuna beach still ignoring the problem where they are at RIGHT NOW, drop the drugs for a little while, accept the new people, spread the word, it's an important thing we are doing, don't keep it for yourself, duplicate it instead. It's like having the solution for world peace in the closet but you are afraid of sharing it because then it might not be anything left for you to taste.
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One fear I have is that this music is going
to get commercial and a part of the stupid
mainstream western consumer society,
played between commercials about
what you're supposed to need in life....aaaaaaargh then i'm dead
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The very second anything is being sold, no matter how poor the profit, it's commercial. So you can drop that, psytrance is, and always has been, commercial. Personally I don't give a flying fuck wether the whole world listens to the music or not. I like psytrance and would rather be glad to hear the music more often.
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The very second anything is being sold, no matter how poor the profit, it's commercial. So you can drop that, psytrance is, and always has been, commercial. Personally I don't give a flying fuck wether the whole world listens to the music or not. I like psytrance and would rather be glad to hear the music more often.
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Lets face it, very few arists EVER have lived on the earning of his/her art. Why pay for something that is for free (mp3) ? Support the artists? Well, that is sweet ....
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very true statements. i belive that there are too many people trying to make a living from our fragile scene, we are killing the one thing we love most! The scene needs us to feed it and we should not expect to be able to take from it. It should be a passion, but not a lifestyle.
share the love
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this music its the form to see the life not see the more problems
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Q:Who is stupid enough to buy original cds when u can burn them or download them?
A:American teenagers.
It is sad watching britney spears of some other bullshit pop star get millions of dollars from these kids. What we need to do is somehow promote trance to the American teenagers making them love the music and buying original cds. This is how artists will make money giving them inspiration to make more and better songs. I do not know how we can do this but I urge companies and people well connected in this business to somehow do this.
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I really hope that my T-shirts will sell more than Michel Jackson's ...Fuck yeah : )
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Psytrance is a beautiful thing. I remember when I stepped foot into my first goa party, it began with yoga and a nice melody of ambient tunes. At first I was a bit turned off, I couldn't understand how anybody could understand this strange atmosphere and music. My first Goa Party was 12 hours long, and I wouldn't trade that experience for anything else in the world. I was kneeling at the feet of experienced Goans, and learning as I went. Since then I have attended atleast 45 separate Goa Parties, 25 raves and various jungle/drum n' bass parties. From all of the knowledge I have gained, and the infinite stories I can now tell, one thing has been learned: The beauty, essence and heart of this scene lies in the fact that it's underground. It doesn't belong to everybody, you can't mention Goa to the average person and have them tell you what it means, or how it works. We all derive something special from the sounds, auras and some mean goa stomping, so why would we want to exploit it? Goa is only appreciated by those who are willing to let themselves go, and this isn't really for everyone. It would be nice to see the scene grow, for the right reasons, but I will always stay partial to the underground, secluded and isolated feel of the complete Goa existence. Well, thats all, I don't have anything else to say.
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This is for Tomasz Balicki, Dude, I don't really think it would be good for the scene to slap on 6000 scandily clad, Choreographed 18 year old girls shaking their asses to trance. Its the soul of the music, the purpose of it that it's made for. Sure it would be great for us to make a ton of money doing it, but its just not a reality right now. I wouldn't want or support the exploitation of Goa, or any type of electronic music for that matter, because it's the underground mood that gives it the bliss we obtain. You can't go to a Britney Spears concert and grab the vibes, or have a life altering experience. Instead of being upset about the fact that the industry has boundaries and treats our scene like dirt, embrace the fact that its ours and nobody elses. Goa was founded by artists who couldn't possibly wish to sustain life on their spinnin' pay checks, they played because they loved it. We can't loose touch of that, because then we'll truly lose the scene.
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I just have one thing to say, (BTW great article Yaniv) drugs are not tearing the scene apart. It is unfortunate that when some think Goa, they automatically visualize thousands of candy kids fucked up on acid, or special k, or ecstacy, but it isn't the foundation of the scene, it isn't the purpose of the scene, and I know it isn't the future of the scene either. People need to realize that drugs are just about everywhere, and no matter what scene you look at there are going to be draw backs and down falls. Don't let these views oppress you, because the music is still alive, the vibes are still fresh, and it isn't coming to an end. This music can spread like wild fire, all we need to do is get it out there. There is nothing more satisfying then being the only DJ busting Goa beats at a party and watching the crowd change and erupt with energy. Keep the scene, spread the word, it isn't going to destroy or commercialize the scene.
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I'm still astounded about the existence and that, and the, people (who) did "Distance to Goa 3". Of course I've come to recognise that DTG 3 is a drop in an ocean of CDs, which is multipliedly astounding.
It's a quantum leap in music and quality of music and it's in a way not only a fast food music but it's a drug-replacement music indeed with the ability to make the listener feel things that he can't feel normally but are hid in the brain - this is not the only effect, but the whole brain is stimulated and reacts in new ways different from everyday's function - It has the characteristic of giving everything it's about without delay to the listener, so it's not difficult nor boring but it's in a way generous to the listener and further, is an analogue to special effects in films as well as to fun-park machines.
It is therefore a necessary product of modern man.
I hope Goa won't decline of financial reasons and survive maybe on CD burning (by the artists). Furthermore I think if people don't invest in distributors, labels, dealers they make a mistake!
This is future-technique music which is generally set to stay and be consumed by at least millions of people forever and nothing will delete goa trance away again from pop culture.
Maybe there will be a way of interesting "totally rich guys" helping save Goa.
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first of all,this article is,like i would say it in Dutsch`de spijker op de kop slaan`.You are the first person to tell me how goa really is,at the moment,you dont swamp arround the point, and i respect that.Still,there are a few things,a few questions,i want to ask you.
All these impressions and sights you wrote down,i can reconnize mine,in them.How is it possible, that this hole scene for you now , is such a smack in the face?
i get the impression, that these are based on thouts of a psychonaut.(forgive me if that impression is wrong).
But only because, i , more or less, think the same way as you.
How do you feel about the word` plur `now?
Why do you judge over people who use drus,when psytrance evolved to what it is now, part bij drugs?
Why is someone a beter person when he or she makes, and experiment with goamusic,or music in general,then being a person who has a passion for the music,but does not has the need to make it ?
-all of a sudden,its -we say it in dutsch`marginaal`,i dont know whats it in english..-,its,trashy en or not descent to go to the parties anymore.

There are people who are NOT part of the machine.
->
I really dont understand,that a goatrance-lover , like you ,can be so square-minded about
some things.Let the music free you,cuzz thats what the message is all about, freedom.
Dont break you`re head over the whole scene,
try to find more positive messages.evolution is not something you can stop,..it made the music,you listen too, today.

peace
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You know what;
This summer, i'm gonna be part of the machine,
energetic,powerfull and crazy as it is..

..and i'm gonna love it!!


PEACE TO YOU ALL

HAVE A GREAT SUMMER
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loco d+++ esse site... queria umas dicas de mp3 trance... de musica eletronica ao todo mesmo valeu
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sex and more psytrance!
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Dude dont paint with miserable colors.... where i come from there are far toomany parties every weekend we could have double the amounth of weekends and still the parties would be too many so as a result of that who is playing? all sorts of djs and liveacts from all over the world for what? as you say anybody can make music with a laptop and some socialsecuritymoney.... what we need is not less musicans or a racial control of supporting your local geezer its more people.. thats all it needs:-) tell your friends to get out on psyparties infect the whole damn valley and it will be fine.
bzzzzt by the way go and buy the psypilot cd its kewl dude and worth its money!
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hey yavni u only said bad things about the scene, and i reckon theres a lot of fucked up things thats make the scene worse, for instance nowadays everybody is a DJ, u just need a case witha few burned cds from your closest buddy, about production of music im afraid its going to the same way, so, i didnt see any good point, or any good thing that u say about the hole scene/records/artists/fans/freaks , what makes u stand still in this life ?
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YE A LOT OF THINGS THAT BEEN SAD ITS TRU but fuck it we live only once dude & Drugs & Muzik just a part of it.U cant take life 2 sirious , cous no 1 gets out of it alive anyway.peace
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Plz keep in mind , this culture is not about biz. but about the ppl .


Way to go is Forward >>>>>
no lookin bak
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hey dude, i'm from india. I am planning to organise one party if you are intrested than i want to know how much you'll charge for a party?
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hola
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I feel that the average consumer should be encouraged to buy cds or pay for a download, but I also believe that without letting some of my friends trade music I would not have converted my friends. These friends have now get together to set up a free party sound system to take the music back to its roots, that is outdoors and free from the police state rules about opening times etc.
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esta de poca madre chido por hacer pasar un rato chido
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yaniv ist mein schatzi
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people dont forget abt brasil!!!
its getting a freak psy world x)
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hi my freind...at first i want to give yaniv some "staying behind him" cause i only can give him 100 points to his article...i joined the psy-trance scene from that point where it was going commercial, for about 4 years...and for that i already was also in munich/germany, where the one and another wonder in the past let the people follow with the music and the art to that city, where u are able to spread your art and your products into world in a very clean way,yes...but u all know that music in general is not selling anymore like for 10 years, and especially psy-trance, i mean, this is a completely nu music...i just want to leave an idea: WHY WE ALL DONT MEET; TALK AND MAKE ONE BIG 2 WEEKS FESTIVAL IN THE YEAR AND EVERYTIME IN THAT COUNTRYS AT FIRST WHERE DIS MUSIC IS LISTENED TO?????....i know thats crazy and it is sad about all the different super names of all that nice festivals...but please, i bet u all only to think about....just for setting finally a point where we can put restart for the labels,the distributions,the artists,the scene,the culture, the lifestyle, the art, the music, the djs, the gastro, the spirit and THE RIGHT...!!!
...just to know that i really love this music, i love it so much that i am gonna produce that...
i am very crazy guy, but there is hope :-)
cya soon
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Well. All the facts here are pretty much 100% true.
But let me tell u tht, this is not just happening in our scene only. If you see the number of the cd falls in the highly commercial areas like hip hop, pop etc. u'd be shocked. The only thing is tht our sales are incomparably lower than theirs. So the ratio is also the same. We get affected more because we dont even sell 1/8th of wat they do. Otherwise its the same phenonmenon happenin all over!

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