Beatport charts gone crazy? Rumours of a new genre? Read on…

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So Toolroom have worked out a killer strategy for dominating the Beatport charts – bundle 20-40 tracks into a compilation and sell them for a reduced price.

(side note: supposedly this isn’t the first time they’ve employed ‘creative’ tactics to chart their tracks, crafty lot they are!)

If you look at their recent Miami sampler they were selling 40 tracks for $20 – that’s 50c per track instead of $1.99.  The “Toolroom Selector” compilations slash prices to less than $1 a track too.  From the artists’ perspective, this means about 15c-30c per track – assuming Toolroom gets  the usual cut from Beatport, but I suspect they’re able to negotiate something better than the standard 60/40 split.

In these compilations they are often selling their back catalogue along with other licensed tracks, so the hefty price cut doesnt seem as crazy considering that.  Bundling popular new and old tracks together from almost any label and selling them cheap under the Toolroom flag is a very clever marketing technique.  Ok, they need to sell 2-4 times as many tracks to make the same money, but the added exposure and wow factor they get for dominating the charts with their Toolroom brand is certainly worth risking some profits for.

BUT, if you’re not on the Toolroom payroll then I can imagine this is pretty damn frustrating.  Take a look at four of the genre charts…

A whopping 62% of the tracks are Toolroom (80% if you dont include deep house).  Now, there are some in there that are great tracks fitting nicely into the genre (the Maya Jane Coles “Humming” that was licensed to Toolroom for example) but a lot of purists are arguing that the Toolroom stuff is not tech house, or techno, or progressive.  This stuff wouldnt get dropped at any of the tech house events I go to (could you see Jamie Jones, Seth Troxler, or Martin Buttrich playing any of it?) and neither at a progressive Hernan Cattaneo or Digweed event.  A disgruntled Darius Syrossian (of VIVa music) pointed out that if Toolroom hadnt released these compilations he would have been 5th in the Tech House charts instead of twenty-something – a bit annoying if you dont consider the Toolroom stuff to even be tech house.

So, what is it?  It is obviously popular, and there was a lot of it around during Ultrafest in Miami this year.  Well, rumour has it that Beatport will be starting a new genre soon for music such as this.  The kind of tracks that are too melodic for tech house and techno, but too song-structured and thumping for progressive.  And I think it is a damn good idea that will make a lot of people happy.  Here’s a good example of a track that falls into this category:

With regards to the cut-price compilations I have no idea what will happen. Should a 50c track from a compilation be given the same weighting in the charts as a $1.99 release?  I dont think so – the buyer has only invested quarter as much in it, so why should they count equally?  Maybe a system where releases on a compilation that retail for less than 1$ each are worth half a sale when it comes to the charts?  That would be easy enough to implement and would prevent the chart debacle we’re currently witnessing.  Hats off to Toolroom, but I would imagine Beatport will put a stop to this soon.

So keep your eyes peeled for the new ‘Progno’ genre over the coming months.  I’m sure this will spark celebrations for all the genre purists championing the underground sound, and a similar response from DJs who like the uplifting, techy, mainstage beats that are doing so well at the moment.  Good times all round!

P.s. Anyone fancy hazarding a guess as to how many sales it takes to get into the Top Ten of the genre charts? Correct answer wins a prize!😉

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  1. #1 by liestch vitz on April 7, 2011 - 12:53 pm

    110 sales to go in to the Top 10? and perhaps it is not just the tracks that are being bundled, yes?

    • #2 by Donald Wilborn on June 14, 2011 - 2:23 am

      I think they REALLY need to have a seperate Top Downloads chart for Compilations… I mean there are some labels that release a 20-35 track compilation EVERY OTHER DAY! Most using the same overplayed tracks again and again and again!!! Its frustrating for new labels with quality releases that are NOT flooding the market with “Top 20-July 2011” compilations…

  2. #3 by ANDY on April 7, 2011 - 5:19 pm

    over 300 tracks to get into the top 10 i heard on Beatport. This mite be wrong.

  3. #4 by AnonymousCommenter on April 7, 2011 - 5:52 pm

    The “Past Dreaming” track sounds like any other House track. lmao @ “new genre”.

    Whatever I guess.

  4. #5 by Ricky lee on April 7, 2011 - 8:30 pm

    my friend had a track in the top ten for 2 weeks and that had sold 4 thousand units, depends on which top ten, and also how long its in the chart for,
    anyway i agree with this, and i think Toolroom have shot themselevs in the foot with this, and lost alot of credibility, they are making a joke out of how people buy music, and since beatport has the monopoly, its not fair on the music buying public like us, ok so im only a bedroom dj, but i still want to be able to look for music without having toolroom stuff shoved down my throat! great article.

  5. #6 by dre on April 7, 2011 - 8:54 pm

    How many sales to get into the top ten? More than all except for at most the top 9😉

  6. #7 by Ledwerk on April 7, 2011 - 9:46 pm

    Just call it Shit.

  7. #8 by bobby on April 7, 2011 - 11:10 pm

    Any track that sells over 1000 units now is almost guaranteed to be in a monthly top toe chart (for a genre). Sales for even really well known artists are generally astonishingly low compared to even 2-3 years ago. The odd one breaks through but the vast majority don’t.

  8. #9 by Phil Lewis on April 8, 2011 - 3:49 am

    Who gives a sh!t whether a track it makes it into the top ten? I don’t buy music because its in the top 10. Never have, never will! It’s either a good tune that fits my musical styles and needs or it ain’t and I won’t buy stuff I consider crap, no matter how much it climbs in the charts.

    Part of the fascination with underground electronic music is finding really good music that isn’t charting. Its the search, the find, and the ability to put it all together into a great mix that nakes it. The possibility that Beatport or the labels may be manipulating sales to dominate the charts should come as no surprise, this is the music industry afterall, the’re hardly known for their generally ethical behavior over the long haul.

    New genres come and go that some bright spark has thunk to bring two part names together to to form up what they consider a new genre is not new. go look at ishtar music history site its been going on for years the last big one we got was probably minimal. A bunch of essentially talentless no name producers found a simple musical style to cut their teeth on and produce total crap. they since moved on to destroy Electro Tech House Techno and now Dubstep. They have just as little talent today as they did before, they fact it charts just shows that the music industry still suffers from a good deal of emperors new clothes syndrome, a little hype and we get all caught up in the new stuff.

  9. #10 by Ibiza_PR on April 8, 2011 - 11:03 am

    An interesting point of view you have on this but if you look deeper into Beatport you will see thousands of labels all doing the same compiling compilations from new unreleased tracks, licensed tracks and old catalogue, most of them have to do this to survive, although not many of them have as many new tracks and put as much promotion into them as some of the main labels out there, such as Toolroom, Defected, Size etc who focus predominantly on new unreleased tracks and most of them aren’t as successful. Also if you know how most of these albums sell then you will know the majority of sales are not the full compilation at 11.99 or whatever it is but actually single sales, initially full album sales will push alot of these tracks into the charts but they won’t stay there if they are not being purchased as singles also. So the buyer is paying the usual price for the track and picking what tracks they actually like from a compilation, not just buying ‘cut price’ tracks as you say. I think that the majority of these albums are great products meaning many DJs can access a wide selection of tracks for their sets in one place, at the end of the day if the product isn’t any good or is being sold in a ‘crafty’ way it won’t stay in the charts for long! The quality speaks for itself, thats what the charts show. Maybe there should be an album chart on Beatport for these compilations to go in, but I think you will still find alot of the tracks from them still going in to the main charts as the majority of sales on alot of them are from individual track sales.
    P.S The new genre rumour is hilarious!

    • #11 by lostinmusik on April 8, 2011 - 1:44 pm

      Thanks for the in depth reply. You make some great points, and I agree that everyone does the compilation thing, just Toolroom often does things best, which I why I focused on them.
      I understand that not all the sales are from people purchasing the compilation, some are for individual tracks, but I think the lure of getting 40 good tracks for the same price as 10 will have yielded a lot of compilation sales. Also, the charts have been very static compared to normal suggesting higher volumes of a lot of these tracks being sold that other singles releases cant compete with. I dont have Toolroom’s sales figures though, so you must forgive the speculation.
      There is no question of the quality of the tracks – they obviously have mass appeal. I just feel the chart positions may be inflated as a result of price cuts in compilations. An album chart would be a good idea, but I feel working on a revenue rather than unit-based system would give a better representation.
      Again, thanks for your informed reply.

  10. #12 by lostinmusik on April 8, 2011 - 1:53 pm

    A lot of people have voiced their contempt for the charts here and on the forums. How ‘no DJ worth his salt buys a track from a chart’, but I think they are missing the point.

    From the point of producers, having a track charted firstly boosts sales considerably (if the track is good enough) and secondly converts to better gigs and hence a bigger wage.

    DJs might like digging around for releases that barely saw the light of day, but if the track is great does it not deserve to be in the charts? If enough DJs happen across an amazing track then it will be. It is no longer all about the music – there is a lot of good music – it’s about who can get themselves noticed, which is an exercise in marketing.

    I’m not complaining, it is just how things are. But I think people should respect the charts for the power they have.

  11. #13 by Ricky lee on April 8, 2011 - 3:25 pm

    great words Lostinmusik, i agree, people are missing the point and only looking at it from a dj buying perspective, and not a producers perspective, remeber some producers have sacrificed other careers to do this abd all they see is people downloading the music they made for free or their release being lost on beatport becuase of these compilations, they have to earn a living after all,

    i agree with every word you have said Lostinmusik

    im friends with a dj from London who im not going to name, and hes signed to a pretty good label, and he is not happy to say the least about all this, beatport needs to do something about it

    • #14 by lostinmusik on April 8, 2011 - 6:42 pm

      Thanks for the kind words, good to know a few people out there feel the same way🙂

  12. #15 by Ibiza_PR on April 8, 2011 - 4:35 pm

    Thanks for your reply, I agree with alot of what you are saying, i guess its like many things that become successful also bring out ‘haters’ or just people moaning that there success may stifle the progress of others, with regards to the charts and DJs digging for stuff, as an avid music buyer and bedroom DJ i can say thats half the fun, trying to find that gem before everyone else, but if its a good track then it will eventually find its ways to the masses, either crossover or underground, of which the record should not then become hated by the people who loved it in the first place simply because it now has success, they should be proud of finding and supporting it early! My own opinion is often that people should just focus on working hard and sticking to what they believe, this will always bring out the best eventually.

    • #16 by lostinmusik on April 8, 2011 - 6:49 pm

      You know that is the big thing I miss about vinyl – the ritual of digging through endless record bins to find those nuggets of gold. Both easier and harder to do these days – not having to move from your chair, but having to wade through a sea of mediocrity. And I think hating things for getting in the charts is probably DJ’s egos getting in the way of appreciating good music.
      Couldn’t agree with your last statement more – stay true to yourself, give 100%, and life will be good. Cheers.

  13. #17 by Ricky lee on April 8, 2011 - 10:23 pm

    wow, Lostinmusik for president!

  14. #18 by shaun Fenton on April 9, 2011 - 3:22 pm

    totally agree that this is wrong!

    we the music buying public are being ripped off, we don’t want things forced down our throats, and i for one DO like to see whats in the charts, as an old vinyl buyer, i used to love looking in the dmc update charts and then go looking for the vinyls, why shouldn’t we look in charts? and Syrossian does have a right to be disgruntled, the difference between being in the top 10 and top 20 is huge when it comes to sales, as alot of people actually do only look in the top ten, producers are already being hit with the fact that everyone is downloading their music for free, they dont need this on top of it
    Toolroom have lost alot of respect in my book with this, i wouldn’t have a problem with them doing compilations, my beef is that they are filing stuff that IS NOT tech house, in tech house! and people buy it regardless because for toolroom fans it comes up in their fav labels list anyway, so it is affecting us the music buying public when they fill up the charts with this stuff

  15. #19 by flo on April 12, 2011 - 7:28 am

    top statement man ;-]

    and our answer is: arround 1000 sales are getting into the top 10 ;-]

  16. #20 by The label on April 12, 2011 - 9:33 am

    Beatport could not care less. I have been on Beatport sinde 2004 with my label and even though we do pretty well when we contact Beatport to ask them if we can do a remix competition etc. the answer is always “no we do not do such things with labels” where after they do it with some big shot label. Beatport is backing up the big labels and artists and shit on those who are “too underground”! They manipulate with the charts to boost their label friends sales. They make up individual rules for those labels they prioritize. The sky is not the limit for those labels and artists on Beatport.

    The revolution has to come from the labels, DJs and music lovers who but the music. Tell Beatport enough is enough! Find your music in other shops that has the same music many times at a lower price.

  17. #21 by mark on April 12, 2011 - 8:54 pm

    I heard that Beatport charts are based of dollar amount sales, not sales by volume. That means that these compilations are selling WAAAY more than 1000 copies to get into the top 10s. My guess is they are selling at least 5-10k units of these comps, while with a typical single release about 1000 (on a normal week) within the first 10 days or so of release would be enough to get it on the top.

    • #22 by lostinmusik on April 12, 2011 - 10:27 pm

      Just had it confirmed that charts are unit based – so seems they’re not shifting insane volumes of tracks, thankfully!🙂

  18. #23 by lostinmusik on April 12, 2011 - 9:55 pm

    Thanks for the comments guys and girls.

    I cant really say whether Beatport is evil and planning Toolroom domination of the world, but cold fact is that from a business point of view if something boosts sales (and hence their slices of the pie) then it is hard for them to change it. They have pushed hard for labels to do the ‘exclusive’ though which is quite predatory and is key to the monopoly we see Beatport has. Still, it’s good business!

    I feel I’ve been a bit too biased towards Beatport recently, I’ll be correcting this soon with a bit of Juno love. I’m hoping something like this might eventually swing the balance of power away from Beatport as they turn into a glorified iTunes. But the fact of the matter is Beatport trumps all music sites in terms of usability, except for this current chart pickle.

    Mark: I’m looking into that at the moment – I find it hard to believe they are selling that number of units, but you may be right, we’ll see!

  19. #24 by Lia on April 13, 2011 - 4:26 pm

    What people play

  20. #25 by omgdrunkenrussiandjpppoopeyissogood on April 15, 2011 - 2:03 pm

    I don’t know kids DJ PP’s Drunken Russian is like OMG the best track I have ever heard in my life, it just ughhh it just liek totaly makes me feel so alive and i dont know liek OMG i just love the people singing in it and the bass is omg leik ive never heard such a bass and forgive me i just ughh it just ughhh fudge it touches me so deeply and passionately because the girl singing in russian i love it as an american because really i dont know how to speak russian even though its in finnish and thats why i love it so much liek omg i call it my baby liek i love how there is just this snare sound and the russian and then omg the bass comes in and thats when i poopey and ughh well i poot at the same time because when bass hits it just makes me do that i just cant control it you know it just comes out because this track is that good, . . .this track shits on everything else liek omg dont you guys agree with me .. liek toolroom is the best omg toolroom foreverz and everz and orz
    liek all i want to do is liek dance to russian woman singing finnish and a guy singing buh buh buh over a snare and thats it its so amazing no wonder its top ten on beatport everyone liek loves it just like me we are special omgzorz zzz omg omg liek omg liek buy it now liek now i say do it be like me and all my friendz orz

    • #26 by omgdrunkenrussiandjpppoopeyissogood on April 15, 2011 - 2:11 pm

      omg kidz omg kidz liek i just checked over at the house music authority youtube where you know if a song is good or not and liek this totally is a good song because it has over 60,000 views in a month liek that means automatically best song ever liek omg dont you all agree this is the new generation of house it probably took liek years and years to write a track liek this i will never be able to do it liek i just couldnt with the amount of work it sounds liek i dont know if ill ever be able to make a song as good as this liek who came up with the idea to sing in russian liek even though its in finnish i know LOL guys right i know liek its part of the game of the song liek dont you know liek thats how it is and liek youtube lets you know that because 60000 views liek that means this is a true house classic omg please let every house song forever and ever be a remix of this because omg me and my friendz and everyone in the clubz liek all the cool people are listening to this liek i dont know if its as good as lady gaga or kesha or j lo’s new track but liek to me they are equal liek this one tiny bit better because russian = best song ever liek dont you all agree with me my peeps lets all dance to this song this is true house
      -a toolroom fanzorz omg liek no “TRUE” househead for real no games real househead here

  21. #27 by Ryan Adcock on April 15, 2011 - 4:40 pm

    ok time to be a bit more serious

    i thin those who don’t like to buy from beatport charts are not real music fans, they are just people who only dj because they wanna like something nobody else has heard it’s nothing to do with music

    for those of us who do care about the charts, THEN WE ARE ANNOYED THAT THE CHARTS ARE FILLED WITH THIS TOOLROOM GARBAGE!!! please toolroom file your stuff in the correct genre, you have made a mess of tech house and other charts,

    what your releasing is generic house for the masses, and the tech house charts used to be full of amazing tracks by jamie jones, guti, seth troxler, maya jane, Nick Curly, Samuel L.Session, Darius Syrossian, Livio & roby,

    and now???

    what is it now?

    it is filled with this wonky toolroom rubbish, please please please file it somewhere else! i personally don’t even mind compilations being charted, i just like things to be charted in the correct genre, although a compilation chart would be ideal as well.

    • #28 by lostinmusik on April 17, 2011 - 8:19 pm

      Haha, I like your take on DJs that dont buy from charts – I guess if you take it to the extreme then if a track is for sale then it isnt “cool” enough to play because the coolest DJs only play promos.

      I cant agree that the Toolroom stuff is rubbish because I do like some of it. But I can see how it frustrates those looking for music from the great artists you mentioned (myself included).

      For tech house I think the rule should be: if it wouldnt be played in the same set as at least a couple of those artists you listed then it shouldnt be in that genre.

  22. #29 by Joel on April 20, 2011 - 8:53 pm

    i stopped going to beatport…now use http://www.traxsource.com

    • #30 by lostinmusik on April 20, 2011 - 8:55 pm

      We love traxsource too! Great for quality house music🙂

    • #31 by john acosta on September 21, 2012 - 8:42 am

      Traxsource fo life!

  23. #32 by Frankie Fingers on April 21, 2011 - 12:47 pm

    It’s true, BP now sucks bigtime, for the last 6 months or so I have been finding amazing music at Traxsource.com. When I play out djs are always asking me what this or that is, cause they all play the same shit from the bp top 10.

    I shouldn’t really be telling you this cause soon Traxsource will have the same problem but fug it.

    • #33 by imsanenow on April 21, 2011 - 6:32 pm

      Hey man are you joking as in you don’t want Traxsource to go down the same path, or is something really going on with them as well?

      I am in the same boat as alot of you, I supported Beatport from the beginning, I mean I won’t say I was there the day they started, but Ive been supporting them for I’d say a good 4-5 years, the last 2-3 a big big supporter, I mean they basically made me what I am you know? All my music life was surrounded, based on them. . . I do not dj, but I am an aspiring producer and really they were my life..
      Then I found out supposedly they take either 40-50% of the sale of a track and that blew me up . . I can’t imagine these guys are sleeping in tents you know I’m sure they could give back a little more and still be sitting pretty . .

      check out whatpeopleplay.com that’s a new one I started checking out, Traxsource is cool as well I notice it’s more about soul-ful vocal house which I am not really feeling, but there are definitely some jewels in there . .

      I would love to hear what sites other people use because it is very sad that Beatport is doing this . . They are literally controlling the music scene . .

      • #34 by Frankie Fingers on April 21, 2011 - 8:02 pm

        Yo… I mean, if tell all yall about traxsource they will get popular like bp and have the same problems everyone is moaning about.

        As for them being soulful – see thats what everyone thinks but its not that way at all. i play strictly underground deep and nu disco and some tech and the shit im getting there is dope. just go past the home page cuzzy

  24. #35 by imalittlemoresanenowjustalittle on April 24, 2011 - 2:59 am

    will definitely check it out man . . i know it’s wrong to label a whole site as such i meant simply the top charts on traxsource seem to cater to soul-ful, i will definitely check out the sub-pages . . .

  25. #36 by EvilAsh on April 29, 2011 - 8:05 am

    I definitely think the chart domination of Toolroom and such labels are annoying, but the thing is that I rarely check the top ten anymore, because I rarely find ONE track there that is interesting/appealing to me. Yeah, sure, the productions are good and well-crafted, but I can’t really help that I find a lot of these songs (not all) generic and a tad bit boring. But hey, we who actually are aware of this chart-domination/marketing strategy should see the positive side of all this. We are the ones who dig for the unspotted gold, and play the music we really love (not because other people buy it.. not saying that all people do this but you get the point) When we’re playing out there for the crowds, we are really sharing and caring by giving away those hidden treasures, and that makes you and me stand out from the rest. Let the chart-people do their thing and we’ll just start digging for those diamonds. It’s a dirty job, but the reward is awesome tracks that people will open their eyes too.

    House4Life😀

  26. #37 by Ryan Adcock on May 23, 2011 - 11:04 am

    evil ash, what you just said sounds great and romantic, but you missing the point mate, REAL artists, who make REAL music are not being able to make a living from this, and the more they give up and stop making this, the more mediocre bedroom djs make loopy house and leave us with that as music on the market!
    its not about djs playing RARE music, you play it cos its rare? but good?
    so this person has made a good track and its rare and you like that?
    WHAT DO YOU THINK HE FEELS??? THAT HES MADE A GOOD TRACK BUT NOBODY KNOWS ABOUT IT COS TOOLROOM HAVE GOT IN THE WAY WITH ELECTRO ANTHEM NUMBER 85 OF THE MONTH??

  27. #38 by Joel Xavier on May 26, 2011 - 9:21 am

    Progno is an awful name – this music like Toolroom release etc is simply ‘BIG ROOM’ house.

    that is all😉

  28. #39 by Ibiza_PR on June 1, 2011 - 4:27 pm

    This is a very interesting subject and debate you are all obviously passionate about, but i think putting the blame on one download site and one label is a bit ridiculous. These guys aren’t monopolising the scene and telling people what to buy or play, if their is a demand for something then it will sell, its the same in any business not just music! Ok alot of music is getting mixed up in the genres but if you look at Beatport right from the start they have been limited with their genre pages, progressive house is not progressive anymore, and tech house has manipulated into a much wider sound, but this is also because the sounds have changed over the years, with many genres becoming the cool sound of the season, then moving on to the next, also genres becoming much closer to other, it wasn’t that many years ago that the sound you all call Tech House, was just in House! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning it but I don’t think its as clear cut as alot of you think. Maybe as some of you say, there should be a genre for Big Room or something alternative, but at the end of the day what people buy will move into the main charts and chart high, thats what a chart is and a reflection of what is happening in the scene with the majority.

  29. #40 by Mr know it on October 1, 2011 - 12:06 am

    Commercial shite? guess you have to sell about 50 t racks to get a number one on shiteport. Goddamn to think the rave/club scene came to this..

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