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How A Company That Didn't "Get" Dance Music Ruined Beatport

A new story paints a cautionary tale for corporations trying to interact with dance music communities.

This well-researched and definitive feature on online dance music retailer Beatport, which was penned and published by our friends at VICE’s Thump site, is a must-read for all members of the dance music community.

The piece tells the story of the startup’s launch in 2004, its growth in conjunction with the EDM boom, its acquisition by live events monolith SFX Entertainment and its eventual demise at the hands of its new corporate overlords. SFX declared bankruptcy earlier this year and Beatport laid off half its staff. With input from industry folk and early Beatport employees—including co-founder and CEO Jonas Tempel—Thump’s Jemayel Khawaja’s article is a warning to outside investors looking to make a quick buck on a hot cultural trend by expanding a company’s simple function into new territories in an attempt to entice broader audiences.

“It’s easy to view the fall of SFX as a cautionary tale about the danger of a subculture being commodified, but the debacle can just as easily be seen as a lesson for the corporate world about the obstinance of outsider communities,” wrote Khawaja. “For all its attempts to connect with a new generation of dance music lovers, SFX never connected with the dance floor lifers at the genre’s core.” Find out more by reading the whole story over at Thump.

For more food for thought: Here’s a story about how Playboy is ditching naked ladies for streaming music. And here’s an only tenuously related article that explains why Bandcamp is better than Spotify and other streaming services.