Is Spinnin’ Just Stealin’? Or Is EDM Broken?

Normally I keep my mouth shut. I stay out of the Beatport Top 100 argument, and I try not to bash on producers / DJ’s for their work… but this pushed me over the edge.

First off, people get called out.

We all remember “Animals” by Martin Garrix. If you don’t, you should… because it hit the #1 spot on Beatport. And then most of us probably remember him being called out for “stealing” the drop from such tracks as “Epic” or even Busta Rhymes‘ “What It Is Right Now.” Some even called him out for using a dreaded “ghost producer.” Martin responded by doing a live broadcast showing his FL Studio project files of the track and saving face in the process.

Martin may have saved face, but there are other artists who seem to give ZERO FUCKS. The most famous example would be will.i.am completely ripping off the very talented producers Arty and Mat Zo. Not that he had any to begin with, but will.i.am lost any credibility he may have had because of that. Not to mention he kinda sucks as a DJ. And a person. But hey what do I know right? Ughh. But let’s get to the most recent show of mad steals going on in the EDM world.

Too good too soon?

Danny Avila, who from what I understand already has a “my dad knows people” past, has been releasing a lot of music lately. However, unlike most DJ’s, he somehow skipped the whole “sucking at producing” phase and just got signed to a big label. That label is Spinnin (and Musical Freedom before that). Now don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for Spinnin. They put out some great music and they are a common sight in the Beatport Top 100, but recent events have cast some shady light on what would otherwise be a very respectable label.

I was browsing Soundcloud and doing my normal routine of listening to tracks to discover new music. For most of us, this is a journey of musical discovery and a bright point in our day… but not when this shit hit me. At first, I thought “Rasta Funk” by Danny Avila was just that Beatport Top 100 sound cut up in a different way and served by Spinnin to the public. You know, they just take his name and toss it on their label and as long as it sounds remotely good it will make them money right? Boom. Beatport Top 100. HOWEVER, about halfway through the track I heard an all too familiar chord progression from a track I personally love (in a guilty pleasure sort of way). We all know that track as Cannonball by Showtek & Justin Prime.

This is where shit gets odd…

I put this video together real quick to show you what I am talking about. The video plays one section of each song before playing the two tracks simultaneously over the top of one another. Seriously. What the fuck.

Now keep in mind I am not saying that this track is bad, or that Danny A is a cheatin little son of a bitch, but what I am saying is that there is without a doubt similarities between his most recent release and numerous other Showtek tracks (or just about any progressive house track from the last couple months). It bothered me just a bit. But hey, I love W&W’s stuff and I get a lot of people telling me all their stuff sounds the same. I honestly don’t care. I like that style, so I don’t mind all their music sounding similar. BUT! When we’re talking about W&W, It’s all coming from one artist. Danny can’t just one day sound almost identical to Showtek, that’s not cool, or can he? According to this article Danny’s biggest production influence is SKRILLEX. Are you kidding me? Like “fuck your face” dubstep is your influence for your recent string of progressive house tracks? Where does that come through in his productions?

But wait, there’s more…

So that shit made me mad, but like I said I am not one to usually complain. So whatever. I move on down my soundcloud stream to the next track. Project T by Dimitri and… wait it’s not “by”… it’s a glorified mashup. Yup. Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike “vs” Sander Van Doorn. Now I have MAD respect for Van Doorn, and I can’t ignore the chart topping tunes of Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike… but this track made me lose my shit… again. You see, I’m also a huge fan of The XX, and I was even lucky enough to see them live a few months back. I have romantic memories of their songs, and have fallen asleep listening to their albums. So when I heard “Intro” just sped up and turned into a progressive house banger, I was confused.Maybe they advertise it as a remake? I didn’t see any writers credit for the XX though… I was so confused that I tossed another video together to show you what I’m talking about:

DimitriVegasLikeMikeSanderVanDoorn… Stop. It’s just a glorified XX mashup.

See what I mean? So, does every Spinnin artist just take elements of other music and rip it off? Or is that just the current state of EDM? Is there some “progressive house bubble” that is going to burst and we can all go back to finding inspired sounding releases again? I mean there are PLENTY of artists making unique tracks out there. Most notably in my mind is The M Machine. Those guys fucking rock. And there’s not a lot of music out there like them. And please remember that this little rant is not meant to bash any artists. It is just me being annoyed on a weeknight. But I’ll end with this:

Is Spinnin’ just stealin’? Or is the whole EDM machine just broken? Let me know what you think. And don’t hold back. Clearly I didn’t.

Next: How to hack beatport: buy your way into the top 10

 

Chase
A multi-talented member of the OTB team, Chase currently resides in the Music City (aka Nashville, TN) and is responsible for videography, photography, graphic design, and the occasional post. Originally from the Bay area (a huge 49er's fan), Chase is also one of those annoying musicians who can play any instrument, really really well...
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