2016 – Downfall of Oliver Heldens?
2014 saw the explosion of Oliver Heldens on the main stage. His hit track, Koala, released in August of that year, turned the 18 year old producer into a household name. With him, he brought his chosen genre, Future House, to the limeline. It’s easy to see why. Between his underground street cred, quirky snapchat feed, goofy accent, catchy tunes, and young age that appeals to the fastest growing segment of the EDM fanbase what’s not to like? Is he he still “bringing the underground to the main stage?”
— TCHAMI (@iamTchami) September 24, 2014
Still others have suspected that the overwhelming majority of his latest tracks are ghost produced (I’ve heard the name Martin Vorwerk mentioned in insider circles on more than one occasion). These types of suspicions aren’t without warrant. His label, Spinnin’ Records, has been a magnet for ghost producer scandalsin years past.
If it’s all true, if Oliver Heldens is really just a marketing gimmick, that begs the question: How sustainable is a young, charismatic DJ with an expensive production and marketing team? What is the half-life of the commercialized production machine? Is this just another one-hit-wonder? One of our other writers optimistically predicted that the trend of over-commercialized, ghost-produced music would begin to decline in 2016 (see #2). If Oliver Heldens is a symbol of such practices, then the data seems to support this trend.
Let’s Look at the Numbers
One publicly available statistic I like to track is the play counts of each episode of his radio show, Heldeep Radio. I tossed out samples where he had guest mixes or live sets on festival stages, then plotted out his listenership in the graph above. It’s important to note that episodes 1 through 31, where you can see his listenership growing all occurred in 2014. He seems to have peaked early in 2015, and then began his slide.
I’d argue that one contributing factor might be that he’s stretched himself too thin. Between his Alias, Hi-Lo, starting his own record label, all while maintaining a very healthy touring schedule might have taken his eye off the prize. At any rate, if he doesn’t step up his game, Oliver Heldens may be making room for other up and coming artists to have their fifteen minutes. What do you think? Be sure to reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!