Ultra Records proclaims itself as the worlds leading independent dance label. The key word independent seems a bit blurry with their recent announcement to team up with label giant Sony Music. As dance tunes climb up the Billboard charts and radio sounds a bit more club-like, major labels seem to be doing all they can to have control.
The partnership as announced today gives Ultra boss Patrick Moxey a new title at Sony Music as ‘President of Dance Music’. It’s not exactly clear how this groups Ultra under the Sony Music umbrella but is surely gives them direct access to artists on major imprints such as RCA Records, Columbia Records, and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. From what Moxey describes as ‘seamless service’ for their artist surley means we will see producers like Aoki, Deadmau5, and Benassi doing some high end remix treatment for Sony stars. These Djs are now joining the likes of people like Chris Brown, Aerosmith, and the late Michael Jackson (I know Brown doesn’t measure up to the other two).
This seems like just another step in the expansion of dance and furthering the distance from the bottom to the top. While less than 10 years ago dance gods like John Digweed would saunter into abandoned warehouses carrying a crate, now producers travel with teams of 80 helpers and 2 tractor trailers. Every second it gets harder for the young bedroom producer to make it to the main stage. Where fame used to be found deep in a web forum or a grungy underground club is now seen on a Vegas Marquee or Superbowl Commercial. This party has gotten way bigger than anyone’s wildest dream, and I don’t think anyone can tell whats next.