Trance label ownership

Propeller

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Don't know the exact stats but I would guess that Armada and Black Hole own at least 50% of all trance labels out there. Certainly labels that were once independent or big enough to exist on their own, like Perfecto, Coldharbour and maybe Pure Trance are owned by the above two. What's the point of this, and how did it happen? Has Pure Trance always been owned by Black Hole, and if not why would Solarstone relinquish ownership when he's capable of running a label on his own??
 

Magnevi

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What's the point? Pure marketing. It's connected with DJ gig's too, it's not just about releasing music.

Armin's ASOT wants big names on their festivals. So why not make contracts saying: You must release music exlusively on Armada (or sublabels), and then you will play on Tomorrowland and ASOT events, Armin will continue support on your releases.

This way Armin's ASOT has the whole trance scene in a tight grip, and can precisely make it move just the way they want. No competitor that can "challenge" Armin, since all potential challengers get onboard and will be marketed as "big", but not that big ;)

Another example: Trance Energy stopped after 2010/2011 (in 2011 it was called Energy, with more house/edm, but it still failed). Was this purely a move by ID&T to stop with their brand Trance Energy? Or were they forced by the plans created by Armin/ASOT? What choice does ID&T have, when all major trance dj's are signed exclusively to Armada, and cannot perform on Trance Energy? Just look at the roster, all these deejays would never make an apperance on Trance Energy again: Armin van Buuren, Markus Schulz, Cosmic Gate, Paul van Dyk... or newer stars like Rayel, Gareth Emery, W&W, Dash Berlin, Aly & Fila. What choice did they have? It's all marketing and business. ASOT wanted their own trance event, where they can decide everything for themselves. And that is what happened... ;)
Now Armin is guaranteed the main headliner on any mainstage. With fellow label-artists filling the rest of mainstage. Other artists can fill smaller stages...

Music businesssssss.....

This is not just Armin/ASOT though. It happens everywhere. I've also learned that huge names like Tiesto force music events to add other "talents" and put them on a big stage, and good time slot. Tiesto is known for pushing "Mike Williams", which is a youth-dj from his home town Breda. This is an excellent way of creating a star. Mike Williams is now mainstage dj right in front of Tiesto or whatever big name. So he must be good right? Hurray for a new star!

Music business..........

Also fun... track names and versions. This track for example, a EDM track on the mighty Spinnin Records. It's made by "the voyagers". Now, Spinnin said: OK, we will sign and release your track. It's good. But, your track will be called "Oliver Heldens Edit", eventhough he doesn't have anything to do with your track. But we want to promote that name, so yeah... let's go for it? And so it happened. It's called Oliver Heldens Edit, who has 0% connection with it....


Music businesssssssssssssssssssss =D
 

Propeller

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It's connected with DJ gig's too, it's not just about releasing music.
That makes sense. Most money is in DJ gigs / festivals I suppose.
So why not make contracts saying: You must release music exlusively on Armada (or sublabels), and then you will play on Tomorrowland and ASOT events
So basically a monopoly to kill off competitors
Paul van Dyk
Vandit is owned by Armada too?
Aly & Fila
But they've got their own thing going, FSOE is separate right?
Mike Williams
A typical Dutch name haha
 
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Magnevi

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Oh yeah, the names aren't accurate per se. Could be bad examples. Aly & Fila are definitely seperate with their FSOE.

As for the events it still counts though. You don't have to release music on a label to sign something like: Contract to play mainstage on ASOT events, but only if agreeing to not play on event X or Y.
 

Gagi

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why would Solarstone relinquish ownership when he's capable of running a label on his own?
I'll hold off on the bigger-picture discussion just to say this - Solarstone does manage Pure on his own, he even listens to demos and decides what will get released and what won't.

Bigger picture though, I'd bet most of them are owned by bigger corporations like Sony etc. Black Hole is owned by E1, which is owned by Hasbro. Go figure.
 
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dmgtz96

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Bigger picture though, I'd bet most of them are owned by bigger corporations like Sony etc. Black Hole is owned by E1, which is owned by Hasbro. Go figure.
LOL wtf. Spinnin' is also owned by Warner Music Group.
Yet Armada and FSOE are independent.
 

Hot Tuna

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I'm not an expert, but it's perfectly normal and has been going on for decades. I thought Pure Trance had always been a sublabel of Black Hole, AFAIK. Coldharbour was definitely always an Armada sublabel.

From the major label's perspective, they can release a hell of a lot more music than if they just had one brand/team. You simply could not release 10 tracks per week on one label. Plus it helps them to diversify their sound, particularly if they know they are teaming up with someone who knows their stuff about a particular style of music that will sell, but not necessarily the boring admin side of running a label.

So they have a figurehead at each sublabel controlling the output, and in return the major label gets a slice of the profits. From the sublabel's perspective, they have the backing of an extremely experienced team which, presumably, is a massive help when it comes to marketing, promoting, licencing, and all the other stuff behind the scenes, allowing them to go much further than if they were trying to do it alone.

Admittedly, Armada (as well as BH and others) have been buying up lots of old, defunct or struggling record labels in recent years. Sentimentally, this can feel like a bit of a shame, and lead to painfully shit remixes being released. But on the other hand, it keeps those original records available.

Perfecto has had an interesting history:

Perfecto was founded by electronic music record producer and DJ Paul Oakenfold in 1989.... The label was distributed through Warner Music through the 1990s, until Paul Oakenfold moved distribution to Mushroom UK in 1998. Following the acquisition by Warner Music of Mushroom UK, the Perfecto catalogue since 1998 transitioned to Warner Music and a couple of years later Perfecto began to operate and release independently until it became a sublabel of Armada Music in 2010.

In 2015 ... it became, after Armada, a sublabel of Black Hole Recordings.
 
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Recharge

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I'll hold off on the bigger-picture discussion just to say this - Solarstone does manage Pure on his own, he even listens to demos and decides what will get released and what won't.

Bigger picture though, I'd bet most of them are owned by bigger corporations like Sony etc. Black Hole is owned by E1, which is owned by Hasbro. Go figure.
I can confirm I had send him songs and they were listened by his profile, he is the one that decides what will be released on Pure Trance/Prog/Neon
 
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jetflag

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you can compare armada/blackhole etc. a bit to a large mall. lots of individual shops and shop owners under 1 umbrella.

has its advantages in terms of distribution, promotion, manufacturing, email lists etc.
 

marcopm

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Black Hole has many well-known sublabels (Labels | Black Hole Recordings), A LOT more than Armada, mostly trance but also of other subgenres.
Armada used to have many more trance sublabels in the past (besides their own Armind, WAF138, ASOT, etc.), now only a few remain. The only "big" inclusion in recent years is Flashover, Ferry Corsten is much more tied to Armada now than in the past. Not that it bothers me that much or anything, just an observation.

Sometimes you see some of these sublabels switch between the two (usually from Armada to BH) or become independent. I also get the impression that Black Hole gives more freedom to the sublabel owners than Armada (just speculation though).

Armada and BH are definitely the biggest umbrellas, but there are plenty of other smaller ones (a ton actually), some of them are still quite well represented on radio shows, beatport, etc. Of course they don't have the "marketing power" of the former.
However it's true that Armin always prefers to play songs released under Armada first, then maaaybe, if there's time, stuff from other labels. So it's perfectly understandable to me, from a marketing point of view, that a label wants to go under Armada or BH.
 

Exodom

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Does Trance have that many labels? I feel I only know about 10-13. Doesn't that seem small compared to most other genres? Would love to see a breakdown of all those labels available and the styles
 

marcopm

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Does Trance have that many labels? I feel I only know about 10-13. Doesn't that seem small compared to most other genres? Would love to see a breakdown of all those labels available and the styles
If we're talking about small/medium trance labels and sublabels, there are hundreds and hundreds of them (a good amount of which I'm currently following on Beatport). Take a look at the Beatport trance section to get an idea, e.g. in the "Hype" and "New releases" section.
Also about every week some new labels come up, and/or I discover some minor labels that I had never heard before, etc.
 
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Menelik JW

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From the major label's perspective, they can release a hell of a lot more music than if they just had one brand/team. You simply could not release 10 tracks per week on one label. Plus it helps them to diversify their sound, particularly if they know they are teaming up with someone who knows their stuff about a particular style of music that will sell, but not necessarily the boring admin side of running a label.

So they have a figurehead at each sublabel controlling the output, and in return the major label gets a slice of the profits. From the sublabel's perspective, they have the backing of an extremely experienced team which, presumably, is a massive help when it comes to marketing, promoting, licencing, and all the other stuff behind the scenes, allowing them to go much further than if they were trying to do it alone.
I'd say this is definitely a big part of it. With artists/DJs doing so many other things, running their own label and doing A&R becomes impossible at the same time as gigging, producing, and managing radio shows. I think one of the biggest positives is that it's given birth to a lot of labels over the last several years, which has allowed establish artists to help push rising stars as well. It's almost like "You get a label, you get a label, EVERYONE GETS A LABEL!" At first I thought it was ridiculous but its been nice okay long term.

Just look at who's on Black Hole these days: Sneijder [Afterdark], Jordan Suckley [Damaged/Purrfekt], Mark Sherry's 3 labels, Giusseppe Ottaviani [GO On Air/GO], Sean Tyas (then Activa) [Tytanium/Degenerate/Regenerate], Driftmoon had his label, Richard Durand [Reloaded], Casey Rasch [UNRSTRCTD], Will Atkinson [Victims Helpline], etc.
And judging by the compilations that come out every month, I'm certain John Askew's VII and Greg Downey's Skullduggery are BH too, as well as others I'm forgetting.

Full-ish BH list here
 
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