With the world’s music sales migrating from physical delivery to digital, the dance music industry is following suit. Existing online music retailers like iTunes and Amazon rarely make dance songs purchasable until long after their period of peak popularity, an approach that has disenchanted fans and damaged the industry's sales, growth and esteem in America. Masterbeat.com founders Brett Henrichsen and Hosh Gureli are stepping in, saying the industry requires the brand-name cache of a single, unifying online music retailer.
Henrichsen and Gureli are harnessing years of experience as a revered club DJ (Henrichsen) and record label A&R exec (Gureli) – plus years of frustration in trying to find their favorite beats – to create the concept of Masterbeat.com. They hope that by finally placing the music in the grasp of fans – and control of its release firmly in the hands of record labels – Masterbeat.com will reinvigorate the dance music industry in America. Clubplanet sat with the two masterminds behind Masterbeat.com to grill them on their new venture.
Clubplanet: Let’s start with the obvious question: why does dance and electronica need its own iTunes?
Gureli: There is currently no central music site that caters to all genres of dance and electronica. Existing online music retailers like iTunes sell everything and specialize in nothing.
Henrichsen: That’s it in a nutshell. iTunes is busy selling movies and audio books. Dance and electronica is a genre that requires special attention.
CP: Why haven’t the major music retailers shown love to dance and electronica?
Henrichsen: iTunes and Amazon are the Wal-Mart of music—they offer a huge selection at low prices and are aimed at the general consumer. Masterbeat.com is like Nordstrom: a high-end specialty retailer catering to loyal and passionate customers who want the best along with items they can’t find at the big chain.
Gureli: iTunes and Amazon are superstores selling everything they possibly could sell. Dance and electronica are not big revenue makers; therefore, the resources devoted to the genre are minimal.
CP: What is Masterbeat doing that iTunes and Amazon are not doing?
Gureli: We work closely with the labels to bring all of the unreleased mixes that are out there to the consumer legally. Masterbeat.com is the place to find the hit you just heard on radio or at the club.
Henrichsen: There are literally hundreds of thousands of dance titles and mixes that iTunes and Amazon do not carry. Masterbeat.com is bringing great remixes and dance music to the forefront. In addition to commercial mixes, we’re offering the remixes major labels used to only release to DJs for promotional purposes.
CP: But will Masterbeat be able to compete against illegal downloads?
Henrichsen: There will always be the illegal sites, but we believe people don’t mind paying for music—they just want to be able to find it. If fans know there is one place to get everything they’re looking for, we’re certain they will go there.
Gureli: Masterbeat.com is a central destination that is easy to use and we have much higher quality downloads than the file-sharing sites. Time management affects us all and if you know that Masterbeat.com has what you are looking for, chances are you will come to us rather than spend a ton of time looking on other sites where you risk getting a virus.
CP: Are DJs able to upload their remixes or must all uploads come from the labels?
Gureli: Masterbeat.com has come up with a business model where non-commissioned remixes can be posted for sale. We are careful about maintaining a high standard, however, so only professional remixers with superior content will be able to upload their tracks.
CP: Who are some of the leading artists on Masterbeat right now?
Gureli: Jonathan Peters, Johnny Vicious, Junior Vasquez, and Erin Hamilton are some of the current favorites.
CP: What are some of today’s hottest records that are only available on Masterbeat.com?
Henrichsen: Jonathan Peters is on fire right now with “Alright.” Erin Hamilton’s new mixes of “The Flame” is also a top seller as are Crystal Waters vs. Speakerbox’s “DanceFloor” and Veronica’s new jam, “The Way He Makes Me Feel.”
CP: What has been the #1 download?
Henrichsen: Kristine W’s “The Boss.”
CP: Will access to the music revitalize the dance and electronica industry in America?
Gureli: Absolutely! It is already happening. David Guetta’s “Love is Gone” is enjoying tremendous sales on Masterbeat.com and is now getting airplay on radio. Miami’s Power 96 picked up it first and now it is on rotation at Z100 in New York.
CP: What’s ahead for Masterbeat.com?
Henrichsen: A lot. Only about 50% of the planned features are functional right now. The rest is coming over the next couple of months.
For more information, visit Masterbeat.com.