You may have noticed that there have been a lot of changes at Beatport lately. New services. New team members. And a whole lot of new users. In fact, nearly 10 million more new people visited the site in 2012 than in 2011.
We’ve had our heads down on a number of various projects over the last year—some of which you’ve seen the results of, others you’ll be seeing soon—but occasionally it’s good to come up for air and let you, the community, hear more about what’s taking place here at the offices. In that spirit, I wanted to take a moment at the onset of a new year, and on the day of Beatport’s ninth anniversary, to reflect a bit on where we’ve been and where we’re going.
Nine years ago, Beatport started out with a simple mission: to create the best digital download store for DJs. Over time, what we found was that dance music fans also began flocking to the site so see what DJs were buying, playing, and listening to. Two years ago, we took a hard look at what we wanted to do with all that fan attention. It came down to two choices: either create new products to sell to those fans, or improve on how DJs can connect with those fans. We chose the latter, because frankly, serving DJs is far more interesting to us than selling their fans a pair of Beatport-branded fuzzy boots.
DJs and dance music producers around the world began to feel the results of that decision over the course of 2012.
It started with increasing the amount of Beatport Play remix contests to four each month, allowing aspiring producers to showcase their skills and, in some cases—like Zedd, Seven Lions, and Candyland—kick-start their careers. The result was a total of 56 remix contests in 2012 with a combined total of 22,551 submissions (a 700% increase in the number of submissions received in all of 2011).
We added Beatport DJs to provide a profile for any DJ who wants one, allowing them to promote themselves to the world’s largest audience of dance music fans. Since then, more than 125,000 DJs have established a Beatport DJ profile. What’s more, these DJs began spontaneously adding information about their upcoming performances, resulting in our engineering teams moving at breakneck speed to develop Beatport Event listings—now the largest database of dance music events in the world after less than a year in existence.
We also added Beatport Mixes to finally solve the licensing problem facing digital mixtape distribution, and while it remains in beta, it’s already got over 9,000 mixes in the catalog available for download and full-length preview. With any DJ in the world having the ability to upload and sell their mixes, emerging artists like Firebeatz and Deep Space House have seen their mixes appear in the Top 10 alongside superstar DJs like Roger Sanchez, Paul Van Dyk, and Dennis Ferrer.
Producers and DJs can now find all the samples and loops they need for their productions and live sets on Beatport Sounds, which has grown from a catalog of a few hundred sounds to over half a million, making it the world’s largest online library of royalty-free samples, loops, and synthesizer patches.
Finally, we relaunched Beatportal as Beatport News to share the benefits of the behind-the-scenes and in-studio access we enjoy with DJs and labels.
Taken together, these new services (or “tabs” on Beatport.com) created a one-stop shop for DJs and producers to buy the music they need, promote their performances and the music they create, and connect with new and existing fans worldwide.
That was last year. This year is all about fine-tuning both these new services and core features, as well as adding a few new ones along the way. We can’t tell you everything yet, but expect to see new search capabilities, increased sharing of our data and metrics, innovations in file formats, new music-production features, and changes to how we classify both existing and new genres in the store.
We’re flattered and motivated by all the feedback we get from the dance and DJ community—compliments and criticism. It makes us that much more responsible for how we serve the community and address the needs of users, artists, and label partners. While I’m sure these changes I’ve mentioned will take longer to implement than some may like, know that our deliberate pace reflects a desire to create the best, most reliable, and trustworthy service we can, not just for today’s DJs and fans, but for tomorrow’s as well.
It’s hard to believe how far Beatport has come. Nine years ago, we were a small digital music service founded by three DJ friends out of an office in Denver with music from 79 labels. We now have more than 3,600 licensing deals with suppliers representing more than 20,000 labels. We’re live in over 230 countries. We’ve sold nearly 100 million downloads, and paid out over $100 million to labels, artists, and publishers. Since 2004, we have expanded our offices to Berlin, San Francisco, and, most recently, Los Angeles. And we are now recognized as the #1 non-artist brand in dance music, according to both the Amsterdam Dance Event and Klout.
I think it’s fair to say that Beatport has become the virtual center of the DJ and dance music universe. And as the interest in dance music continues to explode worldwide—among creators, fans, and the industry—I can’t think of any place I’d rather be.
Happy New Year!
-Matthew Adell, CEO, Beatport