Poor Beatport has had a tough old time lately, what with being tied to the trainwreck that is SFX (side note: the linked article is completely and utterly worth your time to read… It’s a fascinating look at how cashing in on a fad can utterly ruin an industry). I find it much easier to feel sorry for the company than I do Soundcloud, even though it never felt like a good idea for the founders to sell to a big American conglomerate. Perhaps it’s because their destiny hasn’t been their own hands since the purchase, or maybe it’s because the store was really my first real introduction to buying the latest dance music digitally.
The news a few months ago that gigantic parent company SFX had run out of options (and cash) and filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy was never really much of a surprise, as the EDM bubble was bound to burst at some point, but what was a surprise was how much Beatport itself was struggling. The future of the site was uncertain, but it looked likely that it’d be sold off, either in pieces or as a whole entity.
And that was the plan… the various bits of SFX were scheduled to be auctioned off: that included all the different Beatport services like the store, streaming etc. The good news is that those plans have been suspended, with a view to refocusing on what made Beatport so ubiquitous with DJs: selling the latest tracks. They’re also ditching the news, streaming, video sections and mobile app as part of these plans.
This means we will be shutting down the Streaming service and mobile app, Beatport News, the Video livestreaming platform, and the Events section effective May 13, 2016. Additionally, while we plan to continue considering offers for Beatport, the previously detailed auction process will be suspended for now.
I always felt like the streaming and news services were a bit of a weird move for Beatport. The whole thing felt handled in a ‘me too’ fashion, trying to diversify based on whatever was popular in the tech world. I suppose this shouldn’t be a surprise, considering who was running the company: Robert F.X. Sillerman, the embodiment of the cash-in, who (in)famously said “I know nothing about EDM”.
First of all, Beatport News could easily be (at least partially) folded into their existing blog (which I believe is where it started). I doubt it will be missed too much as it felt quite ‘advertorial’ and, from a business side, it’s a whole different set of skills, staff and web systems that need to be maintained. There are certainly plenty of better websites (*cough*) to find your DJ-related news.
The same could also be said about the rest of the shuttered services. There are better and more established places to watch streaming video, and I have to question whether there’s even a market for electronic music single streaming when people can listen to mixes and podcasts anywhere from Mixcloud to Youtube. Maybe five years ago it could have stood a chance, but not in 2016.
I hope really the site spins off into its own – independently run – store with a focus back on providing a single place for people to buy the latest dance music, based on a sturdy platform, with real DJs running the show. Beatport was never the cheapest place to buy music, but it was definitely the easiest, even with the monstrosity that was the original Flash site (RIP). A lot of people keep shouting that the site should roll back to the classic look, but I actually quite like the latest ‘pro’ UI. It’s bold and fairly good for searching.
Have you ever used Beatport’s streaming service? What do you think of the move to streamline the company.