NANO goes digital

Author: Roberdo
Date: May 21, 2009
Views: 3102

A conversation with Regan from NANO Records about digital music distribution, chances and risks of this technology, netlabels and copyleft music

Roberdo: A few weeks back your label Nano Records proclaimed to “go digital”. What does this mean in detail and how did this decision evolve?
Regan: We’ve been selling digitally for a few years already but never releasing tracks exclusively as digital releases before now.  A major part of our attention is now, and will continue to be, focussed on releasing digital EPs.  That’s not to say we wont be releasing albums or CDs thereof, but what it does mean is that we are releasing music more regularly, so fans of our artists should be more satisfied more often!  We are trying to get to a point where we are releasing 2 EPs every month, plus the albums every few months too.
Roberdo: If I look at Beatport, the probably most popular site to buy electronic dance music via the internet, I realize that there is a lack of Psy Trance releases compared to the actual output in this genre resp. the digital releases often come very delayed. Why do you think many labels still hesitate to sell music digital?
Regan: Beatport has a policy of only working with labels that are really doing a proper job of it, which many Psy labels aren’t.  So in that regard some labels cant even get onto their system, but in general I think many Psy Labels (us included) have been slow to really start pushing the digital side of things properly probably out of fear that fans and artists were still fixated with Albums and CD’s and most of all the fear of file sharing. This has been compounded by the focus on ‘Album’ releases.  It is terrifying trying to sell CD’s today, and the thought of releasing the tracks online first made it even scarier.  The number of labels out there, verse those that people actually want to buy is so skew!  The whole genre is top heavy with mediocre labels and artists, so I don’t blame online stores for not wanting to take on dead weight.  I think people are more ready to buy online now, and if we give them the option, or rather make that the first option online then things will change, as long as what is delivered is quality.  For the artists it makes far more sense to release 2 or 3 quality tracks on EPs every few months, rather then an album of 9 tracks every 2 years!!  They are then way more in the fans consciousness on a regular basis and as a fan (and/or DJ) it’s great not to have to wait too long for music from your favourite act.  If fans prefer an album that is always in the pipeline, and many of the tracks released online will eventually make their way to an album (and therefore a CD too).  So it’s really up to the fans choice then, how they prefer to collect their music, and giving people options is always a good thing.
Roberdo: Digital distribution offers the perfect opportunity for file sharing and data piracy because the music is already in mp3 format and in the internet. What do you think about that, what could be solutions?
Regan: I don’t see any point in trying to create a ‘solution’, solving ‘the problem’ of file sharing, forget it, it cant be done, it can’t be stopped, rather focus on positive alternatives, and create new models and revenue streams for labels and artists, and new options for fans.

Currently there are all kinds of plans to possibly use special coding practices to note what music people are sharing, and ideas like internet service providers adding a tax to accounts that will go to music rights organisations.  So who knows how it will all pan-out.  Either way there are a lot of people thinking of varied alternatives to the situation and it’s an exciting time in music sales history, as the paradigm has now totally shifted.  Ultimately, proper fans will support artists they love, and shouldn’t have any problem spending a little bit of money to ensure their favourite artists continue to produce music they love. I think if people know they can go to a certain portal and get the latest Nano (or whatever their favourite music is) in high quality, many of them will.

Personally it’s a kick for me to buy music I love, but I come from a generation of music collecting.  My parents collected music (vinyl, reels, tape), I collected music from a young age (tape, vinyl, cd’s and now digitally) but the new generation of music fans have been born into a time when pretty much any music they want can be streamed on demand off the net at any time.  The notion of collecting music, of actually having a personal ‘collection’, tucked away somewhere, is almost foreign to them, so the next hurdle will be creating revenue from these sources.
On a slightly different note, and this only relates to up-and-coming DJ’s, I truly believe that anyone considering him or herself a DJ who relies on dodgy downloads from foreign sites won’t get very far.  I believe in karma, and what you put in you get out.  If you are only taking all the time nothing will come your way, that’s not to say they MUST buy music, but they need to put some real energy into the scene, real support, before they will really get anything out themselves.
Roberdo: Today there is a big discussion going on about new ways of licensing, quite some people even claim copyleft music. Could you imagine to give away the music from your artists completely for free one day?
Regan: Ha! We have already!  We dropped some free tracks at the start of this year (they are still up on the Nano website if you want em ;)), and we plan to do more on a very regular basis. It’s great promotion for the artists and label, and it’s nice to give fans something extra. All the tracks are high-res Mp3 (with Wavs available in time via download stores), and we encourage everyone to grab them and freely share them with whoever!  We are launching our Nano podcasts next month, that will feature news and new Nano tracks every month, for Free, so fans will be able to get a taste of what’s going on, interact with us more, hear interviews with artists and so on.
Roberdo: Netlabels practice copyleft releases since quite some time. But it seems like the real established labels are still the commercial ones. Why?
Regan: Well because many of the new Netlabels aren’t releasing anything of decent quality, of course they will give their music away for free, they want any attention they can get, and it’s probably the right approach for them at this stage of their development.  Maybe that’s a bit harsh, and I recognise how hard it is to get recognition or acceptance onto good net stores for new labels but there is still a lot of hard work going into what the label and our artists are doing, a lot more then I think other newer labels can even fathom.  We all love FREE but I don’t think everything needs to be free, especially if you consider yourself a collector.  Definitely give people some things for free, and if they want to listen to Nano without owning it they can, we have plenty of channels online (Reverbnation,, iLike) where they can stream the music for their listening pleasure, no problem!
Roberdo: There are heaps of interesting possibilities for digital DJing today that enable one to play the mp3 or wave file without burning it to a CD. Do you have experiences with Final Scratch, DJ controllers or other technologies like that? What are advantages, what are disadvantages?
Regan: Yeah, im bouncing between the two at the moment, CD’s and Traktor Pro, which I’m testing with various controllers. Soon I will be fully rid of CD’s I hope. Im sooo sick of burning new CDs all the time.  99% of the music I collect comes to me via the internet, be it music I am sent or I buy, and since I am storing my music digitally it makes more sense, and it is far more economical time wise to keep it all in the same place. As yet I haven’t made the full transition though, so I might still be banging the CD’s out for a few more months, we’ll see.  For me one of the biggest advantages is keeping my music ordered (im Virgo, I like order) and not having to waste time and plastic, burning CD’s all the time, plus it’s quite exciting adding a new angle to my sets after all these years.  Using the on board effects and looping functions within Traktor is great too.
Roberdo: Only one sentence please: What is the future of the Psy Trance scene?
Regan: The future is bright so long as there are Better QUALITY Controls and Better OPTIONS for Fans and Artists. for more!

Regan is performing at Fusion Festival (Germany), Glade Festival (UK), Freedom Festival (Portugal), Ozora Festival (Hungary) this summer!

Author: Roberdo / Date: 22.06.2009 09:17:51

Sony BMG laments a further decrease of their sales numbers at a height of 30% in the first quarter in 2009. In Germany the biggest music marketing fair "Popkomm" is canceled due to a lack of commercial participants. The signs are pretty distinct!

Author: sam / Date: 22.06.2009 09:08:21

Very nice interview!

Author: acid / Date: 27.05.2009 15:34:01

amazon announced cooperation with for music distribution. might be the end of the old music industry...(?)

Author: misty / Date: 27.05.2009 15:11:01

Hey Regan, I have to say, that everytime I hear or read about Nano, it seems you are going from strength to strength and extending your musical and clearly business talents further out into the global community. Best of luck with this venture, it definately is the way of the now and the future it seems. See you at the next one. Tamsin

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