Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Slave To The Rhythm

I've just had to remove the mix that Tony Lionni kindly did for us due to a request from the Strictly Rhythm label concerning the appearance of one of their tracks on his mix. While I have honoured their decision, I have to say that in my eyes their pseudo-ideological approach to the clamping down of any online mixes that contain any of their releases is a little heavy handed. Here's the correspondence:

Subject: Strictly Rhythm Content
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2008 15:06:42 -0600

Hello from Strictly Rhythm,

We've come across your listing of Osunlade "My Reflection" at

We appreciate your enthusiasm for our music. But we have to ask that you remove this link as well as any of our content that you have uploaded to server sites and request that you not do this again. We do not permit our music to be used in this way, and besides, it's actually illegal
for someone to post or share our music without our permission.

If you would like to help us promote our music by directing your friends to our web site ( or to the many legal download sites (like Beatport, Traxsource, iTunes, DJ Download, etc) where they are able to listen to clips and purchase our music, we would welcome your help.

We appreciate that people like the music we put out but if we can't sell it we can't pay our artists and producers. And if we can't pay them eventually there won't be any more new music.
Jimmy R. Smith
Strictly Rhythm-USA

On Feb 26, 2008, at 7:58 PM, TAPE wrote:

Hey there Jimmy,
The mix is done by an artist that's happy to promote this record for you, it's mixed, and the mp3 is at 160 kpbs. I do hope that this is an automated message as if you'll look at our site, you'll see that we don't host unauthorised single tracks and try and promote people to actually buy music, and preferably keep the dance vinyl market alive.

Hope to hear from you soon,

Subject: Re: Strictly Rhythm Content
Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2008 14:57:59 -0600


We don't allow our music to be used IN ANY FORM without our permission, PARTICULARLY if someone takes it upon themselves to give it away. 160kpbs is higher quality than iTunes sells. I don't understand how you can possibly think that this helps us.

Please remove all Strictly content immediately.


So there you go... I honestly don't think that someone will go to the effort to rip a partial track at 160kpbs when if they really wanted to steal it they could probably hop on to one of the many illegal firesharing networks and procure a full high quality version. Tracks on mixes are the perfect way for a label to get their records heard, endorsed, and promoted, and it makes absolutely no sense for labels to censor these if they're actually increasing their vinyl and download sales. The only way that it may have a negative impact on sales in the long run is if a large proportion of their market were 'casual buyers' who, if they had the track on a mix like this one, would not bother to buy it and would've done if they hadn't heard the mix. I'm not sure about you, but I'm pretty sure that the size of this 'casual buyer' market is pretty fucking tiny as far as independent dance music goes, and any damage will be more than offset by positive effects on sales through increased exposure.

Well... I won't be putting any Strictly Rhythm tracks on my mixes any time soon! Also, we'll have a new mix from Tony Lionni up for you next week.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, fucking bunch of hard-liners there. i'm sure a large majority of labels would have a positive attitude towards their music featured in mixes on this highly-respected site, as they should.

10:47 PM  
Blogger Kent said...

Yep, Strictly Rhythm missed another marketing chance, actually they did the opposite concerning good PR. --Kent

1:20 AM  
Blogger pipecock said...

not that they had much chance of me buying one of their newer records anyway, but now it's defintiely not gonna happen. fuck that nonsense. seriously, what a fucking attitude.

2:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it that the biggest labels with the least to lose from a clip in a mix make the biggest deal out of it? If this was some little label and the track was played in full I could see where they might want to step in, but this is obviously not the case. I wonder if they go after every blogger of all kinds with the same veracity.

6:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"160kpbs is higher quality than iTunes sells."

The cheeky bleeders!

"I don't understand how you can possibly think that this helps us."


10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Jimmy here is clearly no Hendrix.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Richard Carnage said...

I know - ridiculous, isn't it? That itunes comment really grinded my gears as well. I can't say that I use it personally, but they honestly can't expect people to pay a quid a pop on itunes for a 128kbps mp3 that sounds like shit, can they?

12:36 PM  
Blogger TAFFY said...

This whole exchange personifies the complete contempt the industry has for the people who actually consume their product!

Not the artists but the admin/lawyer/accountant nexus who are fans of nothing but their spreadsheets.

Jimmy aka James comes across as an individual who holds his stools in ,because it feels good and he doesn't want to give it away!

I had dealings with Strictly producers and Gladys Pizzaro about 20 yrs ago,when I used to attend and work at WMC.

Here are some things to consider:-

None of their artists received royalties for their tracks being played on DJ mix shows,Tony Humphries on Kiss 100 etc because the full track was not played.

This applied to official cd mix releases also.

Artists I knew personally,were unaware that their tracks had been licensed abroad to Virgin dance subsidary 10 in the UK.

They received no payments because they had no claim to cd royalties.

Maybe Jimmy could explain whether the artists receive royalties for the current remix/re-release of their back catalogue.

Why an artist of Osunlades' stature is dealing with these spivs is beyond me.

If little jimmy truly cared about his artists/product then where is the NYC/USA version of Bleep.

Those who care ,invest in their future.

No WAV or FLAC in the USA?


1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a berk.

the giveaway is the use of ALLCAPS to demonstrate Jimmy's OUTRAGE that you would have the NERVE to voilate Strictly's PURITY OF ESSENCE in hosting their music IN ANY FORM without permission.

how's about a nice big cup of back the fuck up sweetie.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:54 PM  
Blogger Sean-Michael Yoder said...

Hahahaaaaaaa! The label that went out of business and was considered one of the most villainous in terms of royalty payments is complaining about you not paying their artists. I've already heard that SR is already struggling since re-opening the doors and it's easy to see why. This is 2008 not 1988. let's just hope they close down as quickly as they re-opened. These folks are crooks and deserved to be outted for their bad business practices and adversarial attitude toward their fans. I think this may be an upcoming piece for Resident Advisor. Thanks for sharing Rich.

12:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Strictly Retarded. Words fail me - good work Jimmy...

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Strictly Stupid indeed!
The label has been putting out lame House for so long.
I was so glad they were gone but somehow, the idiots thought they can make a come back!!! I felt sick when I heard that news last year on another lame publishing OWTL(Thank GOD They are gone...).
Those old-fashioned people deserves to be buried underneath Ministry of Sound and should NEVER come back.


1:23 PM  
Blogger George Hess said...

Taffy - i don't think you are correct regarding the SRR royalty payments. It has not come up at any time that I am aware of that the head of Strictly did not pay out to the content owners he got music from. and truly a podcast should not be over 128 as it's main purpose is to promote the DJ by use of the most responsive records out there, for use on a device or computer. 128k is enough to get the vibe of the record and the DJ's talent. Please check your facts and anyone who still feels that way should contact the owner of the label.

12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well guys, it's easy to bash the big boys with some brave keyboard banter, I guess. Just don't let the facts get in the way of a good rant.

I run a small label and hey, I don't like people giving away my music, either. So, it's OK because it's in a mix? How does that work? You don't have the right to give it away period, it's not yours, you don't get to decide at what level taking other people's music is or is not acceptable.

It's promotion? Sure, people have always made, swapped, given away and sold mix tapes. The difference is that once you put it on line it's there forever and theoretically everyone in the world could have one for free at the same quality. Oh, and the 'promotion' is usually for the DJ who's giving away the mix to help him get more gigs. Which he gets paid for.

It helps sell some vinyl. Well, here's some news for you. One, most vinyl releases now break even at best. Two, the vast bulk of revenue in dance music comes from mix comps. If nobody buys mix comps anymore because you can get them for free, where's the scene going then?

Taffy - sounds like you have a personal problem with someone or maybe they wouldn't sign your record. You don't seem to know much about the music biz. Radio stations pay publishing royalties on the records they play, which goes to the writers. I don't know who told you that artists don't get CD royalties on mixes, but I can tell you it's wrong, they do. As for people getting paid now, do you really think the likes of Kenny and Louie, Todd Terry and Mood II Swing would be working with the label again if they never got paid? As for no WAV in the USA, what are you talking about, never heard of beatport? Also, I don't remember Strictly being around in 1988.

I know a lot of people who made records for Strictly and trust me, they got paid. Ask Erick Morillo.

12:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked for a competing label in NYC in the late 90's and can tell you every single producer I knew went to Strictly first because they knew Strictly paid their artists...Just an honest observation.

In addition, I've had several labels do the same when it came to me posting mixes with their music on them. No biggie, I took them down. Why make a big deal about it?

2:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also have my own label and no matter how you want to spin it the fact remains that your giving away music without permission, that you don't own and that the artist will never make royalties on. What a load of bollocks to talk shit about one of the only brand names out there trying to keep this industry alive.

3:18 AM  
Blogger TAFFY said...

Dear George,I stand by my statements that you did not pay royalties for the Strictly Rhythm compilation licensed to 10 Records a Virgin subsidiary. Also royalties were not paid on NYC mix shows and the original Tony Humphries Strictly Rhythm Mix Cd.

Obviously you paid monies upfront ,$1200-2000 for an ep/12 but you did not inform the artists of future royalties. I believe this is called creative accounting.

Are your artists eligible for the new remix series,or do you just pay the remix fee?

I speak as a concerned individual and a consumer of quality dance music.

Let's be honest,no -one is going bust from an individual track featured in an online mix.

I follow Osunlade as a producer and buy everything on Yoruba and Souljazz because I know these labels denote quality. I had no idea that he had an album on SR.Then again why should I ? because you are a back catalogue/nostalgia label.

People who download on this site buy records,they appreciate the aesthetic qualities of vinyl,both as an object and tool.

I would defend their actions as utilitarian rather than criminal. This is a fan based site rather than Soulseek etc and you have succeeded in denying your label any future exposure to your primary market-record buyers as opposed to music consumers.

Granted,you and little Jimmy have had your say,and have the Law on your side but you scored a Pyhrric victory.

I am not responsible for your lack of imagination but chances are that if I had heard that track on that illegal mix,then I would have bought that track as a vinyl purchase in my local record store. For my sins I live in London ,where dancing is still legal and independent record stores still struggle and survive.

6 billion cds were bought last year,unfortunately they were all blank. This is your dilemma not labour of love sites,run by music geeks for music geeks .

If you and little Jimmy can expand your reading material beyond Mrs Pizzaros' Saks storecard bills,then I would suggest The Freakonomics Music forum in the NYT and also Music by Theodor Adorno.

As it stands you are merely moving deckchairs around the Titanic.Bon Voyage!

By the way,vinyl sales are increasing across other genres but are falling in dance.

Dance music has always been consumed primarily in a mix format,live,radio,recordable medium etc.

Granted cd mix releases are a major source of revenue but no-one is going to buy an all Strictly mix cd.Rather it is your job to get your tracks licensed,which involves quality control and vision.When was the last time you were licensed to a corporate client?

George Morels' instrumentals spring to mind.

Distribution has changed you obviously have not.

How many artists of yours feature on the Clear Channel playlists?

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Taffy, but you do come off like someone a little scorned by the industry or has some personal grievance you need to take care of (are there royalties you were not paid?) If so, why not take it up with the company in question instead of calling them out on a public forum?

As I read through here I'm more inclined to believe that a company around as long as Strictly probably has done the right thing when it comes to paying out otherwise why would all these old school artists still be working with them?

But to be fair, why is anyone even talking about royalties here? Rich was asked to take down a mix due to a labels wishes and right. Why don't both sides just move on. I look forward to the next Tony Lionni mix as much as I look forward to the next Strictly release (they have put out some decent choons since coming back).

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so i don't understand, they are willing to stream their music but not willing to have their songs featured in mixes to download ? it's not long before we can listen to streamed music anywhere we'd like, elimating the need to download music. i can't imagine being an artist and forcing people to pay to play my song, in a mix or otherwise. all that ends up happening is that you don't get played.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Sell By Dave said...

As someone who works in the dance music industry (or at least what's left of it) I can understand the concern of labels when it comes to downloads and such. Many small independent labels struggle to make ends meet through digital and vinyl sales. However, to get heavy handed with those like TAPE who are passionate music buyers and enthusiastic promoters of new music seems short sighted to say the least. Yes, it's Strictly's perogative, but it's hardly likely to endear them to the exact people who would be likely to buy their product.

The comment about the sales of mix CDs being vital to the survival of the industry is interesting, too. In my day job I regularly get sent 20 or 30 commercially released mix CDs a month (for review purposes) and the vast majority of these are dull, predictable and uninteresting. Take the recent 'Strictly' series (MAW, Tiefschwarz etc). While these are pleasant listens, they are incredibly conservative and just re-hash old catalogue tracks. I bet I'm not alone in thinking this. Perhaps labels like Strictly would sell more mix CDs if they made them more interesting/diverse/exciting - in other words, more like the better online mixes from DJs like Tony hosted at blogs like TAPE, Allez Allez, Tricky Disco etc.

TAPE are not the bad guys. Perhaps Strictly and others should be spending their time going after sites that actually offer full mix downloads, rather than those attempting to be supportive and hosting mixes etc.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jimmy old bean,

If you're really worried about sales, stop wanking around on web 2.0 and do something meaningful to increase them. Your productivity has gone throught the floor since you started that fucking photography business.

Jimmy's Boss

7:09 PM  
Blogger Chrisk said...

why not just include the portion that is available for preview on the itunes site, since that is given for free? i bet you could make a whole Strictly Rhythm mix that way.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Chrisk said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

absolutely unbelievable and very backward. this jimmy guy is an absolute clown if he can't see the positive promotional aspects of having their tracks in mixed sets.


4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The attitude of - merely the label owners - are driving people further away from their respected artists. Thats why Nine Inch Nails put up their album for free. In a good format (not a crappy iTunes rip) and it is a succes !

I started to produce some stuff myself and will not even consider being backed up by a label. I only hear people talking about money and not the music.

This discussion will be back with each new generation or invention (remember "Hometaping is killing music" ?). Well the music is still here. I gladly pay my money directly to the artists (like NIN or Radiohead) and not to the selfish labelbosses.

The industry is fighting a loosen battle here. Don't chase poor mammies (like in the USA) but try to adopt the new technology and provide us with quality material in a good format (not 128kbps, but 320, FLAC or WAVE).

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apart from very few good releases long long ago, they are a pissed poor handbag house label anyway.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very odd stance from Strictly. From a promotion point of view, if people take the time to mix tracks into a promo mix and then give it away I really can't see the problem with it. None of my labels and artists do either. It's an age old art - free and pirate tapes, sold on the market stall that make you want to buy the vinyl and go to the rave on a saturday night - except now the tape is dead and the stall is a blog. If someone doesn't buy a record because they have a low quality mixed version, they were never going to.
Illegal download sites with no criticism or love shown for the music and artists are another thing entirely and they should be fought with all means.

10:54 PM  
Blogger westworld said...

I say respect the artist not the record companies - sharing personnal media between friends is a good thing though.
Good points...

10:32 PM  
Blogger Pestomusic Blog said...

I'm running a small label, too and I'm so not getting the point here.
People who download DJ mixes are either
1. intensive buyers (DJs that is)->they will buy a tune if they discover it on a mix->free promo
2. music consumers->they wouldn't buy the tune anyways->no sales gone (it's rather free promo, too as the artist's and label's name gets spread widely).

After publishing a podcast, I also got mail from Defected (they own SR) asking me to take down the tunes in question. What's even funnier is that they claimed the tunes were unreleased (the DJ bought them on Traxsource...ouch) and they were going "to seek compensation". You can read the full details including the correspondence here
Not only Ricardo Torres, the DJ of this mix (who has bought an ENOURMUS amount of Defected tunes both on vinyl and digital) will stop buying their stuff, there are so many more. Please read here (make sure you also check out the comments there!) and here.

Can't wait for their reply.


9:44 AM  
Blogger Pestomusic Blog said...

Just wanted to keep you guys in the loop. Today, I received a message from Tony Garvey, Head of Promotions at Defected (funny enough neither Ellie or Defected's lawyer contacted me).
I don't want to spam this blog, so please read the whole conversation here in case you're interested.

cheers...Jon Silva, Pesto Music

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2:59 PM  
Blogger naomi said...


6:13 AM  
Anonymous porn said...

not that they had much chance of me buying one of their newer records anyway, but now it's defintiely not gonna happen. fuck that nonsense. seriously, what a fucking attitude.

10:40 PM  

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