Here at StreetDanceMixes we believe all dancers have the right to dance to whatever they want, and up until recently we thought that just about everyone would have agreed with this statement. Surely dancing to music heard on the radio everyday couldn’t be outlawed could it?
Well, we’re sorry to report, if you didn’t already know, about the state of music, dance and licensing in the Varsity League in the USA right now. A couple years back, the Sony record label successfully sued a mix-producer $150,000, for creating music without prior permission to be used in a dance performance. Naturally the event company (varsity) had to do something. But what they did next was as surprising as it was harmful, to the dancers, and to the musicians.
Varsity’s solution was to demand that all mix-producers use either original material (tracks produced by themselves) or remakes (of well-known songs). So, imagine a mix of tracks from Soundcloud with 3 likes and karaoke backing tracks with guide vocals… yeah… pretty bad right? You might want to hear just how bad that might sound, but you can’t, because the competition videos are now released on varsity’s site with the sound muted!
Not only is this new rule ruining the entertainment value at shows, but it’s also preventing the crews from being innovative, or experimental with their music choices. It has severed the link between music creator and dancer that has been in place since a shaman would bang a drum and ancient civilisations danced around a camp fire. To top it all off, mix producers who work in this league are passing the costs directly to dance teams, and IMO putting a few dollars in for good measure, check out new level music – http://www.newlevelmusic.com/ – who are charging up to $5000 (around £4000) a mix!
(Don’t believe it? Check out this thread we found on fiercecheer.com, https://www.fierceboard.com/threads/2016-2017-cheer-music.44897/page-2 – it makes very interesting reading.)
But hey, we’re in the UK/Europe so who cares? What has any of that got to do with us? Well, maybe nothing, but it’s apparent that the trend is growing stateside, and let’s not forget that the record labels that the event organisers are protecting themselves from over there, are in business over here too.
This whole, sad and expensive disaster began because the labels were getting nothing, whilst varsity were making bank. No respect, or payment was given to the artists who made the music the dancers performed to at a show. Fast forward a year or two and now you might have to pay 1000 dollars or more to dance to a sh**ty version of the track that you wanted to dance to.
We’re not saying we at StreetDanceMixes are the only solution, or defender of music and dance here, but we do offer the artists the respect they deserve, and as long as we’re in business dancers will always have a legitimate way to dance to whatever they want, from just £1.
We’re too late to save America, providing remakes is now a profitable venture that the suits would be extremely reluctant to shut down now, but please, for the future of our dance communities, and all the good they do, consider buying your next track from, or licensing your own mix on StreetDanceMixes.com