Beatport CEO Robb McDaniels on how the dance sector stands united during the Covid-19 epidemic

Beatport CEO Robb McDaniels on how the dance sector stands united during the Covid-19 epidemic

Here’s some good news for the beleaguered dance sector during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Beatport, has announced that its 34-hour live stream ReConnect, staged in partnership with Twitch, raised more than $180,000 for the WHO’s Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund and the AFEM Members’ Covid-19 Hardship Fund.

Last weekend’s global DJ extravaganza featured Carl Cox, Bonobo, Pete Tong, Nina Kraviz, Griz, Rufus Du Sol, A-Trak, Nicole Moudaber, Chris Liebing, Anna, Nora En Pure and many more DJs performing from their homes in order to reconnect the global dance community.

The online event amassed more than 8.5 million views from more than 150 countries across and Beatport’s Twitch and social channels, and over 6,200 donors. Beatport collaborated with several industry partners including Pioneer DJ, Native Instruments and Denon to give away dozens of music products to viewers. 

Here, Beatport CEO Robb McDaniels opens up to Music Week about the livestream and how the dance sector stands united during the global epidemic…

What kind of response did the non-stop stream get from fans?

“With over 8.5m views from over 150 countries, and more than 6,200 individual donations, the response from music fans around the globe to ReConnect was nothing short of spectacular, and heartwarming. Beatport set out on this mission with the goal of bringing a few moments – actually 34hrs  of joy to fans sheltered in place during this unprecedented health crisis, and it certainly feels like we, our industry partners, and the amazing DJs who performed, achieved this goal.”

How keen were DJs to get involved and how did the logistics work out?

“The DJs and their entire teams were incredibly supportive of the ReConnect initiative, dedicating many hours to marketing, production and performance, so we are deeply grateful for their participation. We simply provided the platform and technical infrastructure for all these great artists to connect directly to their adoring and appreciative fans around the world. The electronic music community is one big family that supports each other through good times and bad. The DJs all recognised this from the first moment we approached them and they delivered an amazing interactive music experience.  

“Logistically and technically, it was a challenge on many fronts, since everything was filmed live across so many times zones, with only the equipment the artists had in their homes, but the Beatport Creative Services team worked incredibly well with the artist's management teams to make it all look seamless.”

The electronic music community is one big family that supports each other through good times and bad

Robb McDaniels

How is Beatport handling the crisis in terms of release schedule changes?

“Beatport saw a slight reduction in releases during the first two weeks of March, largely due to the Covid-19 crisis and the cancellation of so many events, including Miami Music Week and Winter Music Conference. But recent weeks have seen us get back to a normal release schedule as labels and artists realise that DJs are now moving to online performances and still need the best new music for their sets. At the end of the day, when humanity finds its way through this crisis, music will likely be one of the things that helps many get through the emotional impact. Music is still one of the best connectors and community builders, so we hope Beatport can continue to do our part to help as many people as possible.”

What does it mean in particular for the DJ/club scene with most of the population in lockdown?

“The live industry – across the board – is getting absolutely hammered by this, and we have an enormous amount of empathy for our industry brethren. Performance income is obviously dropping to basically zero for the next few months, which is a huge financial hit to artists, managers, agents, promoters, venues and all the wonderful people who support the live business. However, we can only hope that some can adapt to make ends meet, others will use the time to work on their art and write and produce great new music and we will all get out there and support them when they reopen for business and help to make up the shortfall that has been created.   

“Beatport's business has become more diversified in the past year, especially with the introduction of Beatport Link (streaming/locker) and Beatsource (for open-format DJs), and our Beatport Creative Services team (full service agency working with bringing brands closer to the electronic music audience), so we are holding strong for now. But we feel the pain from our community and that impacts us in many ways, which is the main reason we wanted to do ReConnect, and the reason we are going to do it all over again in a few weeks. Stay tuned for more!”

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