Saunders was among the label execs we interviewed inside this week’s issue, and it’s been a busy period for his label, which has postponed or cancelled a run of live events due to the pandemic.
Defected launched its first Virtual Festival last week, as a selection of DJs played a livestreamed show at Ministry Of Sound in London. After more than 10 million people tuned in via Twitter, YouTube and Facebook last week, the label is continuing its Virtual Residency today (March 27).
From 1-7pm GMT, a range of DJS including Folamour, Horse Meat Disco and Purple Disco Machine will broadcast sets from their homes and studios.
This livestreamed content is part of Defected’s strategy for the coming weeks, with its radio show, social media and playlisting all in focus too. Read on for an extract from our interview with Saunders and read the full piece on record labels and the coronavirus in the new issue of Music Week.
How much of the label's strategy has had to change as a result of coronavirus?
“We have a duty of care. A duty of care to protect our loved ones, our communities, our staff, our business partners, our businesses, our associates and the industry. We have chosen to elevate our ongoing strategy in servicing our community with quality music and quality content during these social distancing measures via social media. We’ve continued our digital activation offering for our online community; the opportunity to engage with our brand and each other from the comfort of their own homes, following the postponement or cancellation of all our live events from mid-March through to May, due to the outbreak of the virus. We kicked off the series with the inaugural Defected Virtual Festival, inspired by the success of live streams from Defected Croatia, Defected London FSTVL and other Defected shows worldwide. The concept came from a wish to bring together house music lovers under our mantra In Our House We Are All Equal.”
What else is Defected focusing on at this time?
“We will remain honest and do everything we can to ensure the wellbeing of the people – for our families, our friends, staff, our DJ/producers, our community, right across the entire global population. The passion and commitment towards what we do from the community is unquestionable. As such, we owe everything to our people. During these times, we encourage our DJ/producers affected by event postponements and cancellations to use the time to be creative and innovative and demonstrate to our community that we stand together. We will continue to monitor the music and content consumption, and make decisions as to whether to continue or reassess our release strategy. At this stage, we intend on minimising the disruption as much as we possibly can. For our community, we will continue to create and provide content, continue to demonstrate our vision and purpose, and to provide a service through the medium of music; be it records, playlists, radio shows or other. We are still here. We are still here for them.”
We encourage our DJ and producers affected to be creative and innovative
How worried are you about the continuing repercussions?
“We are in a fortunate position where our business is not solely reliant upon events. While our events business is currently heavily disrupted, we have realigned our attentions back to music. We have had to navigate choppy waters several times before, and while we are faced with a seriously challenging situation, I am confident that our choices are the right ones and we will continue to do right by our fans, and provide a chink of light in these otherwise dark times. For now, we remain empathetic. Our thoughts continue to be with friends, DJs, producers and fans around the world – and all those affected. Stay safe. We hope that our efforts to remain positive help you through.”