Midem regular Kontor Records is a force to be reckoned with in dance music, inparticular in its native Germany and neighbouring territories. For junior A&R manager Dennis Hadan, a label offers a host of advantages artists can’t get on their own: recognition and long-term career development being just two.
midemblog: Artists can pretty much do everything themselves these days. Why should they need a label?
Dennis Hadan: Some artists just upload their sounds to Soundcloud to get (DJ) bookings; but you have to ask yourself: do you want a real career as an artist, or do you just want bookings, and simply get noticed? We develop artists’ whole careers, rather than focusing on just one track.
> Kontor has 1.8 million subscribers on YouTube, and 200,000 on Spotify. How does that help your artists?
When we put a track at the top of our Spotify playlist, all our users discover it… and the good thing is that Spotify generates revenue, in contrast with Soundcloud. Similarly, on YouTube, when we upload a video, 1.8m subscribers receive an email, so that’s just as many views, in theory, with just one upload.
> So from your point of view, labels should be managing that sort of thing, not artists. Why?
Kontor is a big brand. We have well-known compilations, and a big fanbase. If you get a track on our compilations — like our Top of the Clubs series, for example — people find out about it, because it’s a Kontor product. It’s all about brand recognition: people buy our compilations just because they’re ours, without knowing what tracks are on them. That said, if an artist posts their own tracks on Facebook, that’s fine; that sort of activity is really important.
> So you advise and accompany your artists on social media. Do you have one particular success story on that topic?
Yes, we really experienced a strong and positive social media influence with our artist DJ Antoine. The success of his track Welcome To St. Tropez was the result of an intensively arranged cooperation between DJ Antoine’s and Kontor Records’ social media channels. The official video of Welcome To St. Tropez on Kontor.TV became the most successful video ever on our YouTube channel, with over 110 million views to date. As a result of that the fans of DJ Antoine and Kontor Records were demanding his second single, Ma Chérie, through all social media channels. This was a wonderful foundation for developing his next singles and of course his album. That success was massively supported by our activities like introducing him to our Spotify followers, radio promoters and making bookings for him; our offering 360° services, everything an artist needs to grow, and make his fanbase bigger. It’s too much effort for one artist to do all those things by himself. At Kontor, we developed those promotional channels a long time ago — we started in 1996 — so the brand is really well known. And of course, our artists benefit from that.