Disko Warp – Interview

As mentioned, 2012 marks the 7th birthday of Disko Warp and also serves as a rebirth of sorts for the label. Earlier this year all of Disko Warp’s Bandcamp releases became pay-what-you-want, and I recently conducted a short interview with the head of Disko Warp himself, Pete Ellison, discussing the changes as well as the future of Disko Warp.

Switching to a “pay what you want” model is a bold move. What prompted this decision? Was it a response to piracy? A desire to spread the Disko Warp brand? Or did a monkey accidentally press the wrong button at Bandcamp?

Pete: It’s a complicated answer. At the beginning of this year I just decided it was time for a change, and I wanted to really step back and look at everything I’d done with Disko Warp and see what’s working and what’s not working. It takes money and time to maintain a large catalog of releases for sale via iTunes and other distributors. A lot of our back catalog was actually costing me money to keep it up, and my business model that was working great for me when I started the label 7 years ago just needed to be ditched completely and rebuilt from the ground up. So I’ve drawn a line in the sand so to speak.

Why not use a somewhat safer model, like setting a minimum or suggested price?

Pete: I think it makes more sense for our back catalog to just say “Here, take it. Give us money if you like it”.

Do you expect that this will be a permanent change?

Pete: A lot of our back catalog is now free or pay-what-you-want, and that will most likely be permanent. New releases will just be on a case-by-case basis.

What I’ll be doing going forward is focusing on original work and big album releases with physical editions and bonuses. You’ll see the free Bandcamp releases for singles, remixes and collaborations with friends.

What are your feelings on piracy? Do you think it’s a case of not being able to pay or just not willing to pay? Does it even matter, as long as fans are enjoying your music?

Pete: My feelings on piracy are mixed. I think most people pirate either because the thing they want isn’t available in their location or in the format they want, or because it’s how they find out about new things. I don’t worry about the people who pirate because they don’t have money, because they weren’t going to spend money on my thing anyhow. Consumers demand high quality formats (Flac for example, like you just said), and a convenient way to get it. If they can’t buy that, they’re going to steal it. But I think if it’s available in your territory and at a reasonable price and in a high quality format (i.e. Bandcamp), you should buy it.

Super Eurobeat is a great example of an outdated model. I’m a DJ, so I want a 320 or FLAC high quality file, and I’m more than happy to pay $2 on Beatport or whatever for a song that I’m going to spin and really enjoy, but I’m not going to drop $30 on an import CD full of songs I don’t care about just so I can have the one good song. I think Avex needs to take a good look at their current model and decide if its still working for them or not.

We’ve entered an age now where spending money on music is voting with your dollars. Fans who want to support us will come to Bandcamp and pay for releases because they want to support us, and as long as everybody else is enjoying it I’m happy.

What upcoming releases can we expect from Disko Warp?

Pete: Anime Love Hardcore 2 is out right now, Lucky Princess’ new single “I Need A Freak”, Becky’s mini-album and “Less Than Three” 2012 remix pack, and a brand new full length compilation album of original songs all due out between now and mid-summer!

(Editor’s note: Shortly after this interview was conducted, Pete also revealed on twitter, “Working on a new series for iTunes only – happy hardcore/hi-nrg/euro covers of J-Pop, K-Pop, Vocaloid etc – taking requests +vocal demos! :D”)

On a related note, when can we expect a Vocaloid production from Diskowar-P? 😀

Pete: If somebody wants to buy me a copy of Hatsune Miku software and figure out how to install and use the damn thing, I will totally do it 🙂 Would it just be Miku singing Disko Warp songs though? That would be kind of hilarious.

Many thanks once again to Pete for taking the time to answer my questions! You can pester him with your own questions and concerns by following Disko Warp on twitter or Facebook.

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.