Rachel Chodkowski Talks Beatport Live Plus New Streaming Service @ Mysteryland USA

June 5, 2015 -

Ashlyn Fulton

Since 2004 Beatport has been music lovers' go-to for chart-topping tunes categorized by every genre and sub-genre you could think of, allowing users to preview tracks and buy them all in one place. We turned to Beatport when we wanted to discover new music and download it directly to our iPods. In an effort to expand, giving artists and fans what they really want, they recently launched a streaming site as well as Beatport Live, video service that, in real time, brings viewers at home right into the crowd of festivals they are not able to attend. Mysteryland USA was the first festival in which they were able to test it's complete capabilities and we sat down with Rachel Chodowski to get the inside scoop:

DB: So what exactly do you do for Beatport?

RC: I’m the Sr. Manager of Brand Communications. So really generally just making sure we are being represented properly whether that be online or at a festival. Whoever we partner with, I’m behind the look and feel and the marketing plan behind it, etc.

DB:...And how long have you worked there?

RC: 3 years. I started as a social media coordinator. That is the best way to learn a brand and I knew that I wanted to be in branding and my boss was really willing to let me grow. So I grew and here I am.

DB: Let’s talk about the new streaming service - it was announced not too long ago.

RC: Yeah, it’s REALLY new. About 2 or 3 months. It's live. If you got to beatport.com right now… it’s more of a fan-focused streaming site.

DB: So how does it work? Is it kind of like the streaming services Soundcloud offers?

RC: Were not trying to compete with Soundcloud because we do some much more than them to begin with. So it’s not really that level but were trying to expand the streaming product to be an opportunity for ever DJ to upload their mixes and have a safe place for them. We’re trying to do all of the work on the back end so that it’s easier for everyone to have their music up there. But right now, what it is, is taking as much of our catalog as we are legally allowed to based on our legal agreements and giving it out there for free unlimited streaming, online and on your phone.

DB: Do you think this was a move to try and keep up with all of the other streaming services out there? Because before Beatport was strictly there with charts and with music available for purchase.

RC: More than to keep up, we just want to give people what they want. We have so much data about how people use our site, that we really started to see that people were just coming and… I call them wanderers. Ya know, they would come to our site and they’re not registered and not logged in; they're just listening to previews. Just 2-minute previews of tracks. And they’d be on for long enough to peruse some of the top tens and what’s on the home page. So using the data were able to say, ‘Okay, people just want to listen.’ There’s a ton of people that want to listen and that’s not going to detract from the healthy download business that we have. So, that's how we approached it. And that’s the same approach we took with the live streaming that we’re doing here. (On the grounds of Mysteryland)

DB: Yeah, what’s going on here? How is that working?

RC: So, we launched a new product called Beatport Live and we’re streaming live, now.

DB: So it’s just audio?

RC: No, it’s video. This is our first big festival go at it. We have standard campaigns that we run and content streams that we run every week from our offices but this is our first real go. We did a dry run in Miami when we had our parties at WMC but this is our first festival.

DB: How is it set up? Are there cameras at every stage?

RC: The cameras, I think, are moving around based on who wants to stream and who doesn’t. Were leaving it up to the artists so like, “If you want to stream, we’re going to stream you. Sign here and that would be great.”

DB: Did you get a lot of artists to sign up?

RC: Yeah, we did. We got a lot more than I think anyone anticipated. We kind of just want this to be an organic thing and give it as an option for the DJ’s and if they want to then great, if not then they don’t. That’s totally fine with us. Every DJ is different.

DB: Especially for your first festival. As long as you get some to sign up.

RC: Exactly, yeah. And we are live streaming some news content too like our news team is doing some interviews and some behind the scenes stuff just to give it more of a full view of what we’ve been doing here. It’s been really fun. Its really exciting to grow this product with everyone and just understand how people are using it and what they want to see.

DB: And you get to really gauge their reactions in person.

RC: Yeah!

DB: There are a lot of Beatport people here.

RC: Yeah, our team has really grown so much since we launched the live and streaming sector. It’s awesome to have really smart people behind every part of it. It just makes everyone’s jobs so much easier.

DB: And you guys have been around since…

RC: So we were founded in 2004…

DB: By the guys of Manufactured Superstar, I know that.

RC: Yeah, them, a team of developers and an ad agency that loved dance music and wanted to bring it online because they had a premonition that buying music online was going to be a thing,

DB: They were right…

RC: We launched in the winter of 2004, right in the beginning of the year. So this is our 11th year.

DB: Where do you see the company going now with all of these new services?

RC: We’ve set such a solid foundation with the streaming site and the live product that just that’s only going to help us grow with the core that we already have. We find it very important to indoctrinate our core into our vision. Everyone that I work with understands the brand really well, thankfully. Its one of those jobs that you havr tio really get it to be apart of it. So we’re always like, ‘How can we grow in a way that’s meaningful for the brand and really beneficial to artists and fans?’ So, ya know, I think the big thing is going to be expanding the streaming service to make it a platform for everyone creations and for curators to kind of be at the forefront and be able to do whatever they want.

DB: Can artists post freely on it?

RC: So, we’re gating it a little bit for now just because we want to understand how people are using it. We want to work out the bugs with people who we can work with directly as opposed to getting a ton of support emails. So were rolling it out slowly but the goal is to be a service where anyone can upload their originals or remixes and really be that playground that we know artists want. We hear it all the time that artists are looking for the next platform to work on because current ones aren’t working with them.

DB: Yeah like all this Soundcloud bs going on.

RC: Yeah, ya know and it’s unfortunate for them but then we’re like, ‘Okay great.’ The way we have grown is really understanding what DJ’s want and that’s never going to change. I think the streaming service is going to help them reach their fans and help us understand their fans which we would love to do because want to bring them the best content possible.

DB: Which is what it’s all about. And if you can have a site that is one stop shop, you’ve got it.

RC: Yeah, and we just don’t want to be lame about it, that’s our whole thing. We just want it to be a good experience for people and have great content.

DB: And you guys have that reputation already.

RC: We’re really lucky and grateful for the community that has supported us because it’s how we can grow. Everyone here is like, “This feel good. This feels right.”

DB: How do you think young labels and bedroom producers can use Beatport to their advantage? How can they get noticed when there are so many other HUGE releases coming out at the same time as they are?

RC: I think having a good relationship with the people you work with at Beatport is key and also using all of the properties that Beatport has to just give you more real estate on the site. Something I always recommend. We have a mix platform and now the streaming site. Making sure your label is set up for streaming and you can easily reach fans. Thats kind of the biggest thing just making sure you’re casting a wide net in the Beatport network. You know and you can always send your press releases to the press team. In a general sense, the more you use Beatport, the better for you. If you have an artist that wants to enter a remix contest and wins a remix contest, that’s really good publicity for them. Cause, ya know, we’ve had artists like Zedd and Seven Lions, they got their first start doing our remix contests so there is kind of a pedigree there.

DB: Yeah the remix contests are huge on Beatport.

RC: They’re really just such an interesting medium to kind of let people do whatever they want with stems and just give them away for free.

DB: How many people actually enter these remix contests?

RC: It can go anywhere from like a thousands to tens of thousands, depending on the artists and how the artist chooses to promote it. It varies but we always see a good response. I also think it’s because people like to get the stems to get them and do what they want with them. And if they like it, they’ll pass it along to us and if they don’t they’ll use the remix.

DB: How often do these contests run?

RC: Every week we have a new one. So we always have one going on.

DB: Are you guys/Beatport Live at any other festivals this year?

RC: A few, I don’t know what is announced yet. One tribe in California at the end of Sept, Spring Awakening.

DB: Oh nice.

RC: Oh yeah there (SA) were going to have a brand new stage and tons of crazy visuals so that one will be fun. As for the streaming stuff, we’re going to take this as a case and evaluate for the summer. I’m sure we’ll be streaming from other places we just haven’t decided yet.

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