Does Techno need Corporate sponsorship to succeed?
Mainstream versus the Underground. Credibility versus profit. It is the universal paradox that any creative pursuit must deal with when confronted with success. And that is the growing pain the Techno community is dealing with today. There is still the stigma of “selling out”, especially in such a purist, (some would say elitist) scene as the Techno community.
The term “Business Techno” is a popular internet moniker for DJs that are perceived as sell-outs because they are sponsored and advertise brands. But is this moniker really as disparaging as it was meant to be? Or is it just an expression of jealousy at the natural evolution of a genre into a billion dollar industry?
Spanish DJ, Regal, lashes back at his critics who claim he has become too commercial. “Guys wake up!” exclaims Regal. “Techno music is a business and it can be a bigger business.”
The Business of Techno
It might be hard to grasp the concept of such an underground movement as the Techno scene having such a symbiotic relationship with capitalism. But the truth is that Techno, along with all EDM subgenres, would probably not be able to survive without corporate sponsorship in today’s society. Whether it's festivals, clubs, or just DJs themselves, it is hard to survive in the entertainment world without a brand name hanging around your neck. As a matter of fact, during the pandemic, the most reliable way to make money was through corporate sponsorship. Festivals were cancelled. Clubs were closed. The best way for a DJ to make money was for them to stream their set with a product banner hanging in the background.
The reality is, the only way Techno DJs can get paid what they actually deserve is through a corporate. They even have the potential to become millionaires! You can’t get to that status from a DJ fee and drink tickets.
One Hand Washes the Other
EDM in general has never been as popular as it is today. And, of course, the corporate world has taken notice of its potential power to sell products. Dance music DJs are some of the biggest influencers on social media. What better way for companies to get their brand across than to put the product in the hands of a DJ on instagram. And no matter if techno purists insist about the integrity of their music, being a DJ is the same as any other job. It is a way to make money. So why shouldn’t the person at the center of the party endorse Red Bull or Pioneer or Nike if it means more personal financial stability? Does it make any difference in the music they spin or the party vibe they create? Not if they still have the passion for Techno.
So it is not a corporate takeover of Techno, rather a corporate merger. And it’s not selling out. It is growth, the key component in all capitalism. Yes, capitalism is a dirty word for those who wish to keep the artistic purity of something they consider “their own.” But if Techno is to grow and reach markets and people that it can’t do just by exclusive raves, then corporate sponsorship is the key factor in Techno’s eventual world wide take over.