Roberto Robidat, 1st March 2018
I never taught to write this: “10 years of 51beats!“
[How it all started…]
In 2007, I felt quite disoriented. Following the close of the historic Ice Age records shop in Milan, I wasn’t able anymore to find good ambient music, being at that time an enthusiast of labels such as FAX, Rising High Records, and similar. Discussing this with a very good friend (Luca Romanò) during a basketball match, he introduced me to the netlabel scene, which I was not aware of, and that was a breakthrough event for me! Surfing the catalogues of labels such as One, Khavi, Phonocake, Thinner,… I simply got impressed by the massive quality production of new electronic music around the world, all freely available through Creative Commons licenses. During those days it came to me the idea to fund a netlabel myself, with the aim of releasing music from a bunch of friends that I was already collaborating with in the framework of local parties. I still remember my first proposal to Gollywop and Spectacular Synthesizer to start telling the world what was going on in their private rooms. They got excited, and while I started to shape-up the label’s website they finalized their debut releases (Gollywop, Spectacular Synthesizer). The lunch of the label was done the 1st of March 2008, a day that I still remember very well: we were all at the Maracuja‘s beautiful flat in Milan, with a very good prosecco;).
Since the beginning, the main objective was to promote new artists in the widest range of electronic music. Not an ambient label, not a techno label, not a house label or whatever. All of it: “an electronic experience”. This is certainly a challenging choice. But this is what we like (you will see that with our next planned releases ;)).
The name ? The name “51beats” came out from a party we did in May 2007. It was held at Area51 near Milan, and our friend Meme suggested the name “51beats” for the gig, which later on became the name of the label.
DEBUT is a ‘key-word’ at 51beats, and we certainly consider the release of (so far) 25 “debut-works” as a main achievement of the 51beats project. Later on, some of those artists have been quite exceptionally recognized worldwide. A clear example of this are the several nominations we got at the QWARTZ Electronic and New Music Awards in Paris, where several artists from 51beats have been nominated in different categories between 2010 and 2013 (Edition6: Marcio McFly in the “discovery category”; Ed.7; I Cani – later on Cani Giganti – in the “dancelfoor” category and the “Gravity and Quantum Mechanics” compilation by Robidat in the “compilation” category; Ed.8: il Leprotto in the “dancefloor” category; Ed.9: Youarehere in the “track” category. They were all at their debut with 51beats, and competing with worldwide recognized artists (Alva Noto, Arnaud Rebotini, Boys Noize, Tim Raumshmiere, Erol Alkan,…) and labels (Minus, Shitkatapult, Raster Noton, Room40, Kompact, …) was simply enthusiastic for all of us. In 2013, at the QWARTZ closing party, Cani Giganti performed live at the Machine du Moulin Rouge before Derrick May, an honour for both the artist and 51beats.
2013 was a fundamental year, when we released our first vinyl! This was a breakthrough step for 51beats. The aim was to involve internationally-recognized artists to interact with ours in order to improve their visibility. At that time we discovered that pressing a vinyl is not so easy for a pure netlabel. To get a permission to press (which is needed by the pressing plants), the label must demonstrate the payment of the royalties due to all the rights holders, and this can only be done by a Publisher, which was quite a “distant” concept for a netlabel. What to do then? We took this bottleneck as an opportunity to develop a unique publishing strategy, becoming a Publisher our-self, in a way that still permit to release works for free with CC licenses, at the same time being able to register works of artists belonging to Collecting Rights Societies (check-out our publishing strategy). We were then able to release vinyls where our artists (Plasman, Cani Giganti, Idga) collaborated with famous artists such as Adriano Canzian, Joy Kitikonti and Lucretio from the Analogue Cops, all belonging to Collecting Rights Societies at that time.
From 2013, 51beats organizes a yearly-running event that reached about 500 participants in the latest editions, during which the 51beats music is streamed/broadcasted live to all runners: an unconventional approach to widen the public of our artists.
In 10 years, 51beats published 55 net-releases, 6 CDs and 3 vinyls, by the likes of Cani Giganti, Youarehere, Acid Castello, J.Sintax&Sonambient, Crayon Mortel, Tracya, Tonylight, Martino Nencioni, Plasman, Marcio McFly, Hana Sent, IDGA, and many more. A selection of net-releases is also available in super-limited Cassette edition.
In 2017, the 51st release was celebrated with the second volume of “Gravity and Quantum Mechanics”, “…a variety of electronic jams for home listening or the club” (Dionysian Mysteries), which has been compiled by Robidat and Plasman, being the current label managers.
For our first 10 years, we give ourselves a 7/10 ;). The missing 3/10 correlates with our partial failure in establishing a “51Beats Booking agency”. We still think this is the necessary next step in order to guarantee to new artists in the electronic scene to make their first step into what is nowadays the major economic support to sustain their careers.
[1 March 2018]
After 10 years, the 1st of March 2018 will mark the release of our 55th net-release!
During our first participation to the QWARTZ in 2010, we got in contact with Jam’s , a French artist that later on released his debut-album with 51beats: “Homeless Soul” . We are delighted to celebrate our first 10 years with the release of the next ambient-IDM masterpiece by Jam’s: “Le Temps d’un Rêve”. Back to the roots: “Le Temps d’un Rêve” will be available for the full-free download and stream.
[what next ?]
01 March 2018- Jam’s: Le Temps d’un Rêve (ambient)
13 April 2018 – Marcio McFly: Space Safari (electro/techno/hip-hop)
15 June 2018 – Hana Sent: Eyes Cream (Intelligent Joy Music)
How would you like to see 51beats in the next 5-10 years? Write your thoughts here below.