Money, class and music - is it really just a rich kid club?


This topic kinda came up in a previous thread but i thought it was worth revisiting after dj mag published this article.

Don’t think it’s the best piece and is a bit simplistic with some issues, such as the dj fee aspect - from a producer angle it would be slightly crazy if dj fee’s stayed the same post decline of record sales/no money in making records. Plus i find it pretty mad that secret sundaze guys are key contributors to article when they’re from private school background/cambridge/aka rich background. Could dj mag not have found some other promoters who didn’t have this background/upbringing. For reasons why read this Matt Dryhurst article, as it breaks down different types of financial security people can have (rather than having just rich and poor or working class and middle class as ways in which to understand issue).

It’s the elephant in the room but as the articles discuss, how do you incentivize people being transparent? Additionally how can these debates be guided by people who AREN’T the subject of criticism/critique such as the sundaze guys in the dj mag one. Personally i kind of fall in between the two worlds as had two single parents, where one was middle class and other more working class aspects. So something i care about & have personal experience of but deffo don’t feel i could/should be the voice for this issue. anyway just wanted peoples thoughts on this as it’s deffo been on my mind and something that needs to be discussed if this scene does really want to make music accessible to all.


“Average house prices in Hackney, the London borough that includes Dalston, Shoreditch and Hoxton, were just £46,000 in ’96, but had shot up to £567,000 in 2016, an increase of 690%”

That is impossible to justify and fundamentally corrupt. That 690% ought to be recovered and distributed as a basic income, dis-incentivising property speculation - the logic behind the rise in house prices - and afford a more equal level of opportunity for the less well off groups in the Borough. The owners of those properties haven’t contributed anything to the production of that wealth and their entitlement to it is resolutely immoral.

What’s fucking annoying is that Thomas Paine said it first 200 years ago and it still hasn’t happened.

Land Value Tax = Universal Basic Income.

We do away with property (land) speculation ie gentrification and a paternalistic state who decides whether your needy enough for the dole.

We might then see a more equitable arrangement throughout the entirety of cultural production in the UK.


any society where class divisions exist is going to be messed up because of it. subculture or music culture isn’t counterculture and definitely isn’t exempt from the ramifications of this – and if nothing is done to proof against this then they’ll only reflect it.


In Australia there certainly seems to be a gap between the legacy type / family money / privately educated etc, backed parties (who often band together and turn into festivals) growing almost exponentially, gathering corporate sponsorship and bringing out huge generic lineups of artists who do the international/instagram circuit which does harm the smaller or grassroots crews who are generally losing money on bringing out artists but putting on seriously good shows. Its an odd time.
These bigger parties/festivals are generally quite poorly secured, often a place for harassment and the punters can a strange inability to party to anything outside of 4x4 music (just teasing on this part), plus we have a massive media and government campaign against pill testing and festivals due to recent hospitalisations and deaths as these larger more commercial leaning festivals which is placing a microscope over electronic music here in general.

Think a lot of it is a natural progression but like the article says, grassroots communities needs to band together and fight to put on good parties for the right reasons and that really is happening here too. It just takes time to grow when its happening naturally especially if you don’t have budgets to promote and advertise (not even sure most would want to).

Still these monopolies from ‘legacy’ type promoters or money backed people might be around for a long time yet… Could be argued its a giant industry now that employs a lot of people maybe? I think the goal of making money certainly outweighs its contribution to a music culture in many cases.

We are starting to see some of these bigger fringe crews starting to bring diverse artists and its really a great time to be around if you can avoid certain places. We have a great crossover with these experimental / art scenes and fringes of club music which is fantastic.
Not much you can do about these gaps in class but hope the middle/upper classes have some perception or awareness about what they are doing and how it can look to others who have grown up in a different life and try to be inclusive to those who may be seen as less educated but still enthusiastic


agreed – the main common problem in all of the issues pointed out is economics, rent and therefore disposable income

the bit on record and rave prices is a good example – in the grand scheme of things £15 really isn’t that much! Check out dreamscape flyers from throughout the 90s, that must have been a small fortune 25 years ago. Of course, the difference was disposable income.


membership model to club ownership and nights could be way forward - exclusivity seems to go against ‘openness’ of the culture - bit too “Berlin” maybe - but affords a stable financial base (and solidarity) for organisations behind the production of these spaces


membership models could be means-tested, but instead of using just to determine whether poor people are deserving or not - predominant way welfare states employ it currently - it should determine whether people are too rich, and charge them a premium to join, which would then subsidise the membership of individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds.


u could also do the 924 Gilman model, where membership can be just paid for a few dollars a month but attendance to all shows can be easily waved by volunteering for the day (as a member or non-member) and helping the crew put up and take down and serve stuff. promotes not only economic stateability but active communal running of the org, and obv volunteering gets people as a gateway of becoming a dues-paying member and joining the democratic org meetings and voting


The Gilman changed my life. Highly support this model. Big thing to add is that the Gilman venue punks would often travel to Ashkenaz, a world music reggae venue nearby, and cross pollination would commence. Musical scene ecology. Lots of wisdom about bookings and music game knowledge was learned from elders there.


it wasn’t a small fortune, we had loads of disposable income back then. you can look at it like this, working in a rubbish low paid job, well not rubbish i really enjoyed it, but a low paid job i got £180 a week, my rent on my good flat was £175 a month. now the minimum wage is about £260 and that same flat is £800 a month.

so in 99 £15 wasn’t an issue because living was really cheap, now it is an issue because no one gets paid what they should.

if things were all in context minimum wage would be £720 a week or something like that…

we are being slowly fucked through the back door, the £15 isn’t the issue, the £260 is


for sure… great to hear it from the horse’s mouth