Back on Monday, Ears To The House posed the question of what was going to change now that Defected is under new leadership. So far, the Saunders era looks awfully similar to the previous Dunmore era – something that is unlikely to change substantially in the short term. But no one acquires a company for an eight figure sum with the intention of doing nothing to it.
As previously reported earlier this week, new boss Wez Saunders isn’t ruling out the possibility of expanding the events season for the company. However, we couldn’t help but wonder how much bigger it can actually be. Would there, for example, really be much of an appetite for travelling far and wide to a festival in January, just weeks after Christmas festivities?
Taking a look around what’s on offer, very few festivals take place between November and March. Defected are holding a few events in early November, but they’re in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. You also have MDL Beast Soundstorm in Dubai taking place in December – but nothing substantial appeared for January and February when we searched.
So we decided to reach out to The Insider to see if he could assist with our enquiries. This man speaks to Ears To The House under strict anonymity, but has been in the music industry since the 1980s and has worked with record labels, festivals, events – to be honest, there’s very little he hasn’t done. What does he make of expanding the events season?
He told us “Logistically speaking, the main challenge from October onwards is the weather. Most of Defected’s events take place in the northern hemisphere, which is obviously in winter from that time. Seeing as catching hypothermia isn’t an acceptable price to pay to see Sam Divine, that means they’d have to stage events in the warmer southern hemisphere.”.
“I think the launch of Sondela a few years ago was interesting. I think that could be their launch pad into doing festivals in the likes of South Africa, although it needs to get a lot bigger first. But that comes with risks of accusations of colonialism, something which doesn’t come from going to the likes of Australia.”
“The problem is that no one else is doing events either, but Defected being a smaller operator could be their advantage here. If a festival has a 100,000 capacity but there aren’t enough flights to bring them into the country, you’re f***ed. But it might just be possible to make their smaller events work.”.
Would it be possible to have events running all year round? The Insider was pretty blunt here, saying “No. I just can’t see how you’d do it. You haven’t got a f***ing chance with January. The cost of Christmas add up and everyone’s broke in January. Even if you held an event that month, how much spending power would they have? Drinks sales are important at festivals and low sales there can drastically reduce how profitable the event is.”.
Can we expect to see Defected talent scouters looking at the southern half of the globe for more talent in future? If they choose this strategy, it seems possible…