Peter Michael Tong MBE is a man who has done very well indeed for himself. At the age of 15, he played his first ever public set at a friend’s wedding – and he’s hardly stopped since. Tong is now worth at least £30million – achieved through much hard work and perseverance during tough times.
Carl Andrew Cox might not have an MBE bestowed by the British monarch, but his is also a similar story of success. Like Tong, he was also one of Britain’s early supporters of house music and, as a result, is worth approximately £20million. Both men have accomplished much in their lives – and yes, dance music has also benefitted in the process.
Now, let’s get one thing clear. Ears To The House has no issue with people in the dance music world getting filthy rich – if they’ve worked hard and contributed lots to the culture and scene, we have no problem with them being rewarded for this. But when these same people start trying to take advantage of others who are trying to go up the same ladder that they once did, there could be issues.
Last year, Pete Tong launched his much-lauded DJ Academy. He’s far from the only one to get behind the academic route in recent years – although he is probably charging more for the privilege than others. Indeed, as we pointed out in an article in May last year, inflation in this area has gone up by a whopping 4100% since 1996 – it’s no wonder an adept businessman like Tong wants a slice of this particular money spinner.
Exactly how many customers – or students – the academy has on the books remains a closely guarded secret. All a source with knowledge of the matter disclosed when contacted by Ears To The House was that sales have been “slightly above original projections and are holding up firm”. The latest advert being pushed by the academy is this one…
Did anyone else there hear Tong uttering the words “visibility opportunities”? Listen to it again by all means if you missed it – those two words seemed especially keen to escape from his mouth. And we can’t help but wonder why.
Is it because of the sheer hypocrisy of Pete Tong, one of the richest DJs in dance music, having the barefaced cheek to tell people they’re going to be playing for exposure? How many gigs did Pete Tong – or, for that matter, fellow apparachiks Carl Cox and Jamie Jones – play in their formative days on the grounds that they were “visibility opportunities”?
And what do these “visibility opportunities” consist of, in any case? Other than vague references by Carl Cox of “our international network”, the meaning of this elliptical phrase remains shrouded in mystery. Will the DJs who get these “visibility opportunities” be paid for doing so? Will their travel and other expenses be paid?
We consider these to be fair questions. After all, the likes of Pete Tong and Carl Cox would insist on answers to all those and more before they signed on the dotted line on any gig – rightly so, of course. But to be even considered for any of this, you’ve got to complete the DJ academy. Prices start at $397…
We’re still not sure what to make of the bizarre insinuation that those who decline to spend the extra $50 don’t want to “enter the business”…