Dutch DJs spinning tunes from home to beat coronavirus lockdown blues

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In regular occasions, Dutch disc jockey Oliver Heldens performs for hundreds of followers at digital dance exhibits around the globe. However with festivals cancelled as a result of coronavirus pandemic, the 25-year-old has spent most of 2020 in lockdown producing music and streaming units on-line.Heldens, ranked by DJ Magazine because the world’s No. eight for 2020, is considered one of a rising variety of Dutch DJs to change into family names. The worldwide dance music trade is value billions of {dollars} yearly, together with live shows, royalties and gear.

An estimated half 1,000,000 individuals tuned in to Heldens’ set earlier than the Austrian Method 1 Grand Prix in July, whereas fellow Dutch DJ Tiesto carried out on the Olympic Video games opening ceremony in Athens in 2004.

In 2013, Dutch King Willem-Alexander joined Armin van Buuren, one other prime DJ, on stage throughout a live performance marking his coronation as monarch.

Such big-ticket occasions current a stark distinction to the dance enterprise of right now, with social distancing curbs forcing the closure of dance venues, lots of that are struggling to outlive.

“The entire 12 months mainly received cancelled,” Heldens advised Reuters at his residence studio in Amsterdam, the place greater than 400,000 individuals visited the world’s largest digital dance competition, ADE, final 12 months, and golf equipment at the moment are in search of state help.

“I see lots of people round me having a tough time. For the entire trade it’s very tough,” he stated.

As a substitute of touring, Heldens has launched new songs, began one other document label, hosted a weekly podcast and livestreamed from Amsterdam’s prestigious 19th century Concertgebouw.

“I positively miss the exhibits and the festivals and travelling, however on the similar time, fortunately, I haven’t been bored in any respect,” he stated, detailing remix tasks for Jamiroquai, Katy Perry and Justin Timberlake.

By staying in contact with followers, who’ve held stay-at-home raves whereas he performed on-line units, Heldens hopes to maintain spirits up throughout exhausting occasions.

“I’m very pleased to contribute in any method to that.”


Heldens, whose songs have been streamed on-line greater than 2 billion occasions, recalled embarking on his musical profession when he was finding out Greek and Latin at highschool in Rotterdam.

“On the day of ending my closing examination, I flew straight to New York to play a essential stage set at Mysteryland on the Woodstock grounds. That was a reasonably epic distinction,” he stated.

Mysteryland, which attracts round 100,000 revellers to an annual 3-day competition, was one of many first main Dutch dance occasions to go worldwide.

Final 12 months, Dutch DJs exported greater than 150 million euros’ value of enterprise, stated Marten van Garderen, the principal economist at ING financial institution who follows the trade.

“We noticed exports develop fourfold in 10 years. ..and this 12 months had been wanting like one other good 12 months till COVID-19 emerged,” he added.

Van Garderen calculated that the highest 10 DJs make roughly 200 million euros ($237 million) per 12 months, half of them coming from the Netherlands for 9 years working.

“It is a good instance of how a small nation can punch above its weight,” he stated. “We’ve the precise local weather for festivals, through which a tradition was created for DJs and that turned a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Whereas 2021 is unpredictable, there’s hope that digital dance occasions will spring again to life. If not, “there’ll nonetheless be a whole lot of new inventive music to take heed to,” Van Garderen stated.

(This story has been revealed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content. Solely the headline has been modified.)

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