Last week, an interview with M83 by Consequence went semi-viral after he shared his thoughts on the EDM community and respective DJs who regularly play his 2011 hit “Midnight City” in their sets.
To refresh your memory, he said, “For me, the struggle with being a successful artist with that album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, and especially with that track, ‘Midnight City’, is that all of a sudden, I had this huge EDM following. EDM is probably one of the styles of music that I hate the most. All of a sudden, I have these bro EDM DJs playing my music, and I just can’t even care less. Sometimes I wish that I could erase that fan base but I don’t think it’s possible to do that.”
Yesterday, he shared a follow up on Instagram stories addressing the interview and the backlash he’s been receiving for his words. “I do not hate the EDM community, no!” he says. “I’m forever grateful for the love and support. I’m French and my English sucks so sometimes the journalist has to figure it out… and it often comes up wrong. Apologies for that.”
As part of the community, I appreciate the apology. However, the then doubles down on DJs, “What I do hate though is that community of DJs using my songs without any permission, waving their hands at the crowd and doing nothing but pressing a f****** button. This I truly find disrespectful and gross. […] When you use someone’s music maybe you can ask first, no?”
Part of M83’s hate for DJs playing his music appears to be a gross misunderstanding of how rights management and royalties work. Festivals, venues, even small bars and restaurants pay license fees to organizations like BMI and ASCAP who handle, among other things, performance royalties for artists. By holding these licenses, the original artists get paid for their work. No DJ has to ask to play a song (in the vast majority of circumstances), especially in an establishment or setting that holds one of these licenses.
“If I was a DJ playing in front of a huge audience I would like to ask before doing anything .. I would be too scared to offend artists,” he continues. “But maybe I live in a fantasy world … the story of my life.”
From an outside perspective, it’s hard to believe he doesn’t understand when French DJs like David Guetta, Daft Punk, Madeon, DJ Snake, Kavinsky, even legends like Laurent Garnier, have surely been in his sphere of observation at some point. But we also just don’t know. Hopefully this experience will be an educational moment for him as he tours his new album.