Kaskade – The Free and Independent DJ

Portal Focka/Flickr

Portal Focka/Flickr

After running into copyright issues on SoundCloud in early June, the DJ sets his sights on a self-produced music sharing platform.

When his contract ended with his record label Ultra after eight years, the Billboard chart topping DJ Kaskade uploaded various remixes and some old original tracks to his SoundCloud account, only to have most of his music on SoundCloud taken down by the website’s “automatic content protection system,” due to copyright issues with Ultra’s lingering rights to Kaskade’s music.

On June 4, Kaskade, also know as Ryan Raddon, tweeted:

After his recent split with Ultra, Kaskade embarked on a Redoux tour, at various small clubs around America, to revive the intimate era of the dance music scene he started out in. At the end of Kaskade’s 2014 Redoux tour, which just wrapped up this May, the DJ streamed all of his albums to his YouTube in another effort to bring free music to his fans.

If In Doubt, Start A Music Service!

The SoundCloud incident was only a minor setback for Kaskade. The same day that most of his SoundCloud music was taken down, the DJ announced on Twitter that he was starting his own portal in which to share music.

While Kaskade continues his efforts to bring back house and dance music to it tight knit roots, he also plans to bring this intimacy to the masses. In an interview with THUMP, Kaskade’s plans were explained.

“Raddon [Kaskade] is referring to his plans to build a comprehensive website where his music will live, independent from the long-armed reach of both record labels and music-hosting services like SoundCloud,” said Vice writer Michelle Lhooq.

Going Back To Your Roots

This intimate time that Kaskade is referring to first came at the start of his career in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

This initial career stage is a crucial time for any DJ, a period when giving out “free” music is more of a necessity than a choice, but usually this anonymity and lack of institutional support means the musician still has ownership of their music—Kaskade is ready to bring back the control.

In a recent Tumblr post, Kaskade touched on the sacrifices required when fames calls and the time comes to sign with a label. “When I signed with Ultra, I kissed goodbye forever the rights to own my music. They own it. And now Sony owns them. So now Sony owns my music. I knew that going in.”

Kaskade is in a privileged position to return to his roots. He is an established DJ with 645,000 followers on Twitter, and 789, 671 followers on SoundCloud. Kaskade’s initial plans to release his Redux EP on vinyl only was met with backlash from fans, yet many still went out to buy the record.

Any leftover resentment was quelled after Kaskade announced the EP’s additional late June digital release. Secure in his fan base and previous record label support, it is a sensible move for Kaskade to take his music and promotional approach into his own hands and back to the roots—he knows he will not lose his fans.

The Benefits Of Taking Your Music To Smaller Venues

Although he may lose money playing smaller venues, Kaskade plans for a more hands-on role in the music industry have nothing to do with financial gains. He simply wants to make music; for himself, for the people, and give them access to it, whenever they want. No legalities, no contracts, no rules, just music, Kaskade style.

Kaskade’s new platform for his music has yet to debut and the DJ has been quite secret about his process for the music portal. While we do not know his method for creating this new platform, we know the reasons. If Kaskade’s new platform allows the DJ the musical and sharing freedom he seeks, other established artists are sure to follow.

Niko Nelson

Niko Nelson is currently a MFA student in Los Angeles with an unrelenting devotion to music journalism of all genres. Although punk rock holds forever a place in her soul, she is passionate about the many subgenres of electronic music.