Nightlife

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In the mix

Freeloading, a free-for-all or just plain freedom?

Gas prices are impeding party funds. We’re thinking twice about ordering another $15 cocktail at the club. Even lap dances in the VIP lounge are no longer in the budget! What is a Sin City club-goer to do?! Relax … Thanks to local Vegas DJs, at least our music collection won’t suffer this summer. Though many nightclub residents have tracks available for purchase in places like beatport.com and iTunes, these DJs are still keeping electronic dance music fans’ interests—and wallets—in mind.

Spinning in Vegas for 11 years, DJ Michael Toast feels that fans always come first, and posting mixes online allows him creative freedom. “Not being told to use certain tracks is a big weight off my shoulders.” Since a full-length MP3 can be a large file, he uploads files to yousendit.com or zshare.com and provides fans the link through his MySpace blog and e-mails. “At the same time, artists need to make money,” he adds. “I am in the process of putting together a legal mix tape to be sold.”

Wait … a “legal” mix? So is downloading a DJ’s free mix going to land us a wicked fine and more tirades from Metallica’s Lars Ulrich? DJ Buckley clears up some of the confusion: “I believe that the rules are you cannot profit from a DJ mix unless you get prior approval and sign contracts with each respective record label whose tracks you’re featuring in the mix. Therefore, it is better in that respect to give away free mixes.” Buckley adds that live DJ gigs are “typically much better paying than music download profits” and offers free downloads at buckleymusic.com.

DJ Morningstar also believes free mixes aid in promoting to clubs, fans and even random people listening to his music in their bedrooms and cars. “To be honest, I’m thrilled about the impending demise of the record industry, an industry that, in my opinion, has helped turned popular music into an endless cycle of recycled garb.” Even though Morningstar says he’d love to make money off of his downloads, they serve as a much better tool to get his name out in the electronic dance music (EDM) world and a way to bond with fans.

Not every local DJ agrees that online music downloads are the way to go. Instead, DJ Frank Charles carries mix CDs with him and gives out between 50 and 100 copies a week. Though he thinks some people may not be thrilled with or have difficulty dealing with computers, he makes a valid point that when one downloads a mix, it exists as a single, often very long track containing many songs. “I want to be able to go to Track 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. while I’m listening. Otherwise, if you like a certain song 20 minutes into the mix, you have to hold down fast-forward—it’s very annoying.”

Yet, when the cost of gas prompts repeated overdraft notifications, beggars can’t be choosers. Untracked CDs can be overlooked in these times when all we need is a killer mix to lift our spirits. And for those aforementioned folks that may not be computer-savvy, DJ Jordan Stevens’ MySpace page is about as user-friendly as it gets. Fans can simply click on a graphic for his two-disc “Synchronize” mix and let the free downloading begin. “Most of what you will hear on it I do not get to play out here very much,” says Stevens, who prefers an edgier, underground style of EDM. As is the case with all of the Vegas residents the Weekly spoke with, he agrees free mixes give a DJ the chance to “put some material out that you would not normally get the chance to.”

It seems Vegas’ DJs are creating mixes to branch out from the standard hip-hip/Top 40/mash-up formula tourists are so fond of at our megaclubs. DJ M.O.S. presents streaming and downloadable mixes at djmos.podomatic.com, and Justin Sayne offers numerous mixes at djmix.net/DJJustinSayne/mixes. Anthony Mayer’s blog has a link to a live mix, and though the address is complicated, kcMac’s mix is available at zshare.net/audio; Seamless Afterhours’ Brian Hart has free track downloads on his MySpace music player.

Overall, any Vegas DJ in the know offers free music to the masses, via either podcast, download or old-fashioned free CDs at a live performance. In the near future, FunkyBadChad plans on adding a free download to his MySpace while smashBOX, aka Alex Terranova, will post a live mix at smashboxdj.com by August. “Why would someone who hasn’t heard me buy my mix, licensed or not?” questions Terranova. We couldn’t agree more. And if you still have money to pay the Internet bill after gassing up the car, prepare to have a stack of burned CDs as high as the Stratosphere.

As part of LVW’s Team Hangover, Deanna Rilling is a self-proclaimed “pseudosocialite” who isn’t afraid to rock comfortable shoes or the same outfit twice at Vegas hot spots. Read past nightlife articles and DJ interviews in her blog at myspace.com/deannarilling.

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