performs at the Red Bull Thre3style at the Mansion nightclub in Miami, FL, USA, on 22 February 2013.

Stony silence is all we’ve heard since 5 Mag’s Czarina Mirani wrote about Red Bull’s decision to cut all prizes from the Red Bull 3Style DJ Battle winners and pay them solely in “exposure” instead.

Since the original story went viral, the company has been tagged in dozens of posts, and the hashtag #PayTheDJs appears in the comments and replies to scores of posts from the various Red Bull music related accounts on social media.

Remarkably, this has been a totally grassroots movement, almost totally without support from the press or well-known DJs in the House and Techno scenes. So-called “influencers” aren’t influencing shit, and that’s pretty disappointing. It’s entirely fans and working DJs who both see the importance of this and are willing to speak out on behalf of fellow DJs.

Everyone, it seems, becomes a Libertarian when it comes to criticism of the dance music scene’s leading corporate benefactor – our “sugar water daddy,” you could say.

In the meantime, DJ Konflikt‘s campaign to pay the DJ battle winners with crowdsourced cash has crushed its $3,500 goal to raise just over $9,000. He’s also challenged Red Bull to defuse this conflict by simply matching the amount raised through grassroots fundraising to pay their own contest winners:

A brilliant, face-saving gesture that could make all this right?

The result: more silence.

Red Bull hasn’t just shut down discussion of this. They won’t speak about it at all. They must hope they can starve the controversy of oxygen and that it’ll go away. There’s been not a word from the company or from one of the multiple big NYC ad agencies that promote their events. Random internet people defend Red Bull’s decision not to #PayTheDJs more than they defend it themselves. If they actually feel they can justify their decision, I suspect they would try.

So we have silence from Red Bull, silence from the people at Red Bull Music Academy and Radio and their other branding music projects, and silence from well-known DJs and influencers. As for the press: we are still the only outlet going forward (again, that I’m aware of). We can’t post a story that gets more than 5 retweets without a blog copying it. That’s how the the internet works. But this time? Just more silence.

Is the dance music scene a wholly owned subsidiary of Dietrich Mateschitz, the reclusive, right wing founder of Red Bull? (You knew about that, right?) Sometimes it seems like it.

Konflikt’s latest podcast episode discusses the latest in the fundraising campaign and the widespread silence from industry giants and media when it comes to criticizing Red Bull:

Interesting note: Red Bull Music Academy is coming to Chicago in November. There will be panel discussions and events which celebrate DJ culture. These are the events that give Red Bull the PR and branding payoff they invest so heavily in.


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