Laidback Luke's record label, Mixmash Records, has been rocked with a scandal regarding promotion surrounding the latest release, Laidback Luke & Tujamo S.A.X. The largest portal for electronic music, Beatport, removed the song from its store temporarily and re-added it shortly thereafter once the service deemed that Mixmash Records had violated Beatport's policies regarding chart eligibility. Mixmash Records has responded to the allegations of impropriety and denies any wrongdoing but the damage has been done.
Laidback Luke and Tujamo's single, "S.A.X.," was released exclusively on Beatport Monday, Jan. 5 and quickly started rising up the charts. It shot up to the number five position by that Friday, Jan. 9. This is when Mixmash started to run a promo where fans could get their money back if they purchased the song. All they had to do was send their receipt to Mixmash Records and they would be refunded the full amount of their purchase.
Mixmash contends that this promo isn't different from other labels and artists who give away mashups and giveaway entries for shows or festivals with the purchase of a certain track. They also contend that the refunds were not a major part of the track eventually making it to number one, rather, it was the buzz that the promotion generated for the track that was the driving factor.
"The campaign was never intended to generate more sales, we frankly don't believe that people would be swayed to purchase a record they weren't planning on buying anyway - the total of 33 requests for refunds underlines this fact. The hundreds of records we sold that day to people that never bothered to ask for their money back proves that."
Beatport released a statement as to why they took down the track.
"While conducted in the open from a reputable label with no history of artificially influencing sales, the campaign impacted Beatport policies regarding chart eligibility. Out of fairness to other labels, Beatport had no choice but to remove the track from the store as a result. The decision to remove the track in question was not to punish Mixmash Records, Laidback Luke, or Tujamo, nor should it be seen as an accusation of any wrongdoing against any of the parties involved. The track was re-added shortly after with a new track ID to reset the chart position."
Normally, being taken down from the charts and re-added to the store is not that big a deal since none of the purchases were nullified. In this case, it does matter because topping the charts provides prestige for a label or an artist and is a self-fulfilling purchasing prophecy for consumers who only browse through top 100 lists. There are industry rumblings of rampant cheating in the charts, despite Beatport's best efforts to stamp it out, but the chart still remains important.
The Beatport top 100 is like the DJ Mag Top 100 Djs -- everyone hates on it because it is so easily manipulated, but at the end of the day it is still the standard and remains very important.