2017 has been a year in which UK-based 3 Beat has ‘matured as a multi-genre label’.
That’s according to 3 Beat’s founder Jon Barlow, who has seen his acts top download charts across the dance, electronic, reggae and singer/songwriter genres since January.
The independent outfit has built an enviable reputation in the dance genre over the years, having released a slew of hit anthems in its infancy such as New Atlantic’s I Know in 1992, Berri’s Sunshine After The Rain in 1995 and Dario G’s Sunchyme in 1997. More recently that track record has been maintained with modern day hitmakers such as Philip George, High Contrast and Sigma.
But Barlow is keen to point out that 3 Beat’s interests have always stretched beyond dance.
“If you look back throughout 3 Beat’s history you’ll find artists like Skepta, Sway, Fuse ODG… All of them were highly successful artists in their own right,” he says. “With Fuse we sold more than 1.5 million singles. With Skepta we released two of the most incredible grime LPs. We’ve had artists like that since 2010, so the idea that we’re solely a dance label has been misleading for some time.
“We try to sign music that you can dance to, have fun to, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be pigeon-holed in the dance genre, and in 2017 we’ve really matured as a multi-genre label.”
This year, 3 Beat has seen particular success in the download market, topping iTunes charts across a number of genres.
“We try to sign music that you can dance to, have fun to, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be pigeon-holed in the dance genre.”
Jon Barlow, 3Beat
Kungs reached the summit of the electronic chart with This Girl, following on from last year when the track spent 33 weeks on the Official UK Singles Chart, ultimately peaking at No.2.
Singer/songwriter Callum Beattie (pictured) also earned an iTunes No.1 in his own genre with Man Behind The Sun, while Stylo G did the same on the iTunes reggae chart with Yu Zimmie.
And, in the dance genre, Martin Jensen topped the iTunes chart with Solo Dance – a track that has more than 360 million streams on Spotify.
Barlow concedes that the download market is shrinking in terms of sales, but suggests that the format is still incredibly valuable to labels and artists and influential within the music business and wider media.
“The media still has one eye on the iTunes chart,” he says. “So the download charts have a knock-on effect for every other aspect of an artist’s career, including TV, streaming and radio. But success on iTunes also gives confidence to artists in the lead up to releasing physical product and albums. In the same way collection on streaming platform playlists is seen as important, ownership is too, and achieving both is essential for career artists”.
3 Beat’s recent success in multiple genres is a result of the modern music ecosystem, according to Barlow, who says that artists and labels are now able to reach fans directly and independently.
“Two or three years ago, we wouldn’t have fancied our chances at breaking a singer/songwriter like Callum, for example, because the avenues to do so weren’t as open as they are now,” he says. “We no longer have insurmountable barricades to get that initial momentum. When you’ve got the ability to reach audiences yourself 24/7, the marketplace is open and more even, so we can compete and hopefully notch up some winners.”Music Business Worldwide