HERE IS THE FUNK FROM QUANNUM
DJ SHADOW ARTICLE
New Era of Creative Control

Cerebral yet body-rocking turntablist DJ Shadow has negotiated an arrangement with Universal Music Group that makes him the label’s first artist to license his entire digital and physical catalog to sell through an artist-run website.“Obviously, there are plenty of artists with digital-download stores, but Universal has never done this before,” DJ Shadow, otherwise known as San Francisco’s Josh Davis, told Wired.com by phone Monday ahead of the Tuesday relaunch of his website. “The store is basically a break-even proposition. But I want to take care of people from the moment they click on the site to the moment they leave. And now if you are a major-label artist, you can do it, too. We have all the contracts in place.”It’s a win-win for now. With this deal, Shadow’s artistic independence remains intact, and Universal gets to keep one of its most commanding talents happy in a digital environment that is skewing toward producers and away from bankrollers. Fans now can get their hands on all of Shadow’s content in one place, and the popular Bay Area DJ gets an artist-run platform that shows off his creativity and control.The relaunched site includes a visual redesign, huge content updates in all of its existing archives, new sections like the “Guide To Collecting DJ Shadow” and the “DJ Shadow Handmade” series, as well as more frequent journal entries, Twitter feeds and video blogs. Even as he goes virtual as an avatar in Activision’sDJ Hero game, Shadow understands that the grass-roots fan base that made him an international superstar needs to be fed information at an accelerating rate.“I don’t have the first clue what’s going to happen,” Davis said. “We’re kind of making it up as we go along. If I chose to talk shit and tell stories I could tell, we could probably get a lot more traffic, but that’s not what I want to do.”Shadow’s fan base has grown significantly since the ’90s, when he was manning the wheels of steel with the Solesides collective, culminating in his epochal 1996 solo debut, Endtroducing, the first instrumental effort to be built entirely of samples.Since then, he has amassed an impressive vault of full-lengths, remixes, live recordings, rarities, compilations and unreleased content from his time with Mo’ Wax, Solesides, Quannum Projects and Universal. He can now disburse it all to the public at will, without worrying about copyfights, ads, third parties or other nonsense.But Shadow admits he’s no Trent Reznor: He still wants to maintain some distance, if only so he can get some music made.“It seems difficult for any artist to feel like they’re making an impact in this environment,” he said. “I envy the way Reznor and others pour so much into their sites, to the point they’re practically communicating with their fans on an hourly basis. But I think it’s healthy to remain a bit detached. I do wish there was more of a community on my site; I like that on some sites fans can submit their own remixes, but we couldn’t devote enough energy to it in this phase of the launch.”Shadow maintains that what’s most important to him is the music itself. So, when the hell is his next full-length coming out?“I was working on new music, but then I got distracted with DJ Hero, which went from being one mix to many more,” he said. “So now that’s all done, and once the relaunch is up and running, I can get back into the music. I’m hoping to have something for everyone to listen to, even if it’s only a track or two, by the end of the year.”
 
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