Friday, April 21, 2006

Greatest Hits

No updates from me for a week as I'm going on holiday to an undisclosed location (I don't want to get papped).

So while you wait (and please do wait) why not read some of my favourite posts from the last few months?

The best clubbing books
How to make a press release interesting
5 reasons why clubbing websites are rubbish
8 ways to be memorable
7 reasons you need a clubbing blog today
A day in the life of a clubbing website
The web terms that can make clubbing better
Sankeys Soap: Closing down or getting clever?

Annie Mac goes blogging

Do you have a blog yet? Annie Mac off of Radio 1 does and it's a proper one with comments and RSS and everything.

Welcome to the world of blogging Annie. Let's hope others in clubbing and dance music follow your lead. Also it gives our Tour Manager Nobby a chance to express his undying love for you instead of to me via MSN.

Annie Mac - Another reason to add to the 7 reasons you need a clubbing blog today.

Guestlist available

Don't know what this is all about? Read "How to get on the guestlist" for all the information you need.

Club: Goodgreef Presents Junior G
Venue: The Cosmic Ballroom, Stowell Street, Newcastle Upon-Tyne
Date: Friday 12th May 2006
More Info:

Room 1 Tech Trance & Techno
John Askew
Richard Tulip
Mark Maitland
James Anderson

Room 2 Electro & House & Breaks
Untaimed Society
Deep Down & Dirty


If you want to get into this event for free and you are prepared to take pictures and/or write a review then follow the instructions at "How to get on the guestlist"


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Guestlist available

Don't know what this is all about? Read "How to get on the guestlist" for all the information you need.

Club: Native
Venue: Club North, Tib St, Manchester
Date: Friday 5th May 2006
More Info: Andy Whitby, Matt Pickup b2b Stuart M, Fake DJ, Andy Hames. 10pm-4am

If you want to get into this event for free and you are prepared to take pictures and/or write a review then follow the instructions at "How to get on the guestlist"


Hi:Fi Festival - what we can learn

You already know that free mixes are great promotional tools. Not only for DJs, but also club nights, festivals and labels.

It’s a no-brainer – if you are involved in dance music you need to have mixes to give away. They give something for nothing and they showcase what is on offer.

But there are loads of places to go to get mixes and no guarantee of quality. How do you filter?

You could follow the example of the Hi:Fi Festival.

Hi:Fi has allowed us to run a mix on Gurn. It’s going up next week so keep your eyes peeled. (Why not subscribe and be the first to know?)

We will be letting our 46,000 email subscribers know about it and we are one of the top results when you search in Google.

In other words, don’t put a mix out there and hope people will come to you, put your mix where people can find it.

If you want your mix on then drop me a line.

Related Posts

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A new clubbing podcast

Turns out that our members seem to love dance music podcasts as much as Pete Tong and Gareth Emery.

Good news for Pete, Gareth and us. We found this out because last week we had a vague idea that doing a clubbing podcast might be a cool thing to do.

So we sent out a request our weekly newsletter for people to present it.

We said upfront that it’s unpaid, unglamorous and only involves talking into a microphone, yet we got a huge response.

So, this week I’ll be holding auditions (don’t call us…) and we should have a working demo pretty shortly.

More information as I get it so stay tuned, especially if you are interested in what show format we are going to use and if you are wondering if all these new fangled ways of starting conversations with clubbers actually work.

I’ll be the first to tell you if they don’t.

Related Posts

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Promoting for the inattentional blind

I noticed yesterday that we were running an advert on for a club event that happened on the 4th April.

And I run the adverts.

And I am on the site for several hours a day.

If that isn’t the best example of “inattentional blindness” I don’t know what is:

…as certain methods of web advertising become more common (banner ads, google ad bars on the right of the page, etc.), regular users develop “inattentional blindness”, seeing through the branding and focusing on the information, entertainment or tool they seek. This phenomenon becomes increasingly problematic as more and more advertising dollars are directed to the web.

Adam Eland explains how people are focussing more on content and less on adverts.

The solution?

Give people content, good content and they will engage. Throw them an advert and they will block it out.

That includes the clubbing people too.

(Link via chartreuse)

Related Posts

Friday, April 14, 2006

Guestlist available

Don't know what this is all about? Read "How to get on the guestlist" for all the information you need.

Club: Toolroom Sessions
Venue: Ministry of Sound, London.
Date: 29th April 2006
More Info: Derrick May, Mark Knight, Jim Masters, Marc Hughes, Dave Spoon.

If you want to get into this event for free and you are prepared to take pictures and/or write a review then follow the instructions at "How to get on the guestlist"


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Record Labels: How to make sure artists fail

Music, dance music included, is pretty pointless if it never gets heard. Artists won’t get many fans if they restrict the number of people who hear their music.

That’s why the actions of Island Def Jam are so bizzare.

Chartreuse tells us the tale of The Killers having their video removed from YouTube for copyright infringement. That is technically true, but it shows how spectacularly Island has missed the point.

I know the title is a bit dramatic, and I’m sure The Killers will have a long and successful career. I do feel sorry for acts without such a fan base to fall back on though.

An artist is getting out there with ZERO extra marketing from the label, and they decide its bad PR.

It’s amazing PR. It’s amazing for business. If even 1% of the YouTube Killers fans buy the record, that’s several hundred extra customers for the price of a smile.

And how many more people will they convert? YouTube fans are more likely to sell the band to their mates.

I deal with PR people on a daily basis, all trying to get stuff on They would be sick if this happened to them.

Island should be slipping MORE stuff into sites that are taking off like crazy. YouTube, Google Video, MySpace. We even have an unused media server at Gurn just waiting to host all kinds of cool stuff.

It certainly won’t be a Killers video.

Related Posts

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

How important is 10 out of 10?

The new Mixmag boss, according to the Observer blog, invented the star rating system for album reviews.

That little fact got me thinking. How do star ratings really help dance music record labels?

We have an "out of ten" rating system where users can disagree with our reviewer if they wish. For some reason, it’s hardly used.

Does that mean dance music buyers don’t rate ratings?

The star rating system is great for labels wanting to cause a fuss about how good their music is. It’s an easy to understand way of saying:

Don’t take our word for it, someone else thinks this is great too

But people don’t buy a record just because it got a top rating in DJ Magazine or the NME. The rating system is still top-down and people don’t like being told what to listen to.

So while it might be a seductive idea, the real future for labels is not getting good star ratings. The real future is in starting a conversation with their fans and getting them to spread the word themselves.

Related Posts

Guestlist available

Don't know what this is all about? Read "How to get on the guestlist" for all the information you need.

Club: South West Four Launch Party
Venue: Brixton Academy
Date: Saturday 15th April 2006
More Info:

The Main Room will be hosted by Carl Cox and Friends – Tim Sheridan & Mr.C whilst The Foyer sees one of London’s hottest breaks events Platform 12 welcome Meat Katie, Ali B, Future Funk Squad and Platform 12 Residents Clive Morley & Ladykilla + more, to keep the club vibe rocking upstairs will be hosted by Plush De Funk, Dirty Groove and Hot N Spicy delivering the best in London house music.

If you want to get into this event for free and you are prepared to take pictures and/or write a review then follow the instructions at "How to get on the guestlist"


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sankeys Soap: Closing down or getting clever?

We announced yesterday that the Manchester club Sankeys Soap is set to close.

It’s a big headline, but is it a clever ploy to get a buzz going?

The club is being tight lipped at the moment, but when you read the press release between the lines they tell us it is closing, then say something special is happening the very next week.

Also, there is currently nothing on the Sankeys Soap website.

Sounds dodgy already. Is it causing a buzz?

Lets take a look online:

Suddi on UK Dance:

its not closing down... its closing down to be done up while thy expand it.. it will reopen with flash new interior after summer, rebadged.

So it is a buzz creation tool and not what it seems.

While they might not quite have created the buzz they were after, it certainly was a sneaky idea, and it fooled me enough to run with it without checking my sources.

Good work David Vincent. Next time maybe you can get the information out to bloggers as well as the bigger websites, it might have caused more of a stir.

Sidebar: Don’t you love the power of the web to launch and then kill a story in a matter of hours?

Related Posts

Monday, April 10, 2006

What’s right with

I got some great feedback when I posted “What’s wrong with”. I promised I would reply properly.

While I am loathe to criticise someone’s thought out opinions, I’m doing it in the spirit of debate rather than a fight. After all, if is better then everyone is better of – clubbers, promoters, DJs and members.

Just to remind you, here are the original criticisms, and here is my reply:

Articles are iffy

As the main article writer, I would disagree with that wouldn’t I?

Admittedly we are focussing our attention on more, shorter, snappier, more opinionated articles. If that makes them iffy then I hold up my hands, but I would rather have a half a dozen shorter articles that generate a reaction than one that never gets read.

Not enough new photos in the gallery

Guilty as charged. I would like a couple of new galleries a week and we are not there yet.

We do get a lot of people asking to be photographers for us, but for some reason most don’t come though with the goods. I’m convinced it’s something we are doing to put people off, I just can’t work out what it is.

No automated press release uploading

Hands down: A terrible idea. While we do publish press releases verbatim sometimes, letting PR companies loose is just inviting unfliltered advertising of events. We make our money from advertising, so it’s bad.

The Gurn Bus is underused

Agreed again, although it does get out a few times a year. It was all a question of finding a market outside of the traditional festivals. We were terrible at that. We have secured a sponsor who wants us to do this too, so we be getting the bus out there.

Do you promote a night big enough to have the Gurn Bus there? We don’t charge for it.

The forums have not changed

The forums are the best and worst part of the site for me. They are always busy but always cause headaches for us in some way or another. They have got quieter recently while the main site has jumped in popularity. It’s debatable whether changing the forum layout will make much difference, but it’s worth a try.

We have agreed some changes and will be rolling them out slowly soon.

I'm also interested in getting links and infomation about building web based communities.

Users can’t upload pictures

They can, just not directly to the gallery. It’s something we need to change but it’s way down the priority list at the moment. Someone else has stolen our thunder on user uploading, so we need to find a way to make it better.

The site needs a new design

We are working on that but it’s not going to have another major overhaul anytime soon. It would take too long for too little return. The purple and orange colours and the aliens are here to stay. That is unless any web designer has a spare month and doesn’t mind doing a total redesign for free.

Also, take a look here for some more features that I like but are underused.

Gurn is a great site, and I love working here, but we still have work to do, which I am happy to admit. As usual, your comments are needed by us to help us improve. What do you think? Add acomment or drop me a line.

Related Posts

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Guestlist available

Don't know what this is all about? Read "How to get on the guestlist" for all the information you need.

Club: Goodgreef presents Paul van Dyk
Venue: Tall Trees, Yarm
Date: Sunday 28th May 2006
More Info:

If you want to get into this event for free and you are prepared to take pictures and/or write a review then follow the instructions at "How to get on the guestlist"


How to get on the guestlist

We get a lot of requests from clubs for clubbing reviews and galleries: So many we can never fill them all.

Can you help?

You can join our staff of reviewers. In return for guestlist entry to clubs we ask for a review or a gallery that is up to our intense standards.

Are you up for it?

It couldn't be easier.

I will post up the opportunities for guestlists as they arise. All you need to do is keep your eye on this blog (I recommend you subscribe to make it easier) and get in touch if you are interested.

How do I subscribe?

You can subscribe here, or add your email address to the box on the side. You can also get directly to all the guestlist chances through this link (you can bookmark it in delicious).

How do I get in touch?

Im pretty easy to contact. You can email me, use this form, write in or phone the office.

Its that simple. So if you are a clubber who has a way with words or a digital camera itching to be used, get subscribing!

I run a club night, how do I get to come down?

Get in touch with me and I will let our review team know directly as well as posting it here.


Related Posts

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Clubbing and dance music blogs

One of the joys of blogging is that you get to open a conversation with people you would never meet otherwise. In the past I have been frustrated by the lack of blogs in the industry. There are some clubbing blogs dropping onto my radar recently, so let me give out some love.

Voltage is an electro/electroclash blog with some strong opinions. As a closet metrosexual hidden in the body of an unfashionable MOR funky house lover, I can highly recommend it.

Dirty Funky Sexy is a club night with big plans. They have an Ibiza week in a hotel coming up and it's based it's website around a blog and forum. This level of interactivity is where things are going.

Disco Disciples is a clubbing blog I have just come across. It's intelligently written. More clubbers should have blogs like this one.

Related Posts

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The web terms that can make clubbing better

It's somewhat of a trusim that the clubbing industry is behind the times when it comes to the internet.

Our customers at range from the highly technically savvy to those who just about know how to send an email. Their goal is always the same though - to make some money.

Avoiding the obvious argument that it's not about profit it's about the party, how do those working in the industry use the web to make money?

I have already talked about a few ways, but here is a new one:

Understand the terms

The web is awash with exciting and bewildering terms (it always has been). Here is a brief guide to the new internet (some call it web 2.0) and the potential to those who work in clubland:

Blogs: A blog allows you to save time, save money and strengthen relationships.

In simple terms a blog is just an instant, easily and frequently updated website. They are traditionally seen as online diaries for angsty teens. As this blog (hopefully) shows there is much more. There are plenty of people who agree, both online and in real, old skool books.

Can you use blogs to make money? Yes. But the best benefits are not direct. They allow you to start a conversation with customers/record buyers/DJs/clubbers like no other medium can. Since having this blog, we have seen a huge increase in two way communication between and our client base.

RSS: RSS lets people read their favourite websites without having to check them every day. Unlike email newsletters there is no messy mailing lists to faff around with. One click and you are subscribed. Another click and you are gone. No spam, no viruses. It’s closely tied to blogging (blogs have RSS subscriptions).

Is there money in it? Not in the medium, but RSS subscribers have bought in to you more powerfully than email lists or visitors to your website. They like you so much they want to be up to date all the time. They luuurve you.

RSS exposes you to your biggest fans. And you know how important they are right?

Podcasting: Podcasting is getting big in clubland. Pete Tong loves it. It’s taking the concept of the mix CD to the next level. It's like RSS for your favourite music.

Just like RSS, fans can subscribe to podcasts and get the latest editions of shows/mixes delivered to their computer automatically. They can listen when and how they want – on an ipod, on a CD, on their PC.

It's early days for the podcasters and they have not worked out how to make money directly just yet. There are a few methods knocking about. Again, it’s about finding and talking to your biggest fans.

So it's all about blogs, RSS and Podcasting? Not quite. There are plenty more terms to digest, but as the most relevant to clubland, those three should do it for now.

How many people in the clubbing industry are using these technologies to develop and stay ahead? Virtually no one. Instead we are stuck with user un-friendly, un-interactive websites that act as online flyers. The conversations go on ignored by the big players.

If the smaller industry people get their acts together and embrace the new, they might just nip in while the big boys are busy putting the finishing touches on their flash websites.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Always get permission

I got a very cross email yesterday from a photographer. We used one of his images in our Pete Tong on Podcasting feature without permission.

It was a mistake. The licence of the picture didn’t state you needed permission (it said it’s OK as long as you credit the photographer which we did by linking to his flickr page).

Clearly I had broken the unwritten etiquette rules around photo permissions. Which I did apologise for, and we have resolved the issue.

If you want to use images properly online I recommend this page on free stock images. Don't learn the hard way like me.

What have I learned? Always get permission!

Related Posts

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

How to make money while you sleep

We are turning our attentions strongly to affiliate deals at the moment. Everything is automated and you get a kick back on every sale. In short, you make money while you sleep.

It’s good for us because we make money, and it’s good for our users because they get to buy the stuff that we review anyway. I think they call that an end-to-end experience. Whatever.

If you are involved in the club scene and want to do the same I recommend the legal high site (aff link).

It’s relevant to our audience of clubbers on and if you have a clubbing blog or website it will be relevant to your readers too. So how do you make the most of it?

The secret to making money while you sleep is to work at it while you are awake. Here is what we plan to do to encourage our readers to click through:

The idea is to start a conversation between your users about the products. If they genuinely like them (or hate them) they will talk about them. If they are good products they will encourage each other to buy them. It’s allowing your users to sell for you (while you sleep).

Of course, the products have to be good enough or no one will bother. You can’t fool people. EDIT have a good range, we just need to make sure enough of our users try them.

I’ll keep you posted on how we are doing, and if you need any info on how to do it yourself then drop me a line. I’m always happy to help.

Related posts

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Brand New Email Newsletter

Newsletters are a great way of staying in touch with your audience. We have a weekly one on Gurn.

So to practice what I preach I have teamed up with Zookoda to bring you the Gurndotnet Email Newsletter.

It's a once a week summary of all the posts on the site so you don't have to keep checking back every day and you can quickly scan the posts for anything you are interested in. Like this blog it will be packed with clubbing industry insider tips, advice and tricks for everyone interested in dance music.

So what are you waiting for? Add your email to the box on the right and hit Subscribe...