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"It was definitely not doing well. It was mostly because everybody was doing the same thing," says DJ Hardware. "In general, I think distribution on a whole is suffering tremendously -- at the store level, at the buyer level -- and there's inconsistencies at the music level.... It's really unpredictable." As a result, he has cut down on manufacturing costs by limiting his press runs of new titles to the number of orders he has received for them. Like Fox, he has also picked up more distribution accounts for imprints like Hamachi Records. "It was a better move for us because we control the competition," says the DJ, pointing out that he now has a better position in the local progressive dance market.
Substance Recordings owner Greg Chin, a.k.a. Stryke, has earned considerable acclaim from dance music fans and the international press for his label, which has released tracks from tech-house DJ Raymond "Sheeno" Fong, DJ/producer Ant-Eye, and himself. But that hasn't saved his business from going in the red. So late last summer, he halted production and moved his imprint to Paris, where he hopes to have three new releases out by next April.
"There's a bigger consumer base [over there] to buy those kind of records," he says, adding that he plans to commute between South Florida and France. He also believes that the industry-wide decline in sales is less of a problem in Europe. "There's still a lot of people buying. The music is part of their culture," he says. "Even though the labels are having problems over there, it's not as much of a problem as it is here."
Stryke knows he'll get flak for abandoning the city that has supported him for so many years. "It was a difficult decision because I know I'm going to take heat for doing it, but I know why I'm doing it," he says. "If we were just doing it here, the label wouldn't survive."