In The Know: Clark Warner, Beatport's Creative Director

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In The Know: Clark Warner, Beatport\'s Creative Director

In the Know is Stereotude's look behind the scenes into the music world. Pay attention - you just might learn something!


It's no secret that in the past decade, electronic music culture has been changing the way that music is produced and experienced all around the world. And one of the most influential entities to this evolution is Beatport. Founded ten years ago, the Denver-based music portal has become an essential meeting ground for everyone from the casual fan to the arena-rocking superstar. At the center of all this is Beatport's Executive Creative Director, Clark Warner. As the company's eyes and ears, he's everywhere at once and has enjoyed a firsthand look at the development of the culture since the early days of Detroit warehouse parties. We got a chance to pick a little wisdom from his brain for our first edition of In the Know:

In your words, what is the role of Beatport?

Beatport is the place online for DJs to find what they need for gigs. Period. It also caters to a much broader audience of creative people who are either making music, DJing, remixing or trying to get discovered. It's a pro shop that happens to cater to anyone who is a die-hard fan of electronic music. It's kind of like the locker room of what's happening for the pros who are out there playing every weekend.

What does the job of Executive Creative Director entail? 

I'm lucky. In a nutshell, my job is to keep my ears to the speaker, my feet on the dance floor, and make sure we're always communicating to our users and customers as DJ's. It requires wearing a lot of different hats. My background was running independent dance labels. The label was called M-nus, with Richie Hawtin. We were mastering records, pressing records, creating artwork, creating merchandise, throwing events, building websites, creating new technologies - all of these things. We were a self-propelled brand that was very much DIY. I've taken experiences from that to hear what labels and DJs need, what producers need, what fans expect…I make sure that Beatport is catering to all these people.

Beatport Logo

Tell us how this is all a global movement.

With DJs being ambassadors around the world, that audience has a very linked spirit. Even though they're speaking different languages and coming from different walks of life, the music just has a way of binding and connecting us all. It's just different than other genres. In keeping with that, Beatport is one store. There aren't 12 different versions in 12 different currencies with different marketing every week. What you see in the Top 100 chart is the global top 100, which is unique in E-commerce. 

Is there ever a conflict between DJing and working behind the scenes in the industry?

It's more of a conflict with my family! It's always been about balance. Being involved in the process of creating art and experiences for people has been my first focus, I just happen to be a rabid music junkie and have been DJing since I was a teenager. For me, it's a necessary thing to keep listening to new music every day and DJing still has that spark that it had when I was 18. It would not be me to not act on that whenever I can. It just happens to be that I have responsibilities!

Tell us some of the things you've learned from your time in the world of electronic music.

One thing I've learned as a producer or an artist: whoever you put your first record out with is who you will have the longest relationship with in your career, whether you like it or not, whether it was great or not. That's something from the sidelines that I've seen a lot. Also, for decades it was about business people running record companies who weren't musicians or didn't have a creative gene. Now everything's flipped. Everything is in your own hands: you can be your own publisher, your own distributor, your own label, your own radio show. That's a challenge, but some people take it, run with it and are changing the musical landscape. 

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