Australian DJs Adam Hyde and Reuben Styles, collectively known as Peking Duk, took some time this week to talk about how they’ve dealt with the ever-changing world of record labels and music creation. In an interview with Billboard, the Aussie duo (whose name is derived from a colloquial drinking term for describing inebriated friends), were excited that “musicality is coming back in to big dance records.” Hyde and Styles have certainly contributed to that movement, most notably with their 2016 single “Stranger”, which was released by record label RCA. When asked about how labels and record deals affect an artist’s ability to freely create, Hyde responded by saying “I think so long as you make it clear to your label and booking agents before you sign anything that you’re going to go your own way musically and so on then it should be all good. It’s also essential to make sure that you can relate to the teams you work with on a personal level.”
The cooperation between labels and artists has always been a tenuous one, but modern streaming sites like Spotify have added another dimension of complexity to the mix. In particular, Spotify has faced criticism from artists ranging from Taylor Swift to Thom Yorke regarding the way they pay their artists. However, Reuben Styles explained that “we love Spotify and the digital streaming world revolving around music. It has its ups and downs but in general I think it’s mostly good for all musicians.” On a large scale this might be true insofar that it evens the field, but one has to wonder if there’s enough money in the industry to support both the streaming sites and the labels who promote the artists.
Nevertheless, Peking Duk remain positive about their future, saying they want “to start touring lots more in Europe and Asia, and release loads more music.” Considering their recent run of success, it seems likely they’ll be able to escape the backroom politics of the industry and keep pushing out electro-house hits for years to come.