David Guetta: Big Business
Clearly David Guetta didn’t get Pete Tong’s memo. Just as the enduring BBC dance music authority decried the corporate gold rush that’s affecting EDM internationally last month saw high flying Frenchman Guetta reveal his latest venture, the appropriately titled ‘My Product Placement’ startup that works to further facilitate advertising and product syncs in music videos and artist attachments. Such a turn for Guetta was hardly shocking – after all, since crowbarring open the door to the mainstream Guetta has been sure to make hay, and cash, while the sun shines on him; partnering with companies and initiatives (who could forget Fly Me, I’m Famous or Guetta’s energy drink sponsored documentary Nothing But The Beat?) that have only served to grow his profile and reach around the world.
Truthfully, Guetta is a DJ, producer and most recently a businessman and perhaps the order of those three roles is changing. When I put such an equation to Guetta during our interview ahead of his Creamfields festival tour the Frenchman’s response is noticeably frosty, cuffing a leading comeback and asking, “What makes you say that I’m a ‘businessman’?”
It’s not just savvy integrations and brand connections which have bolstered this image of Guetta as the DJ businessman, he also has a developed personal brand and that of his Ibiza club night and mix series Fuck Me, I’m Famous the brilliant block letters of which still mean something to house fans on the island every summer. Just added to Guetta’s portfolio is his new “electronic only” record label, something the mogul playfully insists goes against the idea of his business acumen.
“To be honest I don’t think the label I’m starting is a great example of good business – it’s just an electronic label…I’m not going to make even €1 out of it. I’m just doing it for fun. That’s not what I call a business. You know, it happens very often that people start a project with the goal of making money from it and then don’t make any money so I’m starting with the idea of not making any money at all. I’m not even trying. I don’t think that makes me a very good businessman.”
Sure, David, but what about your other interests like your Ibiza party and the David Guetta brand? Do you find that the business side of things is becoming more and more a part of your life?
Well I think that I am just doing really good at the moment. I’m selling a lot of records, my party in Ibiza is doing well and my DJ tours are good. I don’t think of that as being as a businessman, I think of that as being a successful artist.
You’ve been a DJ for such a long time but it’s only in the last couple of years that you’ve reached this next level of success and hit that superstar status; have you found it difficult to fully adjust to that fame and that fortune?
No, money’s really not a problem. It’s very easy to adjust to that. I can tell you that I’ve been poor and I’ve been rich and I like it better when you have money. When it comes to being ‘famous’ – that’s not really important to me, to be honest. I don’t even really feel it because I spend a lot of my time in studios and playing gigs. I can see that when I’m onstage and there are thousands of people in front of me, there to see me, but I’m not going out and trying to be seen and be photographed. I want to spend my time making music so there has not been a very big change for me.
I was reading the Forbes piece they ran on you…
Oh, Forbes? Really? I haven’t seen it!
Yeah, it’s out and it’s an interesting article where they talk about the EDM boom in America. You’re right there watching it grow bigger and bigger each year – do you think that there is a bursting point to this success we’re seeing right now or will it continue to grow?
I believe it’s going to get bigger and bigger, 100%. When I started to mix electronic music from Europe with these urban sounds from America it was a really new thing and it set the standard for pop music to the point where it’s like every artist now wants that sound. It’s crazy. It’s like hip hop. I remember a time when pop singers couldn’t make hit records without a rapper invited on it. That’s kind of what’s going on right now with DJs and producers. Our world has become so big and the pop world is trying to adjust to it. I don’t want to say that it’s forever but it’s really the biggest thing right now and as people discover it and it gets bigger and bigger I don’t see why we can’t be around as long as hip hop and have that power.