Diplo’s social media panel gets super-awkward

UPDATE: Diplo’s posted a statement on his Instragram, explaining: “I have nothing against Bl3nd…my points were not about him particularly, they were about social media not meaning shit. Mad love to Bl3nd for doing his thing.”

“A lot of people inflate their numbers,” Diplo told the room in his typically laconic style at the IMS Engage conference in Hollywood today. “You don’t really want fake Facebook fans; they don’t buy your records.” The Mad Decent boss was sitting down for a conversation with Instagram founder Kevin Systrom to find out where music and social media meet.

In Diplo’s opinion, electronic and rap artists have used social media most skillfully in the music world. However, things got heated when Diplo mentioned that L.A. identity DJ BL3ND’s three million Facebook fans don’t stack up to the size of the shows he plays (“I’m pretty sure I’m bigger than DJ BL3ND,” he quipped, having earlier made it clear he’s a fan), before one of DJ BL3ND’s team popped up in question time to reel off the large-scale shows his client does play. Cue an extended awkward moment. After the session, a physical fight even broke out between members of both camps.

Earlier, on less controversial ground, Systrom asked Diplo where he sees music heading. “Now I see a complete breakdown of genres,” he said, quoting Major Lazer’s recent set at Miami’s Ultra Music Festival where they had a large crowd turning out for “everything from hip hop to soca to dance music”. He also added, though, that his favourite stage at Coachella was with “the minimal techno guys”, namechecking Julio Bashmore as leading a deeper “vibe and sexiness” in contrast to the pop dance explosion.

“I don’t have reservations about working with any artists,” Diplo told the room. “I don’t like my fans to control how my music sounds. I feel people are scared to put out a record unless it’s tried and tested. Critics are our biggest fear. I don’t really care anymore; I just do what I do. I never aimed to be a pop producer.”

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