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Clubbing TV - Stêphane Schweitzer

Director Interview: Clubbing TV’s Stêphane Schweitzer talking

If you’re an electronic music fan, there’s every chance you’ve encountered Clubbing TV at some stage over the past few years. A veritable treasure trove of quality footage, the channel is now ten years old, an impressive feat in an industry that’s known for moving fast. Much of the channel’s success is attributable to their refusal to stand still. This is very much apparent from their latest move, In brutally simplistic terms, offers DJs a free method of broadcasting their sets to the world wide web, all the while giving them an opportunity to raise royalties themselves. So what else is happening with the new venture? We put some quickfire questions to their director, Stêphane Schweitzer, to find out a bit more… 

Connect with Stéphane Schweitzer on Instagram | website

Congrats firstly on Clubbing TV reaching 10 years. No mean feat in this industry. Let’s start by talking about where things were ten years ago. What motivated you to start the company? How influential were competitors such as Dance Television, Boiler Room etc?

Back in the days when we started in 2010 we had 4 main competitors: M6 Music Club, Dance TV, Dance Trippin and Boiler Room. At the beginning it was tight but after 10 years we don’t consider them our competition anymore, one closed because it was only broadcasted in France and we grew rapidly in our home country, one went bankrupt and we acquired all its content, one was a pure web player and not a TV competitor, and the last one was mostly only strong in its home country while we quickly reached a global expansion with 30 countries after five years and now 50 countries after ten years (and seven more to be announced soon).

In spite of the advancement of the Internet, Clubbing TV has remained hugely popular. What do you attribute all this to?

While many of our competitors decided to go for a certain genre in the electronic music world, we always wanted to be eclectic and represent all the different genres of electronic music, from chill-out to hardcore, from deep house to techno we always made sure that Clubbing TV would represent every electronic music style. I think it was one of our strength along with a very strong linear TV format including a lot of variety of shows in the programming such as lifestyle documentaries/reports/talk shows / DJ sets / festival retransmission… as well as a highly curated hand-picked music-videos playlist.

How do you decide what music is covered on the platform then?

Our editorial team decides what kind of music can be broadcasted on Clubbing TV. We have a team handling the music-videos and another team taking care of the live shows. Clubbing TV is very eclectic within the electronic music genres. 

Let’s start chatting about a bit. By the sounds of it, it’s going to give a lot of power not just to bedroom DJs but also to professionals too. Can you tell us a bit about how it differs from other streaming systems? And what are you most looking forward to about starting with it?

The huge difference with other streaming platforms is that we are able to offer not only live streaming on but live broadcasting on TV as well. When you can offer to DJs, artists, clubs, festivals to use with the possibility to have their stream broadcasted on Clubbing TV simultaneously as well, it will bring them an additional exposure in more than 50 countries around the world where Clubbing TV is present as a traditional TV channel as well. To my knowledge no other live streaming platform as of today an offer this.

Can you give us some insight into the technical issues that needed to sort out before you went live? Or was it a fairly easy job for your developers?

We wish it was that easy! Handling the time-zones was a tricky part… or seeing the chat making too many requests to the servers as if it was a brute force hacking attack gave nightmares to our developers and our team. But now we have a very stable and reliable platform so we are confident that we can offer a great product to the streamers and the viewers.

What’s the biggest challenge with going “live” as opposed to prerecorded sets? Is there always a danger something unfortunate might happen in that case?

There are always last-minute problems when you go live. We’ve been doing this for many years now and the team still encounters new issues! The internet connection is often a great unknown when we travel somewhere to live-broadcast or when we work with someone streaming from his home. 

The internet connection is often a great unknown when we travel somewhere to live-broadcast.

Also, in video you can encounter many different types of problems giving you the biggest headaches ever! But at the end of the day, the most important thing is that we never gave up and we have always solved those problems, even sometimes 3min before the beginning of the stream! 

50 different countries broadcast Clubbing TV. Do you have aims in mind with what you want to be doing with 

We don’t have aims in mind, at Clubbing TV we are passionate about electronic music and about what we do, we try to do our best to do things professionally in order to give the best experience to our viewers, artists and partners, it will be the same for, for sure it will be easier to reach more than 50 countries for a web platform compared to a TV channel but there are some other challenges as well for such a platform.

You’re right in saying that the new content policies often restrains DJs. How are you guys managing to get over this? And is this something that’s been an issue at Clubbing TV before?

Yes, it was an issue, to be honest, we were already tired of being shut down by Facebook or other platforms during our live broadcasts from festivals. It was very frustrating because we already had all the necessary agreements in place for the broadcasting of Clubbing TV as a traditional TV channel and online, paying thousands of euros of music rights per month in order to respect the rights of all the actors of the music industry but still we were shut down anyway in the middle of a set, it was quite unfair compared to so many players that are broadcasting and streaming without any agreement at all, and very frustrating. That is why we decided to create our own platform before the pandemic, we needed to be able to manage everything from A to Z without any external content ID system which wasn’t aware of the broadcasting rights we have.

How conscious are you of the issue that musicians need to get paid? Is going to assist them in this regard?  

One thing is the sums that a platform can be payings to PRO and collecting societies and another thing is how this money is distributed among the musicians: authors, composers but also the publishers and all the copyright chain. It’s easy to pay, but less easy to make sure that the money falls in the right pockets! We have the chance to have more than 25 years of experience in the music industry as we also run 8 music recording labels, 3 studios and a publishing company with another company so we certainly know how hard it is to make sure to collect all the due rights properly. There are a couple of startup companies currently working hard to build tech and audio recognition AI to make sure that the digital platforms can help the PROs and collecting societies to distribute all monies more accurately, we are in close connection with some of them, we will, of course, assist as much as we can.

You’ll also host live performances, talk shows and 3D virtual experiences each day — how will you manage all this? 

We broadcast some of our Clubbing TV shows on to ensure that there is always something to watch on .live. Our 3D virtual experiences, called ELSEWHERE, are produced by our Clubbing TV India team with Pixadoo, Vj Kaycee & Minitech recordings. The guys are doing a super job with new virtual venues each episode and talented artists, it’s worth the look! 

Can you tell us a bit about who works at Clubbing TV and their role in the new venture? 

We have offices in Paris, Ibiza, Bulgaria, Mumbai and Manila. In Paris we have Laureline in charge of the editorial, Ludovic our music video artistic director, Wylliam our marketing manager, Tony & Florian our video editors, Nassima our accountant and office manager, Gael our graphic designer, Jerome our web designer, Emmanuel who is in charge of the distribution of the channel, and me as the CEO.

For more information on Clubbing TV, check the website here. For more on Clubbing Live check here.

The programming team is now in Bulgaria with Nikolay and Ayshe, they handle the playlist, programming and playouts according to our monthly schedule. The social media team is in the Philippines with Sean. In Mumbai, we have Sanjay from Clubbing TV India, and then we have our local team in Russia and in Ibiza with Joao and Kris as well as David and Mar, our partners from Pure Ibiza Radio FM with whom we share the same offices and studios in Ibiza.

What’s next for Clubbing TV and Where do you see it all going from here?

The TV channel is performing well and expanding, and now that the live streaming platform is on track, our next project will be to open a DJ School, we want to help music lovers to learn how to DJ, to create their own tracks or improve their mixing and mastering skills. It will be a multilingual platform and the students will have the opportunity to register for an exam and get an state-recognized certification. But that’s enough info on the school for today, I wasn’t supposed to share that yet 😉

Thanks for your time!

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