The End of Bonus Beats?
July 28, 2009 9:33 AM   Subscribe

The "Bonus Beats" tracks on 12" singles were used by DJ's to either extend the mix of the main track, or sometimes played within a dj mix on their own. One DJ mourns their passing.

The track was usually comprised of the beats (all the drum and percussion parts) of a song, usually without the vocals, keys, bass, melody and other musical elements (though the definition was not strictly enforced).
posted by analogue (14 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
These are actually really cool.
posted by LSK at 9:39 AM on July 28, 2009

not just bonus beats but extended mixes, and actual re-mixes. And when I say remix I don't just mean some one else singing/rapping over the same song. The extended/club mix was WHY you spent so many hours in record stores trying to get original singles and not just a compliation.

Also you used to get your value from a single. You would buy a single with 2 remixes instrumental, acapella, maybe a non-album cut, and dope artwork. Now you don't even have b-sides any more, its usually just the same song repeated, maybe a "radio" version.

There are classic remixes that would not exist in today's format.
posted by LouieLoco at 9:55 AM on July 28, 2009

I'm actually seeing a lot more remixes now than before. But for the most part quality did not keep up with quantity. Now that the record label doesn't have to spend money on a final product like a record, they also figure they don't need to spend the time on the A&R process, procuring quality remixes. As a result, rather than being forced to find the best 1-2 remixes of a song to include on a 12" single, they have digital singles with 4-6 remixes.

I think as Josh implied in his blog, it doesn't have to be the end of an era, just a paradigm shift.
posted by analogue at 10:05 AM on July 28, 2009

MSTRKRFT's Bounce EP comes with an intrumental and acappella, a few of my other EPs are either all remixes, or have 3 re-mixes and the original. Half Price Books, belive it or not, is my go-to spot for Hip-Hop singles, I can pick up something for 50 cents.

I think the format will still exit, if only in niche purgatory.
posted by hellojed at 10:05 AM on July 28, 2009

Eh? Bonus beats aren't dead, though they may indeed be more rare. And extended mixes are going nowhere. Some digital DJs may not know their history of singles and remixes, and take for granted the fact they can load their "record box" with tracks gleaned from blogs, but that doesn't mean the game has changed.

hellojed - the difference (that I failed to appreciate until today) is that instrumentals aren't as stripped down as the bonus beats tracks are (were?). You have the whole song structure intact, just without vocals. You can cut and splice the digital files with ease, looping the beats from the intro, outro, breakdown or buildup, but they weren't crafted with the intent of being used to extend the song in your own set.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:11 AM on July 28, 2009

The same day Iz posted this blog entry, Beatport announced that would now be selling tracks as remix kits, reviving bonus beats for the digital realm. Of course that means you have to deal with Beatport's atrocious interface and broken ID3 tags.
posted by mkb at 10:18 AM on July 28, 2009

Ah, that's Iz of Iz & Diz. I didn't connect the two until now.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:45 AM on July 28, 2009

When I was younger I accidentally bought a whole CD of DJ Beats by Paul Oakenfold. Given that I had no DJ aspirations I was quite unhappy with my purchase.
posted by scrutiny at 10:46 AM on July 28, 2009

mkb: Sounds like a decent paradigm shift to me :) But I also liked Josh's idea of the freebe bonus beats track if you buy the single. Seems like an easier way as a producer to give people extra stuff without giving up the track stems.
posted by analogue at 10:55 AM on July 28, 2009

atrocious interface

What? I love beatport's interface.

Maybe that's just compared to satellite and planetX and other places that seemed to make a sport out of losing shopping carts I'd spent 3 hours collecting.
posted by flaterik at 11:18 AM on July 28, 2009

Beatport has two huge UI flaws: the whole thing is Flash, and you can't figure out if something isn't licensed for your territory until you checkout.
posted by mkb at 11:36 AM on July 28, 2009

The mere act of being flash is not a flaw, and the territory thing is.. dumb. I haven't run into that.
posted by flaterik at 1:34 PM on July 28, 2009

They've fixed the territory issue, thankfully. Now you can't add a track to your crate unless you're able to actually purchase it. The most recent update also added a hold list so that you can just buy subsets from your overall crate, which is a feature I get a lot of mileage out of now.

...and add me to the list of people who like the interface, Flash or no Flash.
posted by Oops at 7:04 PM on July 28, 2009

I rather like the new Beatport interface. The playlist, and the hold bin make it like I'm spending a month in the record store, rather than an afternoon. Still spend way too much time fixing the tags after I finally purchase.

Which reminds me, here's Speedy J talking about the digital equivalent of the bonus beat on their blog.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 11:33 PM on July 28, 2009

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