First off, it's kind of crazy to know that Drum&Bass Arena has been around for 18 years. I remember a time when breakbeat.co.uk was the only source for drum & bass news on the Internets. Lots of things have changed, including the Drum&Bass Arena camp, which expanded to compilation albums, D&BTV, tours, award shows, and one of the bigger components, their digital download store. For the last seven years, back before drum & bass could be found on iTunes or Beatport, Drum&Bass Arena was one of the few digital retailers that not only understood dnb music, but would service the community with upfront selections as well as exclusive releases. Sadly, by the end of 2014, their download store will be no more.
Drum&Bass Arena says they'll be going through a reboot that will see their website and forums getting a nice redesign, but will see the download store being closed. Their reasoning makes sense: "it’s not such a great time for download stores. In fact it’s never been harder to exist in digital retail and we feel our resources are much better spent on the many other Drum&BassArena operations." As of December 12, 2014, Drum&Bass Arena will be out of the digital retail game, although "[a]ll download store account holders will be able to access their personal accounts and download any purchases until July 31, 2015." No word on how that will be happening (will accounts be available through some other site?), but we imagine you should be looking to their site or your inbox for further details.
The move makes sense; while iTunes, Beatport, and other digital retailers were slow to really accepting drum & bass on the digital side, that's no longer the case. Hell, even with outlets like Bandcamp, Surus, and other sites, labelheads can handle their digital retail operations on their own. For Drum&Bass Arena to take it back to what they started doing in the first place (keeping dnb fans up to date on the happenings in the scene), dropping out of such a time (and resource)-consuming operation like selling digital music isn't a bad idea.The problem is that this is another outlet that took almost two decades of knowledge and poured it into a retail outlet that's no longer going to be available. Sure, the labels and producers have options, but if the outlet for the niche is gone, what's to say some of these other outlets will "get it?" It will be interesting to see how this pans out—maybe Juno and Beatport will be getting inundated with drum & bass business?
Regardless, this shift won't stop the Drum&Bass Arena compilation series, though; they are planning on a Drum&Bass Arena 18 album to commemorate their 18th anniversary. And don't fret—it looks like they're going to be beefing up their other ventures, including their first Drum&Bass Arena-branded Australian tour. Check out this post for more details on all of that.