Black Artist Database Suspends Beatportal Deal Over Racism, Sexism Allegations

Aug 25, 2022

John Cameron

2 min read

Beatport is dealing with fallout from an investigative report on its company culture by Annabel Ross. Black Artist Database (BAD) has suspended its partnership with the download store’s editorial arm, Beatportal.

Writing for Vice, Ross compiled anonymous allegations of sexism, racism, and bullying to paint a picture of a toxic workplace festering in various Beatport offices during the tumultuous years after its parent company, SFX Entertainment, declared bankruptcy. They involved CEO Robb McDaniels, who allegedly said “African tribesmen have been killing each other since the dawn of day” during a meeting on the company’s public response to the 2020 George Floyd protests, as well as general managers Terry Weerasinge and Romain Pouillon, who allegedly accused an employee of having sex with an executive.

“In light of the allegations regarding the safety of Beatport’s workplace for Black employees highlighted in a piece published by Vice yesterday (August 23 2022), alleging racist, sexist, and bullying behaviors by Beatport management, Black Artist Database is immediately suspending the partnership between ourselves and Beatportal, pending further internal review,” reads a statement from BAD. “Once we have conducted our internal review, we will return with a further course of action.”

BAD’s statement went on to say that the platform, a discovery tool for finding music by artists of color launched in 2020, will be forced to pull out of an August 28th event called The Carni Dance “due to a license issue” stemming from the Beatport situation. “Unfortunately, the timing has meant we’ll be unable to secure another venue with as much care as we apply to our events, so we have made the decision to cancel,” it reads.

Beatport was launched in 2004 by Bradley Roulier, Jonas Tempel, and Eloy Lopez in Denver, Colorado, offering an online music marketplace as the proliferation of CDJs increased the demand for electronic music MP3 downloads. It was acquired by SFX Entertainment in 2013; the international electronic music conglomerate rebranded as LiveStyle following its bankruptcy.

Beatport has not publicly responded to the allegations in Annabel Ross’ report at the time of writing.

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