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Monstercat Embraces Categorization, and Confuses Fans, with New Imprints

In the EDM scene, news from one of the fastest-growing labels in the business has surprised and confused many followers. Canadian electronic music label Monstercat, which saw an unprecedented amount of growth last year following a rebranding and a collaboration with Rocket League developers Psyonix for the game’s new soundtrack, have announced that they will be categorizing their music onto two new imprints called as “Monstercat: Uncaged” and “Monstercat: Instinct”. However, with the announcement being accompanied by vague language offered by the label and a lack of information, the Monstercat community has been mostly left to speculate over the nature of the two brand new imprints, namely on YouTube and Reddit. The overall confusion has mostly hindered what was otherwise described as the label as its biggest change yet.

In open writings featured on Monstercat’s website, its CEO Mike Darlington has described Monstercat: Uncaged as the “continued evolution of the music that defined our early years”, and focuses on the “core elements” of live events, bass music, and gaming to “create a compelling experience for our community.” In contrast, Darlington described the Monstercat: Instinct imprint as a representation of “an important development in the tastes and interests of the Monstercat family” that will “develop the unique stories” of the label’s artists through an “exploration of art, creativity, and beauty.” The focus of both Uncaged and Instinct lie on a spectrum of tradition and experimentation; Uncaged is the brand the label intends to use for music that resembles and evolves upon the harder, bassier sounds and genres that defined the label during its early days, while the Instinct brand will be used for music and genres that stray outside of Monstercat’s box, including more melodic and poppier tracks.

Ultimately, these imprints only extend as far as branding, and do not represent any actual change to the corporate structure of the label itself. Contrary to a popular belief held by the community in the hours following the announcements of Uncaged and Instinct, the label is not splitting itself into two, and will be continuing to publish tracks under the Monstercat name with the same catalog system used since the release of Monstercat 004 – Identity. The imprints mostly exist as a very simplistic way of categorizing the different musical styles of the label, who have often prided themselves over the years in the diversity of the artists on their roster and the music they publish. They have gone as far as to organize individual YouTube channels to enforce this new system of categorization, with Monstercat’s original YouTube channel, currently sporting 6.6 million subscribers, being re-purposed into the new channel for the Monstercat: Uncaged imprint, and a brand new YouTube channel being created for the Monstercat: Instinct imprint.

Adjustments to the weekly schedule for Monstercat’s releases has been adopted as well, alongside the new changes to the label’s dynamic. Prior to the changes, three tracks were released per week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The schedule will now see four tracks released per week, with tracks published on the Monstercat: Uncaged imprint being released on Mondays and Thursdays, and Monstercat: Instinct tracks being released on Tuesdays and Fridays. As per tradition, Monstercat will continue to take breaks on weekends, also contrary to a rumor which spread before the announcement of the new schedule that the entire week, including weekends, would be occupied with amenities. In addition, Monstercat’s flagship Call of the Wild podcast will move its broadcast day from Tuesday to Wednesday each week. It is not known at this time, however, if the time of the podcast’s live broadcast will change as well.

Also unknown is the future of Monstercat’s staple series of compilation albums that release a new entry every few months. Since May, Monstercat has been releasing compilations under the “Monstercat Uncaged” name, when it was being used as a blanket name for the label’s self-described “movement” of sorts that encompassed a series of concerts and compilation albums decorated in new, stylistic artworks. The first three albums, Monstercat Uncaged Vol. 1, Vol. 2, and Vol. 3, compiled the music published by Monstercat in the months prior, regardless of genre and musical styles. With the new focus on categorization, and the adoption of the Uncaged name by one of the two new imprints, it is unclear whether the label will continue releasing compilation albums consisting all genres and styles, under the Monstercat Uncaged name or a new name, or if there will be a brand new Monstercat Instinct series of compilation albums, with the current Monstercat Uncaged series aligning its focus with the new imprint.


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