Popular Dance Magazine Urb Plans Record Label

Will release several compilations from last year's Coachella Festival and fourth volume of Urbal Beats.

The dance magazine Urb will celebrate its 10th anniversary by launching a record label.

"The focus of Urb is on DJ-based culture, and so we will focus on records that speak to that," said Josh Levine, who will run the label with Raymond Roker, the magazine's founder and publisher.

The magazine, which covers a broad spectrum of dance music, from DJs LTJ Bukem and Kid Koala to emerging hip-hop acts such as Dead Prez, has released five albums in the past six years. Its popular Urbal Beats series helped introduce such artists as Fatboy Slim, Orbital and Moby, whose "Go" (RealAudio excerpt) appeared on Urbal Beats 2: The Definitive Guide to Electronic Music, to a wider audience.

Urb Music will get under way with the release in July of Urbal Beats, Volume 4, and, a month later, several compilations of music recorded in October at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, according to Levine, president of the Los Angeles marketing firm Rebel Organization Inc.

The label hopes to release music from budding artists in 2001, Levine said.

"We've been lucky that [the magazine's records] were really well-received, and so we decided it was time now to step it up to the next level and really launch a label," he said.

"The way that we've been doing records so far is we get an idea and just put something together. But without a product flow, it's hard to cover all the bases."

Levine said the lineup for Urbal Beats, Volume 4 hasn't been solidified.

At the massive Coachella festival, which featured such electronica acts as Thievery Corporation, the Chemical Brothers, Roni Size, Moby, Gus Gus, Underworld and Autechre on two stages and in three tents in Indio, Calif., "we taped all the performances," Levine said. "And have now been going back to all the artists and working out the terms. It looks like there's going to be multiple records because there's literally 100 hours of tape."

Levine said the Coachella records will be organized by genre and all released around the same time. Other Urb Music compilations to follow also will be genre-specific.

"Our focus has always been on both the commonality between the various genres as well as the vertical immersion in the genres themselves," Levine said. "That will be a big focus, whether it's drum & bass or whatever."

"They know what's going on with this music, so I'm sure it's going to be great," said Liquid Todd, an electronica DJ at WXRK-FM in New York, who also said he is a loyal reader of the magazine.

"Whether they will go gold with anything, I don't know, but if they get into hip-hop, they could. Raymond Roker and those guys are very savvy people. They're usually successful in one way or another with whatever they do. I really like the Urbal Beats stuff."

Urb Music plans to use the magazine's Web site to sell and promote its records.

"Urb.com is really a teaser site right now, but that's about to change," Levine said. "We're working on a megasite that will be the centerpiece of the community. It may involve downloading of MP3s, or people who want to upload remixes or whatever for the compilations."

The magazine, which boasts a circulation of more than 70,000, also plans to promote the label with several tours, although Levine said no dates or lineups are confirmed. Last year, the magazine sponsored the Community Service tour with Orbital and the Crystal Method.