Since 1996 Kontor Records has repeatedly disproved the theory that innovative music and commercial success are incompatible. The label has shown that, contrary to popular opinion, it is indeed possible to establish long-term album selling artists in the dance sector. Kontor has risen to the status of a global player, an international electronic dance music operation to be reckoned with.
It all began as a hot Hamburg night club, a musical platform for local DJ talent, progressivly earning a worldwide reputation for superlative dance music. Names like DJ Antoine, ATB, Mike Candys, Ferry Corsten, Kaskade, Lexy & K-Paul, R.I.O., Scooter & Martin Solveig are just some of the acts who have become closely associated with Kontor in recent years. Kontor Records has become a recognized brand.
DJ and musical mastermind Jens Thele set things in motion back in 1995, opening a club for house parties in a distinguished Hanseatic commercial house (Kontorhaus in German) in Hamburg’s city centre. In no time at all, Kontor was one of the hottest addresses in town, not only for clubgoers but also for DJs who saw the venue as the perfect sounding board for their freshest vinyl discoveries and their own productions.
The masterstroke was combining the two creative forces of club and label. Kontor’s rapid growth saw initial successes for local Hamburg DJs and producers. Word filtered through to acts from other parts of the country and beyond. International producers came knocking on Kontor’s door, each additional name doing its bit to spread Kontor’s fame across the world map: ATB, Blank & Jones, Ferry Corsten, Tiësto, Spiller, Sunbeam, Trance Allstars, The Underdog Project and so on.
"We place great importance on long-term artist relationships and development, always looking to create album projects", Jens Thele explains, nicely summing one of the secrets to Kontor’s success. Generally considered near impossible in the dance scene, Kontor has consistently managed to establish artists who have broken through the one-hit wonder syndrome to enjoy lengthy careers throughout Europe and the rest of the world, selling large numbers of albums.
Take André Tanneberger a.k.a. ATB, for example. The Bochum DJ and producer has been with Kontor since 1998. His debut track "9 PM (Till I Come)” sold over 2 million copies and claimed the #1 spot in the UK charts. He has gone on to collect gold and platinum awards around the globe, selling six-figure amounts in the USA where he tours frequently throughout the year. Then Scooter, of course, releasing their material on their Sheffield Tunes imprint, a Kontor label affiliate. The Scooter story encompasses a #1 album in the UK charts (famously toppling Madonna from the top spot) and hugely successful tours throughout Great Britain, a horde of gold and platinum discs from Australia to Scandinavia, the first winners of the prestigious "National Dance Act " Echo award and a permanent fixture in the international charts.
With 23 top ten singles to their name, Scooter hold the record for the most successful German charts act since records began. Band members H. P. Baxxter and Rick J. Jordan are also company directors of Kontor Records, together with their co-producer and manager Jens Thele.
The Atzen – Frauenarzt & Manny Marc – have now taken their place on the wall of fame since teaming up with Kontor Records in 2009. Their "Atzenmusik Vol. 2" album shot into the charts at #5 and went on to reach gold status, whilst their "Disco Pogo” smash was snapped up in the US and featured on the cult series Jersey Shore!
French superstar DJ Martin Solveig also put his faith in Kontor in 2010 and was rewarded with gold and platinum for his very first release on the Hamburg label, another proud addition to the artist roster.
2011 saw the latest DJ superstar turn to Kontor Records: Switzerland’s DJ Antoine! His single "Welcome To St. Tropez" marked his major breakthrough in Germany and Austria, securing gold and platinum status in both territories. "Ma Chérie", the follow-up single, repeated the feat, whilst the "Welcome To DJ Antoine" has also gone gold in the meantime.
In a state of the art office space overlooking the Hamburg docklands, Kontor’s home since 2004, Kontor works on marketing its repertoire all over the world. An unparalleled worldwide network of label partners has helped the label score hits in all corners of the world map. New media is also very much a part of the future for Kontor. Sister company Kontor New Media has forged ahead in the digital aggregator market to become one of the most effective players in the world, taking care of internet distribution for approx. 1,000 labels, not only in the dance scene but across all musical genres. In just five years, Kontor New Media has established itself as the go-to company for digital distribution.
One could call Kontor Top Of The Clubs the mother of all Kontor compilations, as this is where it all began. Every quarter, Kontor presents its favourite dance hits of the moment in a beautifully packaged, expertly compiled DJ mix CD set. The Kontor Top Of The Clubs series is an absolute institution, regularly entering the German charts in the top 3 positions and #1 in i tunes rankings. The ongoing success story’s latest chapter is the recently released volume number 55!.
"Kontor.TV” was created in 2006 and now has over 800,000 subscribers on the youtube channel alone. With over 1 billion views, it is undoubtedly one of the most successful music formats and is now available on Myvideo and Clipfish as well as youtube. A new development for 2012 is the pre-installed Kontor.TV channel via the QTom station on various Smart TV sets. All in all, Kontor.TV can count on over 2 million views per day.
"Kontor.FM" launched in March 2012 and already has over 10,000 subscribers via the Spotify streaming service, giving immediate access to Kontor playlists featuring the newest Kontor tracks and classics from the Kontor vaults.