Electronic Music has been one of the biggest things to influence the music world in recent times, with everybody dipping their toe in the genre (even Coldplay). The once underground sounds of Electronic Music have now become big business and understandably there has been a growing amount of music conferences popping up all over the world to provoke networking and innovation in the genre; Electronic Music Conference in Australia, Winter Music Conference in USA, Amsterdam Dance Event in Netherlands, and the International Music Summit which takes place in Ibiza, China, Singapore and USA. With the UK being a main hub for the development and progression of the electronic genre as well as the birthplace of some of the most celebrated electronic artists in the world (including The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Aphex Twin, Pete Tong, Four Tet, , Massive Attack, Shy FX, Orbital, Richie Hawtin, Jamie XX, Underworld, Judge Jules, London Elektricity, Leftfield, Goldie, Skream, High Contrast, Carl Cox, Squarepusher, Burial, The Orb, Calvin Harris, Sacha, Rusko…. it could go on and on) it was only a matter of time before UK had its very own conference for the genres glitterati to converge.
With a rejuvenated club scene hosting some of the most exciting DJ talent and a constant onslaught of emerging local prospects coming through each year, there is no surprise Brighton was chosen to host the event. In 2014, the UK’s first annual electronic music conference to be run by the industry for the industry was an outright success, providing a professional yet relaxed environment for both consumers and industry professionals to meet. This year was no different, only on a bigger scale. Instead of keeping the event to the Brighton Dome and Corn Exchange, conferences were also held at The Old Courtroom and the Dome Studio Theatre as well as using more of Brighton’s pubs and clubs to host official evening showcases and networking events.
The Corn Exchange was turned into an expo hall featuring 60 exhibitors showcasing exclusive tech by some of the biggest names in DJ and professional equipment including Allen & Heath, Numark, Pioneer DJ, Denon, Native Instruments, Vicoustics, Roland and Audio Technica. Other educational music businesses such as BIMM, Point Blank London and Northbrook College had their own stalls, as well as PRS for Music who were giving information on legal advice and royalty collection.
As usual the conference kept a strong focus on business and education across the two days, with panels touching on the latest developments in streaming, publishing and monetisation, live, digital broadcasting, legal, synching, social media and the DIY route (for artists and labels) – all discussed by representatives from YouTube, Spofity, Beatport, JFB, Ableton, The Hydra, BBC Radio 1/1Xtra, Hypercolour, Anjunabeats, PRS, BPI, Hospital Records, Shogun Audio, Defected Records, Coda, Loopmasta and Native Instruments among many others, as well as a broad selection of international DJ’s.
My highlights from Friday included:
- Clubs, Festivals And Events: Is It A Level Raving Field? – Featuring Deputy Editor of DJ Mag, Director of The Hydra club, Lead Agent of Coda Agency, Founder of Back To Basics, and Director of We Are FSTVL. There was an interesting debate commented on why dance music events matter now more than ever, how dance music has been around for 30 years now and how it’s not going anywhere, the different components to of DJ set, and is DJing actually DJing anymore?
- BIMM Presents: How To Start A Label – Including Label Heads from Hypercolour, Jalapeno, Toolroom, Mobilee and Label Worx. The full audience of students and DIY artists were treated to an in depth discussion about what to expect from a label, identifying revenue streams, digital management, and how being passionate and personable prevails when submitting music.
- Radio, Podcasts, And The Future Of Digital Broadcasting – Which featured legendary DJ’s Dave Clark and Above & Beyond, the Head of Programing at BBC Radio 1/1Xtra, the content creator at Digitally Imported and General Manager of The NoiseHouse. An engaging debate touched on the importance of the subject, the death of iTunes, how it is only a matter of time until Podcasts are monetized and how that could happen, what the future holds for BBC Radio as well as its licence fee.
- The Great Genre Debate – Panellists including the Editor of Electronic Sound Magazine, Vice President of Music Services at Beatport, Digital Content Supervisor at MTA Records, the A&R at Warner Music, DJ John 00 Fleming (who is also the Director of BMC) and the Data Alchemist at Spotify. This fascinating talk covered how the Top 10 has had a genre shift, how genres have almost become like brands, how genres are become jaded with the amount of micro-genres appearing, and how genres have changed from the time they were created.
My highlights from Saturday include:
- BPI Presents: Going It Alone: Artists, Labels, And Releasing Your Own Music – Featuring the Head of Digital Marketing at AWAL/Kobalt, Label Manager/Artist Manager at Anjunabeats/Involved Management, Director of Shogun Audio and the Director of Communications at BPI. This engaging talk touched on what a good label can do for an artist, understanding how much control you want in your career as well as what deal and label is best for you, managing your online content, how to finance and support your career, and about how being an enigmatic seems to be an effective marketing strategy.
- PPL Present: Neighbouring Rights Explained: Including heads of departments at BIMM College and the Education and Outreach Leader of PRS. The discussion touched on the definition of copyright, the best way to deal with who wrote the music, how an act can earn money from live performance, what neighbouring rights are, the difference between PRS and PPI, and how a DIY artist can fund their career.
- Sync Media: The Golden Ticket? – Featuring the Head of Sync at Republic Of Music, the founder of Truelove Music Publishing, Director of Leland Music and the Music Supervisor at Big Sync Music. The fascinating debate touched on how to make the most of a sync opportunity, knowing who knows the rights before a sync, how budgets have changed, looking at syncs from a gaming/advert/cinematic point of view, how it is not always about the big artists, and how data from Shazam and social media effects the business.
- Is Social Media Dead? – Panellists included the Strategy Manager at theAudience, CEO of Influence Digital, Director of Motive Unknown, and Director of BozBoz. This in depth debate touched on how social media has been the biggest switch in advertisement in generations, differences in organic and paid advertisement, what pleases Facebook, having different strategies for different social medias, how Facebook is all about interaction and not selling, the video and visual boom, how Facebook is the best value for money in advertising, how Google + is dead, how music streaming sights are becoming social, and what the future holds for social media.
The BMC also held very popular Q&A sessions with a range of music industry aficionados on the subjects of; Beatport (Terry Weerasinge), an interview with Dave Clark (DJ), a range of DJ’s (including Icicle, Luke Solomon, Paul Hartnoll) and producers (including Reso, Chris Allen, Tom Demac), Hero’s of House: Working with Vocalist, and How Changing Perceptions Are Affecting Ibiza. There was also a 'hands on' showcase with Paul Hartnoll (Orbital) on Novations new Launchpad Pro, as well as workshops with an Ableton Certified Trainer to get a creative insight into Live 9 and Push.
There were many evening showcases and networking events hosted around Brighton venues which continued into the night; featuring the likes of Dave Clarke, Steve Lawler, Tom Demac, Nick Hoppner, Alex Banks, Max Wheeler, Wiggle, C-Soul, Robert Owens, SEFF, Phil Kieran, Rebekah, Ralf Kollmann, DIY, Alex Arnout, A Skillz, Evil Nine, Back To Basics, JFB, and many more – perfect after a full day of extensive talks covering a wide-range of subjects.