Brighton Music Conference 2018 – Brighton Dome

From Thursday 26th to Saturday 28th April, the glitterati of the UK’s electronic scene and guests from further afield ascended on Brighton – a city that had a strong electronic scene for itself back in the 90s with the likes of Norman Cook, John Digweed and Cristian Vogel putting us on the dance music map. Now in its fifth year, the UK’s foremost electronic music conference, Brighton Music Conference (BMC), took over the city for three days of talks, brand showcases and networking events.

This year saw the usual feast of music tech companies as well as other music businesses showcase in the main space of the Brighton Dome, allowing music fans to get up close to the newest instruments and gizmos on offer. This also gave an opportunity for musicians to question the makers and get tutorials on the latest software.

Again, BMC was split into three main spaces for 31 talks and panels, and countless seminars over the three days. The academy theatre in the Founders Room of the Dome saw interesting subjects like ‘How to get your music signed to the right label’, ‘Getting paid for your creativity’, ‘Education – is college really worth it?’, ‘How much is your hearing worth’, ‘RAM Records label Q+A’ and ‘Interview with Friction’. The Professional Theatre in the Old Court Room across the road from the Dome, had hot topics like ‘Mental Health In The Electronic Music Industry’, ‘Is The Underground Underground Anymore’, ‘Social Responsibility with Eats Everything’, ‘Diversity Is A Reality, Inclusivity Is The Goal’, ‘Interview with Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh’ and ‘Interview with Tony & Ann Andrews from Funktion One’. The Forcusrite & Novation theatre on stage in the Dome’s main room gave insights into the tips and trickeries of music production.

Highlights from the conference included ‘Time’s up for sexual harassment’ which explored the delicate subject in detail; assessing how drugs have an effect on harassment, how to deal with and self-police harassment as well as putting in place a code of conduct in venues. SoundCloud presented ‘Experiences, Tools & Tips for building your career as an independent artist’ which gave an insight on how best to utilise the world’s largest open audio platform. Brighton label Tru Thoughts hosted a Q&A which touched on the rise of the label, the journey of a release and how different departments work together at the label. Also, radio streaming service Sharpstream had a panel to discuss ‘Sharing your creations and the benefits of internet radio’ and touched on what’s needed technically for internet radio and how internet radio is the new pirate radio.

Special for BMC 2018 saw BBC Newsbeat host a discussion with Jimmy Black (Newsbeat), Mark Lawrence (AFEM), Fiona Measham (The Loop) and Danny Howard (BBC Radio 1), discussing topics including Brexit and drug testing at venues and events in the UK. We also had drum and bass superpower, Hospital Records, host their Sonic Surgery on Friday at Dead Wax Social, which saw a full day of production masterclasses from London Elektricity, Nu:tone, Keeno and Danny Byrd, as well as a demo drop for A&R feedback. Then, if you thought BMC wasn’t busy enough, there were 20 networking events and club nights across the city for you to rub shoulders with your peers and see some of the best DJ’s around at the moment.

Iain Lauder