10 Things We Learned From IMS College – Malta 2018


18 September 2018

1. The best promotional strategies have a story

Paul Arnold (Ultra Music Publishing & Records, A&R, UK) has vast experience managing his own label as well as heading up A&R at Ultra Music. During IMS College he shared his tips on publishing and developing a winning promotional strategy. His advice? Create a consistent narrative and story throughout creative, sound, press and digital.

2. The Mambo Brothers secrets to what makes a good performance

“Having fun, being obsessed and learning how to read the dancefloor and giving them what they want”. The Mambo Brothers discussed what makes a great performance, emphasising that it takes time and a certain skill to be able to read the dancefloor and adapt your set accordingly. Researching other party scenes and bringing their learnings back to Ibiza is a key part of their approach.

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3. Facebook & Live Streaming: A changing landscape

Tobias Oxnam (Netil Radio, Director, UK) discussed the growing challenges of live-streaming sets on Facebook due to numerous takedown requests, stopping radio shows mid-stream. He posed the question – “Where is the next platform for our music to exist”.

4. The Importance of good Management

Manu Gonzalez (Artist, Spain) shared his thoughts on how vital his management was to shifting his mindset and making the leap to become an international artist. “My mind was in a box and management helped unlock that and take me to the next level”

5. Why you should get a publishing deal as early as possible

Mark Lawrence (AFEM/Black Rock Publishing, Advisor/Director, UK) and Paul Arnold (Ultra Music Publishing & Records, A&R, UK) commented on the importance of getting a publishing deal before you sign to a label in order to maximise the lifetime value of the royalties you can collect. “As you get bigger and bigger your old tracks start to bring you more money, so register them early.”

6. Over 25k tracks are uploaded to Beatport every week

Matt Digby (Beatport, Marketing & Communications Manager, Germany) highlighted that over 25k songs are uploaded to the platform every week, making it harder to stand out if you’re not building your label in the right way. Consistent visuals, a sonic signature and smart release scheduling were all discussed as a key way to ensure your tracks get the coverage they deserve.

7. The creation of elrow was a happy accident

Victor De La Serna (elrow Family, Music Director, Spain) discussed how the current elrow parties were formed by chance. With the Barcelona venue close to closing down, Juan Arnau Jr wanted to have fun with the fans and bought water guns and other props to the final events. They immediately noticed that the crowd responded well to this and he asked his father to give the club a bit more time. Eventually the production became a huge part of the show and helped elrow standout, now a global brand that can produce 5 events on 5 different continents in the same day.

8. The importance of mentors when building your business

Inder Phull (KRPT, Founder, UK) & Luke Curtis (Dance Music Photographer, UK) shared their individual journeys on how they launched and grew a music business, emphasising the importance of finding good mentors that can support you along the way. “One of my first mentors also became a client and he trusted me with a large budget. It’s vital you find mentors that can help you grow, introduce you to the right people and believe in your vision” – Inder Phull

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9. Analog Synths can be more fun and satisfying

Nacho Marco (Berklee College of Music, Professor, Spain) created a full track from scratch using an analog modular system. He urged the audience to invest in their setups and not rely solely on software. “Over the past 5 years modular setups have become very popular and you can now buy a good system second hand that will shape your productions”

10. How Dubfire successfully rebranded himself

Dubfire (Artist, USA) joined IMS College ahead of his set at elrow,the official closing party for IMS College – Malta. He discussed how he successfully rebranded himself from being part of a duo (Deep Dish) to his solo career as Dubfire. “The main thing is to take yourself seriously, adhere to your own standards and don’t let people tell you who they think you are”. Dubfire also mentioned he’s working on a new album to coincide with a new live visual show titled “Evolve”. When discussing his live hybrid show he said “this was just the tip of the iceberg”.

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