1. The Continuous Rise of Dance Music Despite Major “Bubble Breaks”
As always, the 2016 Business Report (presented by Kevin Watson) was an enlightening and informative look at the electronic music industry as a whole. Despite major shifts in the dance music landscape (such as the fall of SFX and changes at Beatport) dance music as an overall industry continues to rise.
Today, the industry is worth $7.1 billion which is 60% more than just 3 years ago. In addition, dance music has continued to grow faster than any other genre in the UK while electronic music dominated Spotify across the board (with Major Lazer’s “Lean On” being the top streamed song).
2. The Beginning of Space Ibiza Was Not Easy
An undeniably huge topic for the island this year was the forthcoming closure of Space Ibiza. The iconic club has seen 27 years and built itself as much more than just a venue – rather, a legacy – and founder Pepe Rosello came together with longtime friend Carl Cox and manager Lynn Cosgrave for an emotional discussion and paid proper homage to the club.
“In the beginning of Space, we were not very successful and it was hard,” Pepe shared. But with the help of Carl and his incredible talent and “constant quality” that Lynn explained Pepe provided through almost 3 decades of operation, Space rose from a simple, struggling club to an iconic global staple of nightlife and dance music culture.
“27 years will remain in our memory forever. Big acts die at 27 like Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse. They die, but their music remains forever. So, for us, this 27 means that this is our last year, but all the sentiments, all the music will remain still. The spirit will remain forever.” – Pepe Rosello
3. Erick Morillo Got Really, Really Honest
Erick Morillo took the stage at IMS Ibiza to tell his own deeply personal story about addiction which spread across the web as the day’s undeniable headline. Morillo explained that his addiction to ketamine was spurred on by his wavering confidence as younger DJs began to grow in success at a faster rate.
“When all these young DJs were all of a sudden blowing up and eclipsing me – my ego couldn’t take it. My ego couldn’t take that I wasn’t the top dog anymore. That’s when things started to unravel. Then I started making music I didn’t love and playing music I didn’t love. That’s when things started to get really bad.”
After sharing shocking stories like being banned from British Airways, getting arrested and nearly losing an arm, Morillo explained that he attempted rehab three times before finally recovering. Now? He gave one general warning to everyone and anyone listening.
“One of the biggest things for me is that I never thought I would be that person. I used to watch the E! True Hollywood story and think, ‘How could they let their life go like that when they have everything?’ Don’t think anyone is immune to that. We’re all at risk. It’s just about dealing with your personal demons.”
4. Yello Made a Track On Stage Using Only Boris’s Mouth
There’s no question that Yello are a legendary duo not only for electronic music, but for the entire music industry as a whole. Their 1985 single “Oh Yeah” has become an iconic tune of the era, and if anyone had remaining doubts about the Swiss duo’s talents, Boris and Dieter sat on stage at IMS Ibiza and within seconds, recorded fun sounds made with their own mouths and produced a catchy tune on the spot.
Later, they discussed their forthcoming album Toy. “When Boris starts, he allowed himself to be driven by what happens in the process. Each brush stroke influences the next,” Dieter explained. “That’s why we called it ‘Toy’. It goes back to the creative. We’re using all the technology available, but approaching it like a child.”
5. Women of the Industry Ban the Term “Female DJ”
One of the most anticipated discussions of the day was the Diversity in Dance Music discussion, which saw female leaders in the space come together to talk about the issue of the lack of women in electronic music and how to progress moving forward.
The two DJs on the panel were B.Traits and Nicole Moudaber, who both were adamant to reject the idea of being labeled as a “female DJ” moving forward.
“There isn’t a ‘black DJ chart,’ Or ‘blue eyes’ chart. Why is there a female chart?” Nicole Moudaber asked.
6. Mixes Will Be Coming to Spotify
The streaming realm has become a crowded, busy space over the past few years. SoundCloud, which was an early leader, has since faced controversy with the rise of copyright takedowns and newly introduced paid access tiers. Spotify has become a major player in the game, but lacks the option of hosting mixes, which is an integral part of electronic music culture.
Dubset made the announcement of its newly inked deal with Spotify that will soon see mixes arrive on the popular platform. User-generated mixes will soon be available… keep an eye out for that coming soon.
7. The Pet Shop Boys Love Berghain
The Pet Shop Boys were the final keynote interview on the last day of IMS Ibiza, and indeed, the best was saved for last. The iconic duo discussed their prolific career in music and their newly found love for Sunday lunch at Berghain.
“It’s a very interesting combination of energies. Between the hardcore, all-nighters and the people just arriving,” Neil explained. “You gotta go Sunday for lunch. But of course, things will be going on in the basement…”
Later, the duo touched upon their early successes and shared a story about their surprise at being so well-received during one of their first festival performances.
“We never thought ourselves as a festival name. In 1997 we played at a theater and lost money. Our agent said if we played a festival, we’d break even. Then, we headlined a festival’s Saturday night and I remember somebody asked me “What are you going to do?” And I said, “I don’t know.” And suddenly we turned into a festival name.”