The UK’s foremost electronic music conference returns for its 5th year to Brighton Dome and various venues across the city from 25 – 28 April 2018.

You can benefit from special discounts at Brighton Music Conference by emailing info@internationalmusicusmmit.com for your code.

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Here are the top workshops & discussions you can’t miss

1) SoundCloud Presents #SCFirst

Experiences, Tools & Tips for Building Your Career as an Independent Artist.

2) A Journey in Sound with Tony and Ann Andrews from Funktion-One

An in-depth interview with a couple who have committed their lives to each other and to the pursuit of audio excellence, founding and growing loudspeaker manufacturer Funktion-One in the process. A unique opportunity to hear from the true pioneers of professional audio.

3) Diversity Is a Reality, Inclusivity Is The Goal (in association with PRS for Music)

From the Wireless festival line up to the Grammy nominations, the rate of change in respect of diversity is off the pace, not just within dance music but across the industry. This panel asks what it means to be a diverse business in 2018, discussing practical inclusion strategies and looking at some of the initiatives that exist today.

4) Label Q&A with Tru Thoughts

A chance to delve into the minds of one of the UK’s most successful labels, now in its nineteenth year the label continues to go from strength the strength and is a perfect example of how to grow your business and stay true to its roots.

Brighton Music Conference

5) Uplifting Audio Experiences Live Workshop with Tony Andrews

Founder of loudspeaker manufacturer, Funktion-One: An opportunity to delve into the mind of the man behind the world’s leading loudspeaker and sound system provider. This will be a masterclass in best practices and how to perfect your sound.

6) Hacking web tech for music execs

Join Ben Rush to reverse engineer and hack tech to uncover the often hidden tech affecting every part of the industry from music production to international royalties. Ben will be joined in the session by Chris Roohan, artists FooR who have recently smashed the UK Garage scene and are taking the leap into management and running multiple labels as well as House Music DJ and producer ‘Like Son’.

6) Label Q&A with RAM Records

7) DJ Mag presents an interview with Irvine Welsh

8) Trial by social media: dealing with a PR disaster

Following a string of widely-publicised controversies in dance music, we ask: are we right to call out offensive behaviour online? Who do social media scandals benefit? And how are careers controlled by social media audiences?

9) Producer Q&A

Moderator –  Katia Isakoff (Women Produce Music)
London Elektricity (Hospital Records)
Illyus & Barrientos (Toolroom Records)
Luke Solomon (Defected/Classic)
Rachel K Collier (Ableton)

10) Radio One will be hosting a panel discussing Brexit & Drug testing at venues

11) Toolroom Academy – https://www.brightonmusicconference.co.uk/toolroom-academy/

12) Hospital Records Launch their Sonic Surgery 

Brighton Music Conference

What is on during the week

Thursday 26th April

Native Instruments presents Women in Dance Music Collective networking event in collaboration with She Said So, PRS Keychange Initiative & Women Produce Music & KOKORO GIN

Brighton Music Conference, The Association for Electronic Music (AFEM) & Toolroom Academy invite you for a drink & a very special screening of ‘WHY WE DJ’, a highly acclaimed short film by DJsounds & Pioneer DJ

TAKE present Eats Everything

Friday 27th

BMC 5th birthday party. Sponsored By Skiddle & AudioLock with DJ’s Just Her & These Machines

Tama-Do Sound Harmonisation hosted by Tracie Storey

During the sessions, each person experiences the various elements of vibrational sound using instruments which represent the earth, water, wood, fire and air elements to clear and harmonise with each sound

Hospital Records networking event with DJs Chris Goss, Dexta

The Funk Phenomenon presents Graeme Park, J-Felix, Sam Moffett and Disco Tallinn

Wiggle 24 birthday party with DJs Nathan Coles, Terry Francis, Eddie Richards

Saturday 28th

BMC & Patterns presents Craig Richards (Fabric), Mehtola, Ovre, J-Felix & Wild Fantasy

If you’re already familiar with IMS’s Industry Insider you’ll know that our collaboration between IMS, Mixmag and Record of the Day delivers a weekly digest of global electronic industry news, across the full spectrum of the genre, to help you get straight to the stories that matter.

 

Up to now we have delivered each edition of Industry Insider via email, and now through our partnership with I AM POP, the Facebook Messenger tool, we will also be pushing out highlights via Facebook Messenger giving you the need-to-know news from the global dance music industry in a bite size format right in your pocket. You can sign up now, by following this link and clicking the “get started” button in Messenger.

 

Industry Insider

 

We see Messenger as a game-changing communication platform that offers something completely different to “traditional” social media like a Facebook Pages and Twitter, and even something different to email.

 

Part of this is the nature of the platform – Facebook Messenger offers a different and more interactive way to publish and consume content, and a different way to engage. For artists, Messenger is a really powerful way to connect with fans; you can’t get a closer connection to your audience than chat. It’s one-on-one, personal and intimate.

 

As a story-telling platform and a way to engage fans with content, Messenger has a clear edge. 1.3 billion people around the world use Messenger regularly, and the growth of messaging over the past couple of years has been huge. In a period where engagement around traditional social media is falling, and downloads of smartphone apps is static, Messenger is an app that is near universal in its adoption.

 

At IMS we’ve always been champions for new technology that can benefit the global electronic music community, and this is why we’ve used POP to launch Industry Insider on Messenger.

 

Tim Heineke,  the founder of POP says “When POP launched last year we already knew that Messenger was going to be an unstoppable wave. Already, artists like Armin van Buuren,  Netsky, Sam Feldt and others who use our platform are seeing great value from Messenger, regularly achieve open rates of 90%, and sky high click—through. For many of our customers, Messenger becomes the number one driver to content over other platforms within just a week or two of launching. We are excited to be working with IMS, one of the world’s electronic music brands, and look forward to developing our partnership over time.”

 

Armin

 

Inder Phull [CEO at KRPT/Social Media Agency for IMS] says “We see Messenger as a great way to cut through the noise of traditional social media, and communicate better. Because we know that Messenger content reaches our audience and is not subject to a feed or filter, we can get Industry Insider content straight to people who want it, in a bite-size format with no distractions.”

 

For many artists, labels, media brands and others, Facebook Messenger is nothing particularly new – for a long time we’ve been able to receive messages through our Facebook Page and respond one-on-one.

 

This changed in 2016 when the Messenger API was opened up, allowing companies like POP to build interactive messaging functions. A key difference between one-on-one messaging through the Facebook Page and a tool like POP is the ability to broadcast to many fans at once. Once a fan connects with on Messenger you open up a direct and unfiltered communication channel that is a great way to tell stories, share news, push info about particular events… even create quizzes or interactive narratives. Basically anything to establish direct contact with fans. No newsfeed getting in the way, no algorithm deciding what your audience sees.

 

Olivia Bowlby, General Manager of IMS says “IMS exists to educate, inspire and motivate the electronic music community worldwide. As a genre that has traditionally embraced digital opportunities head-on, electronic music is the early adopter of the music world. As one of the leading platforms serving this community, it was natural for IMS to embrace the opportunities that Messenger offers to get content directly in front of our audience.”

 

To get Industry Insider highlights in Messenger follow this link or search International Music Summit in Messenger, and click the “get started” button.

 

If you’d like to start using Messenger for your own label, brand or artists, check out POP by clicking here, or email hello@iampop.in to have a chat with the partnerships team.

 

Maykel Piron is one of the three founders of – and the driving force behind – Armada Music, the biggest independent dance music label in the world with offices in Amsterdam, New York and London. With close to twenty-five years of music industry experience under his belt (of which the last fifteen years have been spent as the CEO of Armada Music), Piron is one of the masterminds of today’s electronic music scene. 

Under Piron’s management, Armada Music has been voted ‘Best Global Record Label’ six times at the International Dance Music Awards (IDMA’s) in Miami and he recently made it to the Billboard Dance Power Players List.

Due to Armadas immense growth over the past few years, the label now boasts a catalog of over 15.000 titles and an artist roster that includes world-renowned acts and super talents such as Afrojack, Andrew Rayel, Armin van Buuren, Dash Berlin, Erick Morillo, Fedde Le Grand, Gareth Emery, Julian Jordan, Kevin Saunderson, Lost Frequencies, Morgan Page and W&W, earning the label weekly airplay on the biggest nation-wide broadcasting stations in the world (such as BBC Radio 1 and Sirius XM) and weekly new adds to the US Airplay charts.

In addition, the success of acts such as Armin van Buuren (under Piron’s management) and Lost Frequencies led to a slew of gold/platinum-selling records, as well as a Grammy nomination for Armin van Buuren’s ‘This Is What It Feels Like’.

Ahead of IMS Ibiza, we caught up with Maykel to discuss the journey so far and the future of Armada Music.

We’re looking forward to having you at IMS Ibiza. It’s been 15 years of Armada Music, what have been some of your favourite moments?

There have been too many favourite moments to count, but I’ll try to mention a few key ones regardless. We were able to celebrate Armada Music’s 10-year-anniversary in Ibiza with the entire staff, have enjoyed tremendous chart success with records such as ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ by Armin van Buuren, ‘Reality’ by Lost Frequencies and more recently, ‘Body’ by Loud Luxury’s. But we are equally proud of our underground releases, such as instant classic ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ by Thick Dick, released through Subliminal.

Almost three years ago, we opened our own, in-house club in our HQ in Amsterdam, followed by a super professional radio studio. We also had about twenty of our partners (and above all wonderful people) join us in helping to raise funds for cancer research (I’m proud to call so many people around the world my friends in this industry) and opened our offices in New York and London. This is only a small selection of the things that make me so happy to work in this industry and I’m really looking forward to all the things we have yet to experience and/or accomplish.

What was your background before founding the label? What were your first steps into the music industry? 

I started working for a DJ promotion service at the age of 19, after which I joined Purple Eye Productions. That’s when I first started working on records from Armin van Buuren (among others such as Ferry Corsten and Marco V). In 1999, Warner Music Benelux asked me to set up a dance division and thus I became the A&R manager of three Warner labels for three and a half years (as well as responsible for Warner/Chapell publishing in the Benelux in my last year there, for which I signed acts such as Above & Beyond). I was always looking for a new challenge and in 2003, I found that challenge in setting up Armada Music with my business partners David Lewis and Armin van Buuren.

What early moves did you make to ensure Armada was different to other labels?

Armada Music has been around for fifteen years now and since the very beginning up till now, we’ve worked our hardest to ensure that we’re the best possible partner for all of our artists. We can work one-off tracks as good as any other label, but our strength lies in creating sustainable artist careers in electronic dance music. We have a genuine love and passion for electronic dance music and that’s exactly what shines through in everything we do and how we make decisions and determine plans.

Armada

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You’re one of three founders of Armada Music, how did your relationship with Armin and David Lewis begin?

The idea actually originated on Ibiza. I had been working with Armin for some time and Dave was Armin’s booking agent. It had always been a dream of mine to run my own label and Armin had expressed his interest in founding his own as well. Dave proved the missing link and so, Armada Music was born.

Armin’s profile has rapidly grown over the last decade, when did you begin to realise he was becoming the biggest DJ in the world? 

I’d say it was more a gradual realisation that a sudden one. As Armin’s manager, friend and business partner, I’ve been there almost every step of the way. When we set up Armada Music in 2003, Armin was already pretty successful by most standards. But whenever we thought it couldn’t get any better, his career just burst through the ceiling and kept growing. His mentality had a huge role to play there, as he has always been one to push himself further than the last time. Of course, when he first became the #1 DJ in the world it was a huge moment, but we knew of his potential long before the rest of the world did. There aren’t many people like Armin in the world, and this one knows what it takes to reach the top and stay there.

What do you personally look for when signing a new artist? Are you still putting DJ technique and talent first or is it now a combination of attributes that make a new star?

Firstly and most importantly, we’ve got to love the music he or she creates. If we don’t like it, we won’t sign it. It’s that simple. But besides the obvious, we feel it’s important to have someone who brings a fresh approach or musical vision to the table and who is an all-around enjoyable person to work with and to be around. We don’t feel DJ technique is that important for every artist because there are plenty of top producers out there who are solely focused on making music and don’t want to play DJ gigs. But there are also highly skilled DJs who need help producing. Every artist demands a different approach and it’s as you said: a combination of attributes that makes us want to invest in someone’s talent is what does the trick for us.

Armada was right at the forefront of the music industry’s changeover to digital. How quickly did you and the label adapt to the change of selling your music online? 

Armada emerged when iTunes took its first steps. We were one of the first to gain a foothold in the online market during this ‘digital revolution'; the major labels were still reluctant as they were already struggling with the huge amounts of illegal downloads. We jumped at the chance instead and focused on the digital market ahead of the rest of the music industry. We adapted right away before anyone else and I dare say we chose well.

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Technology is constantly changing and evolving. What current technology is Armada using to stand out from the crowd? 

We’re currently using tools to analyze big data. The current amount of information that comes into our office on a daily basis is insane. In order to read this information, process it and to be able to use it and turn it into dedicated marketing strategies, you need a special tool and that’s what we’re delving into at this moment. Furthermore, even though we believe that true A&R’ing can only be done by humans, we are also testing some AI (artificial intelligence) tools to see what kind of music we’d end up with that way.

And last but not least, it’s great to see that the smart speaker business is booming, with Amazon, Google, Apple, Spotify and Facebook all working round the clock to improve their hardware solutions such as Echo and Homepod. It’s fantastic to be able to say ‘Hey Alexa, get me in A State Of Trance’ when getting ready to go out and to hear Armin’s new club anthem a mere two seconds later.

What aspects of the evolution of the music industry excite you the most?

This has to be the fact that it’s now possible to listen to all kinds of music, everywhere and at all times. Because of this, the possibilities for artist and record labels to get their music heard – and to eventually build a career – are endless. Streaming had changed the business model of the music industry while simultaneously offering consumers the chance to listen to music without paying twenty bucks per CD. And because of this, people tend to try out (and like) many genres of music instead of one or two. In turn, this will lead to fusions between genres and proper chances for artists to stand out. Electronic music is a relatively new addition to the music spectrum and we’re still only scraping the surface of what’s creatively possible. Besides this, it’s wonderful for artists to be able to reach out and engage with their fans on the other side of the world real-time.


One of the masterminds of today’s electronic music scene, Maykel Piron (Armada Music, Co-Founder/CEO, Netherlands), founder of one of the biggest independent dance music labels in the world, will bring his twenty-five years of industry experience to the DIGITAL DEBATE at IMS Iniza, joining Chris Manning (The Orchard, Senior Director/International Operations, UK) in discussing our ever-changing relationship with the online domain.

Secure your place at IMS Ibiza and be part of the conversation

The Glasgow selector tells his multifaceted story.

Join Jackmaster b2b Peggy Gou at IMS Dalt Vila this year 

Jackmaster has been involved in underground electronic music since his early teens. Growing up in Glasgow, he joined the legendary Rubadub record shop and swapped his early dance music discoveries, like French pop-house and chart trance, for the elastic, alien syncopations of Detroit techno and Chicago house. His labels Dress 2 Sweat and Wireblock – releasing booty-bass bangers and wobbly electro respectively – joined forces with Rubadub staffer Richard Chater’s Stuff Records in 2010 to become Numbers, and the collective crew has released music by Deadboy, Slackk, Roska, Jamie xx, Mosca, Rustie and Sophie, among many others. As Numbers has grown as a label, party and hub of music activity in Glasgow, Jackmaster has become internationally renowned for his high-energy and playful DJing style — he covers myriad genres, from tough and weird techno right through to electro, house, R&B and disco.

 

IMS Ibiza celebrates a number of impressive landmarks this year, including the 15th Anniversary of  UK based label Toolroom Records. Now a global brand in dance music, Toolroom has remained independent and diversified beyond a traditional record label model into successful arms in radio, events, artist management and education. 

At this years IMS Ibiza, founding brothers Mark Knight (Artist, UK) and Stuart Knight (Toolroom, Managing Director, UK) will share the history of the label, it’s strong musical vision and tight artist roster in – 15 years of Toolroom. Toolroom Academy will also be hosting an A&R session where all artists will be given feedback on their music at IMS Ibiza this May. 

We travelled to Toolroom’s impressive HQ to speak to Mark and Stuart to find out how the label will be celebrating their 15th Anniversary…

TK5@brixton-29

An anniversary like this can often cause a lot of nostalgia. Do you allow yourself a moment to reflect on achievements before looking forward? 

Stuart: I think it’s important to allow yourself that. Working in the independent music sector is a whirlwind – you have to be going a million miles an hour to stay at the top of your game, keep abreast of new trends and to maintain your position in the market. So when these anniversary moments come along, it’s a good opportunity to pause and reflect on what you have achieved, without getting too bogged down in nostalgia.

Mark: I think that’s the key point – not to get too self-indulgent or too inward-looking. These anniversaries are a good opportunity to reflect on your achievements, and to tell the world you’ve got heritage and you’re here to stay. But to an extent, it’s more of a big deal to us than to the wider world. The key thing is to come up with something new and interesting within the anniversary, which is what Toolroom 15 is all about. 

How are you celebrating the 15 year anniversary? 

Stuart: We wanted to avoid a standard retrospective compilation album. We made the decision early on that this campaign was about looking forward, not back, so we wanted to focus on NEW music. 

Mark: And we wanted to do something on a huge scale. When I think of Toolroom at its best, it’s when we go BIG. Early last year we started reaching out to all the artists we’re working with, telling them we were putting together our biggest ever album of new music. And the end result is a 70-track compilation of exclusive new material from our most respected artists. Established acts like Booka Shade, Format: B and myself; alongside a great number of up and coming producers too.

Stuart: Then alongside this, we’re doing a 15 date world tour, visiting London, New York, LA, Tokyo, Bangkok, Portugal and many more places. We wanted to go to major clubbing cities where we have big fan-bases but try different venues. So we’re doing some really cool new warehouse spaces, beach locations – it’s going to be great, and to be fair I don’t think there are many record labels who could pull of a truly international tour like this.

Toolroom 15 | IMS Ibiza

What are some of your top highlights over the past 15 years?

Mark: Selling out Brixton Academy back in the day was a big moment. This was back when not many dance brands or acts did Brixton, so it was a big risk. I remember texting Stu afterwards, saying how far we’d come from the days in the Toolshed! 

Stuart: I’d echo that. Also for me, the launch of the Toolroom Academy at ADE a few years back was a big highlight. We had Harry Choo Choo Romero give a live production seminar – the audience was mesmerised –  and from that moment I knew that education would be a massive part of the business going forward. 

Mark: Of course we have worked with some huge artists on the label, the likes of  – Fatboy Slim, Underworld, Faithless etc but the biggest buzz for me is finding new talent. The list of artists we have found and developed and who have gone on to have huge international careers has been phenomenal, from Fedde le Grand to Weiss its something I am very proud of as my role of Head of A&R.

Another one of our panels at IMS Ibiza is discussing emerging party destinations. Where are some of the places that excite you the most & why?

Mark: China excites me. Obviously, the sheer scale of the place means there’s a massive untapped market there for the electronic music. I think it will take a while for the underground scene to develop, but when it does; that’s going to fly. Although it’s not an emerging destination as such, the continued development of the U.S as a market for our kind of music; in the post EDM era, is also really exciting. It is by far and away my biggest market. I love the passion and open-mindedness that exists within the scene there. In my eyes Europe could learn a lot from their attitude – it’s really refreshing.

What was your background before founding the label? What were your first steps into the music industry?

Stuart: I’d done a variety of sales jobs – cars, insurance. But been obsessed with dance music from an early age, going to Ministry religiously (I won’t say exactly what age I was!). My first love was US house – Tribal America, Masters At Work, that kind of thing. 

Mark: I’d done various construction jobs, but like Stu, I was obsessed with House music. I had a great boss who put up with me spending more time in the studio than on-site! It got to the point I decided to quit my job, sell my house, and set up a studio in my Dad’s Toolshed (hence the name). It was a huge risk but the best decision I have ever made.

Stuart: And at this point, I jumped in at the deep end too. My focus was initially on getting Mark’s tracks signed to other labels – but in the end, we decided we could do it better ourselves. So I took on the business side of things, and Mark the creative. 

Toolroom 15 | IMS Ibiza

What early moves did you make to ensure Toolroom was different to other labels?

Stuart: First of all I really wanted us to be approachable. I’d spent a year calling up labels on Mark’s behalf, not getting through to anyone. So from day one, I wanted us to be different and come with a different attitude.

Mark: I think that’s one of the best things about Toolroom. If you call the office now, it could be me or Stu picking up the phone. It’s important to us that we are open and approachable and I think that really comes across in the personality of our brand.

Stuart: Also we wanted to build the label on a sound business footing. It’s maybe not the most exciting thing people like to hear about, but one of the reasons we’re here and still growing after 15 years is that we run the label like a business, not a hobby. We have targets, we budget properly; we pay our artists on time without fail. It’s much better now, but when we started there was less professionalism in dance music labels, and we wanted to be different. 

Mark: Another thing  – it sounds so obvious now, but we embraced digital really quickly. This is back at the tail end of vinyl. There was some resistance to sites like Beatport, but we were excited to think that it would open up our music to a worldwide audience. 

Stuart: We always said at the start that bigger labels were like oil tankers, they took ages to turn around. From the start, we wanted to be faster and quicker to adapt to change, something that’s kept us in good shape all this time.

Mark, you released the “A year in the life” album a few years ago with all proceeds going to the charity, War Child. Do you think the music industry has a responsibility to support ethical projects? 

Mark: Certainly those of us who have been in it a good while, and have benefited from it. It’s easy to forget how lucky you are at times in this business – getting paid well to do something you adore. So it’s only right that you give something back when you can. 

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As business partners and brothers, how has your relationship evolved over the past 15 years? Does it make it easier?

Stuart: It’s easier in some ways. Being brothers means we can basically have a right old dust-up of an argument, but then it’s forgotten the next day! Music is a passionate thing, and working in the independent music sector can be stressful, so it’s good to be able to debate things robustly! 

Mark: Toolroom really is a family business. In the sense that it’s myself and Stu, with our dad mentoring us. But I see the wider team as a family now, they’ve been with us on this journey for such a long time that we’re basically like a family unit. As Stu says, with families you can have heated debates without falling out, which definitely helps! And it also means you’re in it together through thick and thin. 

Another key theme at IMS Ibiza this is the year is parenting in the music industry. Your both fathers, how do you balance family, business and music? 

Mark: For me, this is my single greatest challenge I face in my life.  I love my job and I know I’m very lucky, but being away from my family is an absolute killer. I liked to be known as the best father I can be first and foremost. If people like my music that’s great, I appreciate it immensely and am truly humbled; but its very much in that order. Dad, then music. I religiously only work two weekends a month, and have done so for the past three years – you couldn’t pay me enough money to miss my son growing up. I have learnt in life that success isn’t measured in “cool” or “money”, it’s about doing enough of the things you love to make yourself a rounded person.

Stuart: The nature of the industry means you’re going to be working long hours. It’s not going to be 9-5. I sometimes have to make a conscious decision to switch off from work because it can become so all-encompassing. As Mark says you’ve just got to be hard with yourself on balance. 

What do you personally look for when signing a new artist? Are you still putting DJ technique and talent first or is it now a combination of attributes that make a new star?

Mark: First and foremost, I come from a record label perspective. Can he/she make great music? Do they have that spark or originality that makes you stop and take notice? That to me is the number one thing. Raw talent can be honed or fine-tuned but do they have to have that “spark”. That for me has to come first. Couple that with determination, vision and drive and I am interested. If I am honest, the scene has taken an unhealthy lean towards the pop model. Very mediocre talent is blowing up because they have a good social media presence or they are good at partying! That fundamentally undermines the values this scene was built on in my eyes.

Stuart: Yes music first. But it’s a combination of everything I think. I’ll spare his blushes, but I often use Mark as a yardstick for assessing new artists. Do they have his drive? Do they have his presence? It’s so important to find artists who are creatively talented but also have the determination to succeed to compliment their artistic flair. 

Toolroom 15 | IMS Ibiza

What aspects of the evolution of the music industry excite you the most? 

Stuart: I’m excited as to what record labels can be. Not just vehicles to release music, but brands that are multi-faceted and diverse. Who says Toolroom can’t be an educational provider through the Academy? Who says we can’t use our model and run labels for other people? There’s nothing stopping us harnessing our brand and reputation in new ways, and I love that the music industry really allows us to try new things like this.

Mark: The democratisation of music making excites me. You just need a laptop and some decent headphones, and you can create something special from that. As electronic music spreads further and further around the world, the thought of new exciting artists emerging, and there being very few barriers to them expressing their creativity, is a really exciting prospect. 

What does the future hold for Toolroom?

Mark: It’s a really exciting time for us. We’ve grown the business steadily every year since its inception in 2003, but the last couple of years have been particularly strong. We’re running quite a few well-known labels in the background which is a big focus for us. And there’s still so much to do with Toolroom – growing our international tours, developing some exciting new artists, and moving the Academy on even further.

Stuart: After 15 years I really feel we’re at the top of our game. We have an incredible team of people here, staff who I wouldn’t change for the world, and who are firing on all cylinders. We’re going to keep growing Toolroom into new areas whilst retaining our core promise – to release the best House, Tech House and Techno we can find. 

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Secure your IMS Delegate Badge now to hear from Toolroom and over 60 more industry leaders and innovators at IMS Ibiza on 23-25 May. Bringing together the most influential figures in the industry, including artists deadmau5, Seth Troxler and Bedouin; management teams behind Solomun and Black Coffee; speakers from Burning Man, Sónar, BPM and Scorpios Mykonos; A&R heads from Armada Music, XL Recordings and Toolroom; and leading visionaries on Blockchain, Drug Testing, Sexual Harassment and Mental Health.

 

This episode of Mixmag’s On Rotation podcast features a conversation with the talented South Korean producer Peggy Gou, who discusses her beginnings in the London scene and how she followed her passion to launch her career.

Catch Peggy Gou at IMS Ibiza, performing b2b with Jackmaster at Dalt Vila – Secure your tickets here

Founder Jack Broom has five years experience in the Electronic Dance Music industry, having originally co-found progressive trance agency Evolved Artists. He shared his thoughts on how to protect yourself as an artist for IMS.

Many producers and artists in dance music don’t ‘get’ what copyright is – it’s something for Radiohead, Taylor Swift and far too complicated or too time consuming.  In fact, copyright is just as critical to dance music producers, artists, singers and songwriters.

Copyright is ‘intellectual property’ so your tracks are as much yours as something physical like a house, car or mixing desk.

“Copyright of a musical work begins automatically once a piece of music is created and documented or recorded. In the UK, this is detailed in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.” – PRS Music

If you are a producer of your own tracks then you have a number of  copyrights to protect:

  • The Master Rights  – which you sign to a record label
  • The Neighbouring Rights  – which you assign to PPL or equivalent
  • The Performing Rights and Mechanical Rights which are assigned to a Performing Rights organisation such as PRS / MCPS in the UK and to a publisher to track royalties, search for sync ad create collabs.

Lets look at each in turn, how to protect yourself and how to earn income;

Master Rights

The owner of the Master Rights owns the actual recording of the song’s sound. These rights usually belong to the party that financed the recording. Often this is the record label if they don’t lie with the artist. It allows permission for the licensee to use the recording for a particular project.

Neighbouring Rights – are a form of copyright linked to commercially released recordings. A commercially released record is when a record is played out on radio, TV or performed in public such as a bar, nightclub, restaurant or shops a royalty is then due to both the owner of the master recordings (usually a record label) and the performing artist. A performing artist usually includes any instrumentalists, producers and vocalists.

Click here to find out more on the legal structure, how to find out as a creator what works of yours are eligible for collection and how those collection are made.

Performing Rights – are the right to perform music in public, it is part of copyright law and demands payment to the music creator/composer/lyricist and publisher.

Mechanical Rights –
is the right to reproduce a piece of music onto formats such as digital, CD’s, DVD’s, vinyl or tapes.

Royalties from Performing Rights & Mechanical Rights

The royalties are generated each time the creators works are broadcast or performed live in places such as bars, cafes, clubs, offices, radio, restaurants, shops, streaming and TV. Also from mechanical rights the digital or physical sales of your music. If you have a publisher they will also look at other ways to increase the value of your music.

Click here to watch a short introductory video on An Introduction to Music Publishing from Sentric

How Do I Go About Protecting My Music?

Within the dance music community  some may remember at the back-end of 2017 the Tennan vs Mihalis Safras saga in which Tennan had sent music to Mihalis Safras label only for it to be rejected and subsequently for Mihalis Safras to go on to use parts of the track without his permission on his own production with no accreditation to Tennan whatsoever. This resulted in a number of other producers coming out to echo Tennan’s experience and a long drawn out public relations mess across social media ensued. In these types of situations you may not be able to avoid individuals who decide they are going to copy or use parts of your music, however there are ways to protect yourself and also begin receiving income from your music whilst you are starting out. Also laying the foundations earlier on in your career will benefit you in the long run.

The first thing you can do is register with a royalty collection society such as PRS for Music (UK), PPCA (Australia) GEMA (Germany), SIAE (Italy), BUMA/STEMRA (Netherlands) ASCAP (USA) or the relevant one in your domestic country would be ideal, although you may prefer to register with another collection society.

Follow this link – https://www.prsformusic.com/our-global-network and scroll down the page to reveal a comprehensive list of royalty collection societies PRS works with across the world.

** Please note – This list is not an exhaustive list of royalty collection societies out there, however it is a good place to start when looking for the relevant ones in your respective territory.
In the past we have encountered objections from artists about registering with a royalty society;

1.) They do not understand how the collection system works for their respective domestic societies. This means they do not feel they can see where the money will come from.

2.) A lot of the societies charge membership fees e.g. PRS Music membership is £100GBP, therefore they cannot justify committing such a cost as they would rather invest in software, hardware, artist start up costs such as logo, press shots, branding and social media advertising in the earlier stages of their career.
3.) A lot of societies around the world are known to be corrupt, disorganised or an inability to deliver the artists royalties, there is a lack of trust or belief from the artist they will ever receive any money or see value from their respective society.
To sum up there is a general lack of faith trust and understanding from creators about the  added value in registering with a royalty collection society or even looking further and finding a publisher.

The question you may ask yourself, is there anything else I can do to protect myself if I am not registered with a royalty collection society? The answer is yes.


Publishing

A publisher will act as protection for music works you create. From company to company there is a varying range of different services publishers offer and also what their publishing deals entail.


The business of music publishing is concerned with developing, protecting and valuing music.” – Music Publishers Association

A publisher will source new songwriters and producers (composers), once signed the publisher will perform a range of services such as;

1.) Register the works of the songwriters and composers (unreleased and released) with all the relevant royalty societies and agencies (as mentioned earlier in this article) – this acts once again effectively like a date stamp protecting the artists works.
2.) Using their expertise and networks they will look to secure commissions for work such as adverts, TV shows, movies, games – these types of works are called syncs or synchronisations. which are more likely to occur prior to the artist signing music to a label as those looking for commissions for their respective projects prefer unheard or unreleased music.
3.) Finding and responding to new licensing opportunities for your work.
3.) Provide you with advice and guidance as well as access to recording facilities and in some cases financial investment for the advancement of your music career.
4.) Collect royalties on behalf of the songwriters and composers from the international royalty societies and agencies from across the world. The difference between a publisher and a royalty collection service is the publisher has more of an incentive to collect effectively as they are privately run organisations with a motive to earn profit whereas organisations such as PRS are not-for profit.
5.) Make payment to songwriters and composers based on usage of their music from a range of sources from agencies and societies and organisations like Songkick.
6.) Navigate the complexities of rights management and take action against anyone using your music without the required license or permissions.

** Please note – The above is not an exhaustive list but rather the main areas of service the majority of publishers will provide to songwriters and composers.

Based on what I have found out during this period, I would recommend artists to look into finding a publisher. However very much like looking for a booking agent, manager or record label do not settle for any old publisher.

How To Look For A Publisher

Consider the following when looking for a publisher;

1.) What artists and clients do they represent? For example, do they have experience in looking after house music artists, techno artists, trance artists, hip hop, EDM, Pop?
2.) Do they have experience with clients in your respective music genre? If you are house producer you might want to see if they have connections with reputable labels such as Defected, Elrow, Suara, Toolroom or other labels you are aiming to release on. Outside of dance music you might want to see their connections with reputable corporate brands or gaming companies.
3.) What services do they offer? Royalty collection only? Synchronisations (syncs)? Neighbouring Rights? Record label rights management services?
4.) The terms of the deal – the usual percentage should be around 20% – 30% of royalties earned, although  it will vary from territory to territory. It is advisable to try and secure a deal with the option to give a month’s notice for termination of the deal or some kind of flexibility to the deal especially if it is your first ever publishing deal. Avoid being tied in to long-term deals unless you know and trust the publisher.

Also other general advice, guidance or tips I would recommend when looking for a publisher (or even a booking agent, artist manager or label);

1.) No question is a silly question – try to find out as much as possible, asking questions in itself may tell you all you need to know about the publisher i.e. if they are unhelpful or seem to lack the answers it would suggest they will not be equipped to deal with your needs.
2.) Make a list of publishers prior to contacting them – use google to search for ‘music publishers’ or ‘dance music publishers’ or whatever suits your personal requirements of a publisher.

Here are a few links to help you get started with your search;

Music Publishers Association – https://mpaonline.org.uk/membership/member-directory/

Songwriter Universe – http://www.songwriteruniverse.com/publisherlist.htm


3.) Once you have a list, decide upon a top three and contact the benchmark publisher first explaining who you are, your background and what you are looking for with a publisher and look to set up a meeting or phone call.
4.) Prepare questions – even if it is as simple as getting them to explain publishing and walk you through a step-by-step demo of the how their service would work for you and your individual situation.
5.) Ask if they have different publishing deals and find out which deal would be best suitable for your needs.
6.) Due diligence – contact some of their other artists or clients to see how they have found working with them.

Article written by Jack Broom, founder of 1712 Artists

 

LWE are unquestionably one of the most exemplary promoters of UK underground music culture to have emerged in the last decade.

Officially established in 2010 by Will Harold, Alice Favre and Paul Jack, their formidable back catalogue of events have spanned the full spectrum of global talent, across some of London’s most salient venues, gratifying the needs of hundreds of thousands of clubbers along the way.

Having initially plied their trade as individual promoters for over 30 years collectively, curating events in London, Nottingham and Bournemouth, they finally joined forces and established London Warehouse Events. Playing a leading role in pioneering London’s warehouse scene, LWE’s regular appearances at the former Ewer Street Warehouse, commonly known today as Great Suffolk Street Warehouse, set a precedent for a new breed of clubbing in the Capital.

But arguably their most impressive years have been of late, having unveiled three of London’s, and indeed the World’s, most influential, avant-garde underground music venues & events, launching Tobacco Dock in 2014, and more recently, Printworks and Junction 2 at Boston Manor Park, just last year.

Needless to say, LWE would not be the powerhouse they are today, without a nucleus of idiosyncratic, creative toilers behind it. Which is exactly what they have, a select few who set their hearts and minds on reimagining London clubbing, by masterminding one of the electronic music industry’s most revered phenomenons.

One such dignitary is their Director, Alice Favre. Born and raised in Chettle, North Dorset, Alice has played a leading role in guiding LWE through its prolific ascent to the forefront of forward thinking production, operations and programming, that is now the envy of promoters worldwide.

Alice, thank you for taking the time out of of your busy schedule to share some insight with us about who you are, what you’ve achieved and what you hope to achieve in the future…

That said, let’s start from the beginning… I’ve heard you were previously the Event Manager down at Slinky in Bournemouth. Coincidentally, during my first year of Uni back in 2003, I spent almost every Friday night down at the Opera House, raving at Slinky. They were probably the best drum and bass parties I ever had the privilege of attending! Could you just summarise your pilgrimage for us, from those Slinky and Cocoshebeen days in Boscombe, to the colossal Printworks in SE16?

Nice… that’s the first time I have ever been asked about my past, and with such knowledge. It’s weird how many people I meet in the music industry that tell me they popped their clubbing cherry at Slinky at the Opera House. It was definitely an iconic time for dance music around the turn of the century, that is definitely why I am still in the industry now, it was born from the passion that The Opera House had.

So from the start… I went to an all girls boarding school (can you believe) and in our A level years all my friends were applying to Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol etc and I was asked to choose where I would go and what I would study. I found it really hard as I hadn’t decided what path I wanted to take. I decided to take a year off and applied for a Geography degree. In the meantime I applied for a bar job at The Opera House.

I had been out to clubs a few times in London and enjoyed it but I had never experienced nights like the ones I worked there. I was in love and it meant I never made it to any Uni! I spent 7 years there in total, running events for them all over the UK and managing the ones in Bournemouth.

By 2007 I had my fill of Bournemouth and wanted to spread my wings. My best friend had moved to London so I followed. I did a lot of random freelance work whilst working for a DJ manager. It was a great few years and I made some good contacts.

In 2010 I met Paul and Will and ran a few events for them. Will has just left matter and fabric and Paul was running parties in various venues across town. We decided to join forces, each one of us had a different skill set and we made the most amazing(ly weird) combo that everyone commented on… It just seemed to work.

We never really had a plan with regards to the future and what it held for LWE, all we knew was that we made a great team and we loved what we did. Every party and new venue was another high, obviously there were some big lows (as a promoter you spend a lot of time losing money!!) but with the other 2 by my side it was a share of the burden and it only seemed to make us stronger. We are now like some weird dysfunctional family.

Given how volatile London’s underground music scene is, you must have experienced so many challenges over the years. What would you say your biggest challenge has been to date, and how did you overcome it?

Finding venues! As well as not following the same path as everyone else. We knew to compete we needed to find a USP and unusual venues, properly operated became it. Our ability to find venues has been amazing though, I am not sure whether it is luck or sheer doggedness?

LWE curated two fantastic series at Printworks in 2017, setting a precedent for London clubbing that has never been seen before. Many have asked why you won’t be returning for a third series, given the phenomenal success you have already experienced at the venue. Are you able to explain your reasoning behind this decision, without getting too political?

Thank you for your kind words. I mean what a space, we had to do it justice! Also it came at a time when there was a lot of negativity surrounding London nightlife and we landed on Printworks at exactly the right time for the UK, even the world. It was talked about by promoters and clubbers across the globe.  And our departure from Printworks, put simply, we could not agree on a shared vision. It’s sad to walk away from something so amazing but we have to follow our hearts, it’s what we have always done and it’s got us this far!

You recently announced a new venue called Fountain Studios with The Martinez Brothers and Paul Kalkbrenner as the first shows. What is the vision for the space?

The ‘new’ venue is one of many we have been exploring since leaving Printworks. With land in London at a premium it’s not been easy, however, the way the city view it’s buildings and places is definitely changing. Fountain Studios is an amazing space. The main dancefloor is epic, it has the height to accommodate some great effects and lighting, it is totally soundproof and the set up will sound sweet and look amazing. The breakout spaces are also great. The toilets are really nice and there is some good chillout space inside and outside. We will only be there on and off though, we have other plans up our sleeves for something more permanent in 2019… I so wish I could tell you more, but I don’t want to jinx it!

Can you tell us a little bit more about Junction 2? The third edition takes place in June at Boston Park, the same location as last year. But what does London’s premiere techno festival have in store this time around, for yet another LWE production which has already set the bar for music festivals in the Capital?

More of the same, and better, obviously. We are keeping the site the same size, and the number of stages – just tweaking the operations and concentrating on keeping the neighbours happy when everyone leaves and bumbles past their houses to the tube stations. My partner Will would explain the exciting line up and changes to the artist bill for this year much better than me so I won’t try….
Junction 2 aside, what’s next for LWE? It’s hard to imagine being able to trump the Printworks, but you’ve obviously got something pretty special up your sleeves to have left that behind. Could you give us a glimpse into what creative spectacles we can expect from you during the coming year?

We have a few new, smaller venues to explore in 2018 whilst we prepare for something bigger in 2019. We also have a new festival, Arcadia Spectacular, which is on the bank holiday weekend, 5th & 6th May, in Queen Elizabeth’s Park in Hackney / Stratford. It’s a great site as the sound levels are pretty decent and it will be an amazing show, a giant spider stage spitting giant flames into the air with LED, lasers and loads of performers. Plus a great line up. What’s not to love?!

You are also the founder of ticketing platform, ‘Ticket Tannoy’. Can you tell us a bit more about the concept behind this, how it differs from the likes of RA and Skiddle, and how you see the platform evolving over the coming year(s)?

Not many people know that we founded TT (or Ticket Tannoy). Ticket Tannoy is a customer friendly ticketing platform. We did it because we were giving away money in booking fees to ticketing platforms that couldn’t give us the support we wanted for us and our punters. We now offer it as a service to other promoters and events and we have some great staff and some clever scanners that seem to be the fastest and most efficient in the business, providing dedicated scanners that don’t run out of battery, they scan all tickets on the market and are very easy to use. They also have a clever guestlist function (amongst other great features) that allow selected staff to add people to the list when the event is open remotely from their phones. Customers can also buy tickets to events whilst on their way and their ticket will automatically be added to our scanners.

 

Finally, I would be doing a disservice to both all, and this interview, without asking at least one question about your musical preferences. So, if you could go to one last rave tomorrow, anywhere in the World, which venue and/or party would it be, and which artists who you like to see on the bill?

Oooh… urrrr… Venue… that’s a difficult one. Maybe the old Sankey’s in Manchester. And probably starting the night with Alle Farben and Andhim, moving on to Carl Cox (on a chunky old school day), maybe Skream (when he also plays an amazing classic rave set), Danny Tenaglia and end with some techno from Chris Liebing or Tommy Four Seven. Oh and maybe some Nicole Moudaber before the full on techno. I’ve been a bit too busy to listen to much current stuff, I run the operations and production so am more on site building the show and then running it, liaising with the police, council, all the staff and the residents. That doesn’t leave much time for listening to the DJs :(

 

Well thats a wrap! Thank you so much for talking to us Alice. We very much look forward to seeing what surprises LWE has in-store for us all in 2018, and I hope to bump into you at IMS in May! Mines a Piña Colada if you get to the bar first, cheers!
Interview conducted by Luke Farrugia

 

IMS is supporting the next generation of industry innovators and influencers, providing a platform for their ideas to be heard, industry mentoring and support plus opportunities to network and develop their career or business with the most creative and forward thinking figures in the electronic music industry. The IMS x Mixmag Visionaries contest was developed to help the next generation of leaders. We caught up with Luke Hood, founder of UKF to discuss his journey.


 

In 2009 Luke’s passion for bass led to him setting a little broadcasting service for college colleagues. Thanks to his discerning ears, and ability to recognise acts with true potential, that little broadcasting service turned into the music brand phenomenon that is UKF. Switching shelf-stacking and forensic computing studies for a partnership with AEI within months of its launch, Luke has now developed UKF into a full brand with best-selling albums and events and festival stage hosting around the world. This development continues to this day as Luke directs the brand and applies his expertise and knowhow to AEI’s overall business development, inviting like-minded curators to join the company and helping them amplify their message and develop equally strong futures.

1) You were one of the early pacesetters in the YouTube music video phenomenon, amassing over 1 million subscribers within the first year of your UKF platform launching back in 2010. 

Given how saturated the electronic music industry has since become, and how difficult it is to cut through the noise nowadays, what would you say the three most important things a young music professional starting out must do, in order to achieve a sustainable career in the industry?

I think in any creative industry, prescribing do’s/donts is not the way to go when you are wanting to get into the industry. Personally, and we’ve seen this a lot lately, that a majority of the innovation/disruption within the electronic space over the past 10 years has come from individuals or organisations that have not read any books, or learned how the traditional industry operates. It’s that beginner’s mind-set with no limitations based on other’s experiences that has allowed them to be inventive and service an audience that wasn’t previously served. Whether that’s starting a curation channel on YouTube and building a brand off the back of that, then expanding vertically into events, albums, editorial etc (like UKF), to giving away all of your music and allowing others to monetise it across UGC (user generated content) platforms (like NCS). If you studied the industry and its best practises before, these ideas would have seemed insane.

 

2) You became a Director at AEI back in 2013, and have played an integral role in the company’s subsequent ascension to the forefront of discovering, inspiring and investing in some of electronic music’s most revered talent. 

Providing a variety of services from distribution, royalty reporting and A&R to live streams, content management and brand development, AEI continue to work with some of the biggest brands in electronic music.

A lot of your services are now fundamental aspects of day-to-day business for artists, labels and promoters alike, so what advice would you give on where to focus your time, effort and investment, if you’re just starting-out in the industry with limited resources?

Even if it’s a basic understanding, some of the most impressive partners are those that know their way around Photoshop, from basic coding, to social media strategy and marketing. It’s a lot to take in, but having a basic understanding of everything is so important in the early days (and saves a lot of money, and delivers vastly better results). As you grow, it becomes a case of working with experts that specialise in these different fields, staying on top of the latest trends in each individual area so you can focus on the core product.

 

4) What role do you think music tech can have in creating more opportunities and improving accessibility for people of all genders, ethnicity and disabilities, in order to help balance the industry’s status quo?

I think it’s already had a huge effect and that’s only going to go further. The barrier to entry has come down by such a long way, the number of producers who are starting out at 13/14 using their family laptop to first start producing, or gain an interest in music, has grown rapidly in the past few years. Ultimately you can live in the middle of nowhere and join an online community of whatever particular niche you enjoy and develop that passion further (part of the initial driving force behind UKF was it became one of those online hubs to talk about bass music)


 

Learn more about both IMS x Mixmag Visionaries & Accelerator here

Secure your place at IMS Ibiza 

 

With each year come milestones and achievements celebrated by labels, artists and events alike, with 2018 being no exception.

Enric Palau (Sónar Festival, Co-Director, Spain) and Georgia Taglietti (Sónar Festival, Head of Communications, Spain) will join us at IMS Ibiza in May to discuss 25 YEARS OF SÓNAR: SHAPING UNDERGROUND CULTURE, examining the the world-renowned Barcelona festivals achievements and explain its extraordinary and innovative contribution to the genre.

During its 25-year history, Sónar has transformed the dynamics and atmosphere of the Mediterranean city every June. As one of the first urban festivals dedicated to electronic music, since its inception, the festival has been divided across Sónar by Day and Sónar by Night, with Sónar+D, a three-day congress dedicated to Creativity, Technology and Business running concurrently since 2013.

Ahead of their 25th Anniversary Keynote at IMS Ibiza, we asked Enric and Georgia to talk us through the evolution of Sónar over the years.

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1. Aerial view of Sónar by Day

The 2017 edition of Sónar Barcelona (pictured above) attracted 123,000 attendees from 101 countries and featured over 140 performances, shows and DJ sets. The 2018 edition features Laurent Garnier, Black Coffee, Despacio (James Murphy + 2manydjs) Gorillaz, Bonobo, Bicep (Live), DJ Harvey, LCD Soundsystem and Thom Yorke among many other acts over the three days and two nights of the festival.

 

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2. Sónar By Day – 2011

3. Sónar By Day – 1999

Photos two and three show Sónar by Day in its previous home at Barcelona’s CCCB. The green astroturf at SonarVillage has become emblematic of Sónar over the years and is one of many elements the festival has conserved, even as it has grown in size and scope.

 

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4. A young Richie Hawtin digs deep into his vinyl collection at Sónar in 1999.

Hawtin’s relationship with Sónar began in 1997 and has continued to the present day, with his own professional evolution matching Sónar’s expanding mission to foster links between creativity, music and technology.

Over the years, Richie has found new ways to explore state-of-the-art technologies to create ways to engage and challenge his audience; last performing music alias Plastikman Live at the festival in 2014.

5. Richie Hawtin performing at Sónar in 2016

Richie Hawtin in 2016 pushing the boundaries of a conventional DJ set and live performance. This picture is the early development of his new show CLOSE, where Richie challenges the fine line between a conventional DJ set and live performance, using machines and software.

In 2018, Richie Hawtin returns to Sónar to present CLOSE at the 25th Anniversary.

 

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5. Lorenzo Senni Oracle

6. Koreless Complex

Shows that combine state of the art technology with equally cutting-edge music are an integral part of Sónar’s DNA. Pictured above are Lorenzo Senni’s Oracle installation at the MACBA, and 2015’s ‘The Well’, an incredible AV show employing lasers and a huge parabolic mirror by Koreless and light designer Emmanuel Baird.

 

 

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7. Sónar by Night, 1999 

Before moving to Fira Gran Via in 2002, Sónar by Night took place right by the beach in the Marbella sports complex. Here Angel Molina, another long-running friend of the festival brings the sun up in 1999. One of Sónar’s goals is to act as a bridge between the local and international scenes in each edition, featuring the best national talent alongside globally recognized names in electronic music.

8. Fat Freddy’s Drop – SonarLab Outdoor Stage 2017

The current Sónar by Night Venue hosts several stages; the 15,000 capacity SonarClub, the open air SonarLab and SonarPub and SonarCar, resigned in 2016 specifically for DJ’s to offer long-duration sets. Sónar by Night is also home to shows with a strong audiovisual component, attracting performances by artists such as Björk (2002), Kraftwerk (at Sónar by Day in 1998 and at Sónar by Night with a 3D show in 2013) and The Chemical Brothers (in 2005 and 2015). 

 

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9. SonarMàtica

Since its early years, Sónar has been committed to being something more than a music festival. This photo shows SonarMàtica, a concept first unveiled at the festival in 1996 that focused on digital art and new creative applications of technology. Over the years the festival would expand on these themes, culminating in the creation of Sónar+D in 2013.

10. Sónar+D, the congress of creativity, technology and business

Coinciding with the move of Sónar by Day to Fira Montjuic in 2013, Sónar unveiled  Sónar+D. Oriented as a 3-day congress of Creativity, Technology and Business running concurrently to Sónar by Day, the congress includes installations, talks, exhibitions and displays of new technologies with creative applications. The 2017 edition added an entire extra day to the program, exclusively for professionals, which will be repeated in 2018

Sónar +D also feeds from and into the wider festival program, with tech-shows featured across all the festival stages, and prominent artists invited to give talks and workshops. Recent editions have featured artists and thinkers such as Brian Eno, Björk Jean-Michel Jarre and Richie Hawtin, as well as representatives of studios and companies of international note Including as United Visual Artists, Kickstarter and Spotify.

 

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Secure your IMS Delegate Badge now to hear from Sónar and over 60 more industry leaders and innovators at IMS Ibiza on 23-25 May.

 

IMS is supporting the next generation of industry innovators and influencers, providing a platform for their ideas to be heard, industry mentoring and support plus opportunities to network and develop their career or business with the most creative and forward thinking figures in the electronic music industry. We caught up with Inder Phull who won the IMS x Mixmag Visionaries award in 2016 to learn more about his journey since winning the contest.

Born and raised in Kenya, you moved to the UK with your mother, older brother and younger sister, aged just 9 years old. Despite the challenge of adapting to life at such a defining time, you went-on to receive a degree in Economics at the University of Birmingham, whilst also establishing your company KRPT during your final year of study.

5 years-on, with a growing team of 6+, a global network of over 1,000 creators, an office in Central London, and an array of impressive clients including Lacoste, IMS, Bestival, Lee Jeans and TUI, there is no denying that KRPT are bringing something fresh and disruptive to the industry, with your innovative and ethical approach to connecting brands with music.

Can you tell us about the vision for the company?

KRPT started because we felt that underground culture (music, skate & art) was not being represented properly and brands were exploiting it instead of supporting it. Our mission was to build a movement of creators who could help brands support art instead of creating more ads that people would just want to skip. This doesn’t mean we ignore ROI or new methods of pushing consumers down the funnel & driving conversions. Our approach is to try to help our clients stay relevant by supporting talent and balancing their cultural and commercial objectives. We’re very interested in creating a journey for consumers and helping brands use their platform in a way that can actually support creators.

Given the perceived lack of accessibility and imbalanced equality in the industry, what advice would you give to someone that originates from similar humble beginnings as you, who is aspiring to break into the industry?

I think you need a few key things to align if you want to break into any industry.

First you need to build a good network. Find mentors to advise and support you. I remember my first ever client for KRPT started as mentor that I had connected with through through LinkedIn and he give me some tips on my business.

He loved the concept and a month later gave us a £20k project to work on one of the biggest fashion brands in the world. What a break!

I instantly decided to quit my job at Channel 4 and start working on KRPT full-time. Since then, I’ve been building my personal network on a weekly basis and trying to meet new people. But remember, it’s not just about knowing lots of contacts but being able to offer them value as well.

Second, I would say you need to find your unique approach, voice and message. I had a clear vision for KRPT that made it easy to explain and understand. I think it’s important to contemplate what legacy you want to leave behind, how you can change or shape the industry you want to enter and also have a mission that is very clear & easy to explain. This can change over time but it helps you stand out and start unique conversations with people where you can talk about your vision in a passionate way with consistency.

Finally it has to be research. I remember before I won the IMS Visionaries award I used to watch the panels on repeat almost every night and I still do. I love to hear the different challenges people are facing and as a result it has given me quite a broad understanding of the different elements of our industry. The industry is so convuluted with too many layers but it really helps to be aware of the challenges, opportunities and future solutions that are being discussed.

Having won the IMS Visionaries award in 2016, both you and KRPT have since been lauded by numerous industry pioneers, as ‘ones to watch’, whilst also partnering with My Love Affair, one of the most successful brand entertainment agencies in the business.

What would you attribute your continued success to?

The first has to be my support network of family and friends, especially my fiancé who has supported & inspired me for the past 10 years since we met in college, I can’t imagine where I would be without her. Deciding to start a business and work on it full-time isn’t an easy choice so it helped that people around me believed in the vision too, even when things were difficult.

Second has to be winning the IMS Visionaries Award and also being selected as the Top 10 Companies to Watch at ADE in the same year, this had a huge impact on our business and personal confidence. I was only 25 when this happened and it definitely spurred a mindset change.

When you’re young & starting out it takes a lot of work to build up credibility and to be accepted in any industry, especially music. These awards positioned me and the business on a new level and instantly brought attention towards KRPT from investors & clients.

Finally it has to be the impact a few people can make in your growth by believing in you and giving you a chance. Our first clients ranged from large-scale brands to new startups and all of those deals came to fruition because someone decided to take a risk and give us a chance.

You need a bit of luck and support when you’re building and those initial case studies helped us win more business. It’s a difficult cycle when you’re starting out because you’re only as good as your work, and if you don’t have any case studies you need someone to take a risk on you and believe in your vision & approach.

 

Judging by some of the projects you’ve curated, from the giant 303 campaign at Junction 2 and the augmented Complex experience, to your recent visual mapping campaign with GRM Daily and WaterAid, you’ve clearly got an eye and an ear for innovation. What are your predictions for the next major technological shifts and advancements in electronic music?

 

As you can probably tell we’re very excited by immersive technology and experiences that bring the audience into an interactive space.

There are numerous shifts that are taking place from Blockchain that has the potential to bring transparency to the music industry and ensure artists and rights-holders are paid their fair share all the way to simple digital platforms can streamline communication and drive efficiency.

I think one of the most exciting evolutions will be how live performances become more immersive. For example, Eric Prydz hologram is such a mind blowing concept and I think ideas like this will continue to grow and become more cost-effective.

I also think music production will become even more accessible as new technology makes it easier to learn and create. VR can play a big role here but I’ve also seen some interesting evolutions in mixed-reality, especially examples where multiple people can be in the same room learning together. You only need to look at Star Wars Secrets of The Empire as an example on how this could also work in other fields.

There is a huge trend towards immersive events and I also think that music, theatre and art is going to continue merging and it will result in new innovations that didn’t exist before.

The major social platforms like Facebook and YouTube are clearly very useful for the music industry but some artists have also realised they don’t own any of the data and are at the mercy of the platforms algorithm changes. As a result, some artists have already started building their own ecosystem and community for example Taylor Swift and Ryan Leslie are winning in this space.

Platforms like Skute (one of our partners) have been innovating in this space for the past few years and we’ve worked on some very interesting case studies that show how this could evolve.

I also believe that brands will continue to play a key role in the music industry and in some ways can become the new record labels by funding art and supporting talent. I love what Smirnoff are doing and i’ve listed numerous other examples on our blog.

As a young entrepreneur there must be a lot of pressure to build your business, manage a team and balance work & relationships. How do you escape from the pressure of business?

Fabric, Village Underground, LWE, Sunwaves, Ibiza haha …

I’m either spending time making music or end up going out quite a lot to different parties and just escaping through music. I find it always helps when i’m quite stressed to just go back to the dancefloor and remember why I got into this industry in the first place and I never want to lose that passion.

There is a very important conversation about balance and wellness in the industry and I respect what industry leaders like Ben Turner are doing with projects like Remedy State. It’s an important topic and I think more experienced influencers from the industry should be educating the next generation about taking care of themselves, mentally and physically. I’m definitely still trying to find the best way to balance my life, especially making time for friends and family. You can easily get lost in your vision and forget about other aspects of your life.

You will be on a panel at this years IMS in partnership with the Young Guns Network discussing how the next generation are disrupting the music industry. Tell us more about this panel and your thoughts on the topic

The panel was curated by Mich Mellard who won last years IMS Visionaries contest. There are some really cool people on the panel including one of my good friends Lauren Pavan who is the COO of GRM Daily. My perspective on it is that the industry needs to be mentoring and supporting more young people as they have some great ideas but need the guidance. I was lucky that I found some great people to help support my vision but there are many others that don’t have the same luck.

We live in an interesting time where many young people are growing up disillusioned by the state of the economy, capitalism and politics. This sparks an interesting debate in a fast-changing space where data-privacy, social media & teenage depression capture the headlines. I want to touch on a wide range of topics within this space and one of my key takeaways is that the next generation will be polymaths in that they have access to so much information and can learn numerous skills through the internet. I think this will have a huge impact on the rate of innovation and disruption in the future so big businesses need to be supporting and working with young people quicker and more effectively. 

Last year I curated a panel at IMS which was discussing the role of brands in the music industry and how to land a brand deal and I’m also working at a few other events this year covering whether university is really worth it at Brighton Music Conference and also exploring the future role of a CEO at the Youth Marketing Summit. It’s exciting to discuss these topics with influential people and hopefully inspire people in some way.

Since being awarded as the IMS Visionaries Winner for 2016, you have played a pivotal role in developing the contest, to both broaden its reach and increase its appeal to the next generation of potential visionaries.

2018 will be its 4th edition, and with the closing date for entries fast approaching in April, what tips can you give to anyone who’s considering applying and aspiring to follow-in your footsteps?  

IMS Visionaries is a really great programme that has supported a number of young people including myself and all of the winners are a success story in their own right so I can’t take too much credit for the work that the team has done to create the platform.

I have 2 key tips for anyone applying:

  1. Watch videos from IMS and all other major music conferences: this will give you a really good insight into the topics the industry is discussing and you will also see how the conversation has evolved over the past few years
  2. Define your vision: a little bit obvious but it’s really vital that you have a strong vision with a clear and understandable message. Spend time storyboarding your narrative and speaking with other people about what they think, inspiration can come from anywhere

Since my company started working with IMS last year I proposed to launch the IMS Accelerator which is a programme aimed at supporting the next generation of music startups. It’s only the first year but we’ve had dozens of applications from all over the world which is very exciting. I’m looking forward to hearing from all of the startups and working with IMS to support the next generation of industry influencers.

Finally, what panels are you looking forward to hearing at IMS this year and what defines your Ibizan experience?

Obviously the panel i’m on will be a lot of fun, hopefully we can get into an actual debate and challenge perceptions. There are so many great panels at IMS every year so it’s hard to pick one but I think the parenting discussion and sexual harassment will provide some actionable insights and push our industry to change.

Dc-10 opening and Dalt Vila are still the best moments i’ve ever experienced at Ibiza and i’m literally counting down for that. (Hierbas too…)

Learn more about both IMS x Mixmag Visionaries & Accelerator here

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Interview conducted by Luke Farrugia

Grahame Farmer is the founder of the website, Data Transmission & DT Radio.  Data Transmission is an online music authority which covers house, techno, drum & bass and all their sub-genres. 

Since the start of 2018, Grahame has been giving out his 15 years of dance music industry experience and knowledge via his personal Facebook and Instagram (@grahamefarmer for both).  We asked him to give us his top 5 tips for artists trying to breakthrough in 2018.

Here are his top tips.

1. Get a job. 

The biggest thing for any wannabe DJ, you will need funds / income whilst you learn your craft as you are not going to be paid for gigs for a while.

These will include:

1. Travel money to get gigs
2. Money for music (don’t steal music, you won’t like it when you are trying to sell it)
3. Money to go out and network
4. Money for production hardware and software
5. Money for advertising on Facebook / Instagram / Soundcloud reposts

2. Build your channels whilst your learning

Social media (Facebook, Instagram,Snapchat) isn’t going away and it’s now the gateway for you to make it as a DJ or a producer.  Building your channels whilst your learn to DJ and/or learn to produce music is key, you are going to need numbers.

To get numbers you are going to need content. When you are learning this is going to be harder for you if you have no gigs or releases – most think.  I tend to disagree if you want to be a DJ which at its very base is curating music for people to dance too and enjoy.

You can build playlists on Spotify, your followers are the future for you. Update your Spotify playlist weekly.  You can include friends tracks and you can include labels you want to be on in the future.  You can then share this on your social media as one of your pieces of content that week.  That’s 1 of 7 for that week.

Charting on Traxsource/Beatport is a similar vibe and then becomes numbers 2 & 3.  Making videos of your tracks in progress and asking for feedback online is a great piece of social media, it will have interaction as people comment and give you the feedback.

Going live on FB and DJing, shows off your skills, builds numbers and helps you build a fanbase – make sure you set a regular time each week / month so people know to tune in and it will help you build fans quicker.

Finally, learning Facebook Admanager and making your page a facebook business account will give you better reach for your £/$.

3. Hustle for Gigs and get the most of out of them

Everyone wants more gigs, but, unless you are worth more than £250 – £500 per gig then you won’t get a booking agent that will work for you.  So you need to learn to ask for gigs yourself or work with a friend who can ask for you and then take a percentage of your fee.

When you first start out, not getting paid for gigs is going to happen, especially if you are only bringing yourself and your skill to the party (by the way millions have that skill and they will do it for nothing so you are going to have to).  You are going to need to get more out of the gig, the promoter has socials, the other DJs that are playing have socials – interacting with them on instagram will give your small power likes.

Give the promoter loads of your content for their socials – firstly it will help them, they have a weekly need for content (especially the smaller ones), secondly it drives people back to you – so you make off the gig.

4. Build your own castle

Networking is key in any world. Fact.

You can’t just sit in your room making music and think the world is going to come to you, you need to get out there and meet people, especially promoters if you want gigs.  Going to an event and understanding the vibe of the party and meeting the promoter is key to getting gigs, supporting them will help them support you.

Build your own castle of friends in the industry, DJs who like what you are doing will help you scale the ladder quicker, the bigger the castle the bigger you are.

5. Excuses

Final one, what young DJs need to understand is no one gives a shit about your excuses, no-one cares if you can’t change a wav in to a mp3, because ‘you don’t know computers’ – Google it!!

If you turn up to a gig and can’t set-up your equipment because ‘you’re not very technical’ this is utter rubbish, as far as the organizers are concerned, you need to be able to do this. No one has time to baby you.

No one cares if no one is listening to your music or not getting back to you about signing your tracks, you need to work harder and try new methods to get your music and you out there. Be inventive with your promotion, if your dream is to be signed by a major label why not use facebook advertising and target everyone that works for those companies and only them.

Hustle and work hard if you want it, otherwise there are 100’s more who are more hungry.

Are you interested in featuring on the IMS Blog? Get in touch with inder@internationalmusicsummit.com with your ideas and help shape the future of the industry