IMS 2014 – Day 1: An Overview

22 May 2014

Day 1 of IMS 2014 started with Kevin Watson’s Business Report. He went over the figures showing the phenomenal global growth of dance music sales including; the amazing Ronaldo beating revenues of Calvin Harris, the successful expansion of companies and brands like SFX and the rise of dance festivals across the world. Watson’s big headline was the global value of the dance industry growing from $4.5bn in 2013 to $6.2bn this year.

Next, Lohan Prescencer from Ministry of Sound gave his State of the Nation address. Prescencer’s been in the industry since 1991 and has watched the genre and industry evolve constantly. He sees dance music as about one-off hits and compilations, the  two things that helped to forge his label. Prescencer finished with the nugget, that while Ministry of Sound we’re pioneers in the digital market, they suffered early failures but now sell over 2million digital bundles a year.

Mark Lawrence was then announced as the new CEO of the ASSOCIATION FOR ELECTRONIC MUSIC (AFEM). Lawrence explained his history as Director of Membership for PRS for Music where he championed a project aimed at increasing royalties for Dance music. He went on to explain that AFEM is going to be a safe haven for everyone in the industry to have free discussions, raise issues and create connections.

Next, the AFEM members panel debated a range of issues that could help strengthen the dance industry and further legitimise it within the greater sphere of the music industry. Liz Miller from Big Beat records stated the need for a dedicated Awards show to represent Dance Music. The board went on to discuss the problems and possible solutions for improving royalty revenue for artists. Ben Turner (co-founder of AFEM and co-founder of IMS) rounded up the panel by affirming that the Association for Electronic Music’s aim is to “preserve, promote and protect our genre”.

Turner then went on to interview poster-boy entrepreneur Blaise Bellvile who founded the DJ streaming platform Boiler Room in 2010. He recounted how the venture grew from one webcam and 4 mates to having a monthly reach of 7million viewers. Bellvile talked about working with Youtube and brands like Redbull to bring in audiences and create big moments. Boiler Rooms key to success is that they don’t just rely on big acts to draw crowds but also focus on a variety of underserved ‘micro scenes’ and therefore aren’t dictated by what has the highest ratings.

Miles Leonard the Chairman of Parlophone and co-chairman of Warner Bros. Records UK took to the stage with Pete Tong. Leonard explained his route into the industry as an A&R scout and how the business models of major labels has had diversify after the fall in digital sales. Pete asked about Coldplays incredible affinity with the dance scene and they’re latest collaboration with Avicci. Leonard then explained that while radio stations still drive hit records today, the streaming business model will become increasingly relevant once the industry achieves scale and volume. He finished by giving advice to any aspiring A&Rs; never rest on your laurels, “some artists can bomb but you can’t give up”.

Next a panel of BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China & South Africa) discussed how dance music is growing in developing markets.  Senior VP of Viacom18 Media, Jaideep Singh, revealed that there are 100 million potential dance music fans in India. Duncun Ringrose from Shadoworks, representing Africa, explained that Afrohouse is a mega-brand that’s creating an unprecedented demand for House Music. Head of A&R for Effective Records, Kirill Lupinos, explained that Russia lacks a developed dance music infrastructure and the nations EDM artists are far more popular around the world than within Russia itself.

The founder of SBTV, Jamal Edwards was then grilled by Nick Decosemo from Mixmag. The young entrepreneur talked about how he taught himself the production techniques that define his channels style and why he diversified from music into general life style. Edwards went on to divulge his love of dance music and his plans to reflect the genre more whist also aiming to forge partnerships with Media, Fashion, and Comedy.

Next the legendary music producer and artist Andrew Scheps was interviewed by Declain McGlynn from London’s Point Black music production school about his techniques for making and mixing records. He explained the process behind making Jay-Z’s hit 99 Problems sound so energetic, how he mixed Adele’s voice and why it’s important to upload the best quality of music possible when posting online.

Day 1 of the conference ended with a new festival announcement by Corona, Beatport and the SFX entertainment group. The Corona Sunset events will run across the summer in five countries including the UK (Western-Super-Mayer), Canada (Toronto Beach), Mexico (Playa Del Carmin and Acapulco) & of course, Ibiza. Beatport, in conjunction with Corona, are running a DJ competition to find a DJ or producer that represents the sound of the beach. And on top of that, Corona are working with the Blue Flag organisation on a clean beach initiative that will run all summer.