International Music Summit (IMS), the inspirational, educational and motivational thought-leadership platform for the electronic music industry, last week delivered another insightful and inspiring schedule of powerful and at times emotional discussions on the most important issues facing the scene today, delivered by 120 artists and industry leaders.
Across 3 days IMS Ibiza welcomed 1,200 members of the global electronic music community from 48 different countries for a powerful week of reflection, positivity and progress.
IMS co-founder Pete Tong (BBC Radio 1, Broadcaster, UK) opened the 11th edition of the summit with an incredibly poignant opening tribute to Tim Bergling, otherwise known as superstar artist Avicii. Tong’s reflection on his life, his legacy and the impact of his tragic and untimely death started the summit on a somber but important note, reminding all of the importance of putting the spotlight “firmly back on our industry and the health of the DJ”, adding the powerful statement “we weren’t supposed to die chasing the dream.”
Ben Turner (Remedy State, Co-Founder, UK) and Blaise James (Remedy State, Co-Founder, USA) reflected deeply on the success of the first REMEDY STATE retreat which took place immediately prior to IMS Ibiza, an essential space for music industry professionals to decompress and balance before the hectic summer work schedule begins. Turner commented “when we started IMS Ibiza 11 years ago we were talking about the validity of the DJ Mag Top 100, now we’re talking about anxiety, mental health and drug safety”, underpinning the importance and relevance of the new retreat and the powerful focus that the 2018 summit had on protecting not only ourselves but also our peers and colleagues within the community.
In SAFE FROM HARM – OUR DUTY OF CARE, a debate hosted by the ASSOCIATION FOR ELECTRONIC MUSIC key industry figures discussed why it is time to protect the health of global artists and not the wealth of global businesses. Panelist Kelly Money (Little Empire Music, Vice President, UK) reminded all that “You can’t be successful unless you are healthy.” this sentiment echoed by Christine Brown (Help Musicians, Director of External Affairs and Bus. Development, UK) who moved towards a possible solution “It’s all about enabling the individual to help themselves and seek help when they need it.” The conclusions? The industry is ready to make change to help those feeling pressure and speaking out and seeking help is vitally important for self-care.
Two key sessions highlighted the need for fundamental change to take place to help eradicate and reduce some of the more harmful elements present in electronic music culture. In SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN DJ CULTURE – HOSTED BY SHESAID.SO moderator Kate Hutchinson (The Guardian, Journalist, UK) asked “what’s it going to take for electronic music to have its own movement on sexual harassment?”. An incredulous Honey Dijon (Artist, USA), questioned why more hasn’t been done and put the focus back on our community to make change “it’s a culture responsibility, we’re in 2018…and we’re still at square one on this subject”.
In THE CASE FOR: DRUG TESTING AT EVENTS – HOSTED BY THE LOOP we learned from Fiona Measham (Durham University Professor of Criminology/The Loop Director, UK) that the UK has the highest rate of drug related death in Europe, indicating the current policy of prohibition needs to be shifted to one of harm reduction. Freddie Fellowes (Secret Garden Party, Promoter, UK) put it simply “human beings have been taking drugs as long as they have existed. What we need to do is encourage a more healthy relationship with drugs.”
One of the biggest audiences of the summit was undoubtedly awarded to viral sensation BRADLEY GUNN RAVER who used the spotlight as a candid opportunity to share how he has broken down the barriers of living with Asperger’s Syndrome through his love of electronic music. “I’ve got this saying ‘Love Life and Rave’. I live it, it simply means what it says, to go out and love your life and rave” he proudly declared to a standing ovation from the assembled delegates.
The much-anticipated annual business report, presented by Kevin Watson (Author of IMS Business Report, UK) revealed statistics that pointed to a slowdown in the global electronic music industry value, observed for the first time in recent years. “Overall, electronic music industry global value is down 2% year on year to $7.3bn and the value of integration into mainstream culture is immeasurable”, however, the outlook remains positive following the explosion of electronic music culture into the mainstream.
IMS Ibiza revealed artists are now taking control of their own content and are key players in the scene, questioning the traditional label model, with Jon Rundell (Artist, UK) exclaiming on GIVE IT AWAY OR MAKE IT PAY “because I own all my music I probably earn more money now than I did when I was releasing downloads” a sentiment echoed by Black Coffee (Artist, South Africa) who stated “For me the future of the music industry is artists controlling their own content. Who are these record labels marketing to when my fan base is following me?”. Stuart Knight (Toolroom, Managing Director, UK) added thoughts from a label perspective, reminding all that labels still play an important part in working with new talent, but they need to diversify in order to survive – “you can’t have 20 staff and just sell records, you have to have a 360 business.”
Ibiza once again was the focus of two lively sessions, THE GREAT ANNUAL IBIZA DEBATE and BLACK ROCK CITY x IBIZA, each one returning to the issue of sustainability, both of the electronic music culture on the island but also for an island that is facing great environmental threat. Ed Karney (GRADE Management, Director, UK) delivered this powerful statement “If you don’t look at where the kids are coming from, all of this will fizzle off into a bunch of middle aged people, like myself, who are kind of looking back and thinking, what happened?”
A highly anticipated session came from Deadmau5 (Artist, USA), who joined the summit via live steam from his home studio, with his manager Dean Wilson (SEVEN20, CEO, UK) at the summit providing an animated and engaging conversation. Witty, insightful and disruptive, the artist did not shy away from the truth “I’m really happy with where I’m at right now, I’m kind of in the middle. I’ve pissed enough people off that I’ll never be right at the top and I’m worth enough money that I’ll never be at the bottom.”
House music legend Todd ‘The God’ Terry (Artist, USA) was a firm summit favourite, sharing stories of his past in New York and early days on the scene, to working with icons such as David Bowie and sharing sage advice to the next generation “You gotta make tracks, it’s hard to compete but there is no other way. You’ve got to find something that works for you…it’s tough out there.”
The illustrious legacies and milestones of Sónar Festival, Toolroom Records and Positiva Records were all closely inspected and celebrated, plus IMS Ibiza honored iconic electronic music act Underworld at this years Legends Dinner. The exceptional high-octane show and hot ticket of the summit was held at unique venue Heart Ibiza and featured a one-off special intimate live performance of the due for those lucky enough to secure tickets to attend.
The summit finished seamlessly; moving everyone’s attention from the dialogue of the conference room to the walls of UNESCO World Heritage Site Dalt Vila, headlined by Sven Väth featuring an incredible b2b lineup including Peggy Gou b2b Jackmaster and more, marking the start of the 2018 Ibiza season.