What do you get when you mix millennial’s, damn good music, some smart-passionate business people, and a new way of thinking? A 6.2 billion dollar industry called EDM. Don’t get me wrong, this didn’t happen overnight. EDM, House Music, Techno or whatever else you want to call it, has been pretty popular for quite sometime, but not like this. Between social media, Youtube, and the information era, it has given EDM an entirely new platform and a new generation of millions of fans. Allowing it to blossom into one of the biggest movements and cultural paradigms since rock n’ roll. And with that explosion, EDM has not just become big business, but an “Industry.” So the good folks at Insomniac decided 3 years ago, since we have become big biz we should have a biz conference. Where all the innovators, creators, aspirers, and leaders can get together and have a platform to discuss, plan and summarize what we have become and where we are going…
Welcome to the EDMBiz Conference and Expo.
I arrived at the sleek, young, and hip Cosmopolitan Hotel on Wednesday morning eager to start my EDM filled day of networking, discussing, and learning. As I approached the atrium on the 4th floor where the conference was being held, you could immediately hear the thumping of bass and people talking. If you didn’t know any better you would have thought you were about to walk into a club. But that’s what it’s all about right? It makes you appreciate it even more being involved in something so great, that what you consider fun and your passion is the same place you are going to do work. After we waited on line for about 15 minutes to check in and perused through the Insomniac magazine and were demoed the brand new insomniac.com website, I got my pass and headed into the Expo center. This is where all the exhibitors were. Everyone from established companies to newly launched, from tech to accessories. Knowing I was already a little late for the first speaker I breezed through and went directly to the room where the panels were being held.
Opening the conference was supposed to be James Barton President of Electronic Music at Live Nation, however a last minute change was made to Sean Christie, director of event operations at the Wynn. I must say, I was delightfully surprised. We got a first hand look into how Las Vegas became a Mecca for EDM and the role that Sean and Steve Wynn played in that. Discussing when the Wynn first decided to go the EDM route and approached Kaskade but many of the DJ’s were reluctant. They knew Steve Wynn didn’t really believe in, or like EDM. Then he went on to discuss how it started taking off and to get the top DJ’s they would flex their financial muscle by tremendously outbidding all the other clubs and pool parties. To the present day where Las Vegas has become one, if not the main destination for big name artists. He also referenced how you can literally see five top DJ’s in the world in one night which is something you can’t even do in Ibiza.
From there we got to see a very diverse group of panels. From #20something, which consist of the young leaders in EDM all under the age of 30, to the State of the labels panel, to EDM in Pop Culture.
My personal favorites were, the presentation from Tatiana Oliveira Simonian who is the head of Branded Entertainment at Nielsen and the conversation with the very loud and outspoken Bob Lefsetz.
Tatiana’s topic was, “Engaging the Electronic Music Listener” in which she went over a data analysis conducted by Nielsen specifically on EDM and its fans. Some of the data included Live attendance stats, Top U.S. markets and how friends cite fans of electronic music as trendsetters.
Bob’s panel talk was definitely the highlight of the last day for me. If you are not familiar with Bob Lefsetz he is very well known in the music industry. A one time entertainment lawyer who began writing what is now known as the Lefsetz letter. A sometimes twice daily email newsletter which a big percentage of the music industry reads. What I like about Bob is, he not only tells you how it is, but he is very logical, smart, and open minded. Which many Baby Boomers his age fail to be. Although sometimes a little hypocritical he is definitely tapped into the pulse of the music business and tech world.
All in all, the EDMBiz conference was great. Some of the panels were a little boring and I would have liked to see some representatives from, Soundcloud, Youtube, Spinnin Records and others, but I am sure you will begin seeing the bigger name companies join the panels as the EDMBiz Conference continues to grow. This being my first year in attendance, I was told that not only has the expo grown tremendously from about two booths, to about 20 exhibitors this year, but the room in which the panels were held was a quarter of the size that it is currently.
So if you are looking to make EDM your business I suggest next year getting down to Las Vegas.