This year’s EDMbiz did not hold back on asking industry leaders and artists alike about some of the most pressing issues currently surrounding the dance music scene. For two days panelists talked about issues from the term “EDM,” drug use by festival attendees, women in dance music and much more. There were both solemn moments and light-hearted moments during the conference. Each day had plenty of great moments in which we will present the highlights to you so if you missed out or were there and want a bit of a recap, look no further.
Right off the bat on day one of the conference, a huge highlight for us was the panel titled “Drugs in Dance Music: It’s Time for the Industry to Act.” Panelists brought up the topic about awareness, recovery, and change. The focus of the panel was about the importance that peer-to-peer education has and responsibility within the person on the topic that the dance community has had a large problem with in the past and in the present. Emotions ran high during the panel and the panelists did not lay back on the issues about safety and the lack of proper education available to festival and concert goers. The panel also highlighted the need for Congress to give a definitive definition on the RAVE Act and whether or not promoters will be punished for providing education to their customers. Getting clarification on this act is really holding back efforts promoters and other groups would like to make to bring proper awareness to this issue.
Other focal points from day one include the opening panel discussing the term “EDM” and the connotation surrounding it and whether or not it is a good thing. This remained a topic for debate all conference. The panel “Beyond the Boys’ Club: What’s Next For Women In Dance Music” discussed the reasons why women are being misrepresented in the industry, and other panels discussing entrepreneurship opportunities in the dance music and EDM’s value to brands and live entertainment.
Day two then picked up right where day one left off. The day started off with the future of radio and the history surrounding radio’s presence in dance music and then moved into managers along with producers and DJ’s talking about how to build the next superstar. The peak moment of the day though had to be Insomniac’s founder and CEO Pasquale Rotella’s first ever keynote address. Rotella reflected on his early days and the beginnings of Insomniac, the time he was shot at during an event, Insomniac’s future growth plans, and the impact EDC has had throughout the industry and the globe.
Wrapping up day two we also had keynote addresses from Armin van Buuren who discussed plans for his upcoming tour and his label Armada while also reflecting on his time as DJ Mag’s number one DJ where he faced many ups-and-downs during that period. Moby also gave a keynote where he talked a bit about his new memoir and reflected back on his upbringing in New York. The conference closed with a more cheery but serious discussion during the artist panel featuring the likes of Jauz, Alison Wonderland, Laidback Luke and more.
Not only did the panels make their mark on the audience but also the opportunities for people aspiring to breakthrough into the dance music industry to connect with each other. Throughout the weekend we met people from across the country and even the globe who had a love and passion for dance music and wanted to learn how they too could put their mark onto the industry. That experience was probably the most invaluable and where the bulk of the learning at the conference was done. Going face-to-face with people with a love for dance music and listening to them speak with such a passion for why they were there and what their goals on was humbling. It was great to see so many people who found a place in the world because of dance music. In the end that is what is all about and what we were there for.
Insomniac really knocked it out of the park this year with EDMbiz and we can talk about the benefits of going for much longer than just this blog post. It is really something that anyone who is aspiring to be involved in dance music should attend. The connections made, the lessons learned, and insight gained were all of great benefit to us. As the team over at Insomniac calls them, any “aspirationals” who want to make a difference in the industry of dance music, I challenge you to go to this conference next year and share why you love dance music and let those who you meet know what you have to offer. You will find us there again next year and we will be all ears.