By Lauren Clarke-Bennett
The Winter Music Conference (WMC) held in Miami Beach for the last 29 years during Spring Break threw another spectacular event. For 10 days the Electronic Dance Music (EDM), industry, that has exploded over the last few years, descended on South Florida’s playground of the glitterati to host a myriad of seminars, workshops, DJ competitions, premiers, non-stop parties and of course the IDMA Awards Ceremony which announced the best of EDM for 2013-2014.
As if that wasn’t enough, the awesome Ultra Music Festival now in its 16th year ended the conference with a three-day music concert filled with the top EDM performers in the world that shook downtown Miami to its core. An experience not to be forgotten, the close to 165,000 revelers per day, came to partake in the music festivities only to prove that EDM is here to stay.
With a list of forums that sounded like classes given at top music schools WMC hosted workshops that covered subjects such as, A&R listening, artist development, audio technology, distribution strategies, European & Latin market trends, event promotion, major vs. independent record labels, songwriting/publishing and panel of managers, lawyers and agents. Anything and everything an aspiring DJ or someone wanting to break into the industry itself would need to succeed.
A host of sound equipment companies; Numark, DJ Tech Ltd., Pioneer, Prism Media Products Ltd., Roland Keyboards, were also on hand to regal the virtues of their products and demonstrate their awesome sound.
A history lesson in the form of a movie called BACK IN THE HOUSE, told the story of house music and the club scene in NYC in the mid-90s, entertained and gave the viewer a bird’s eye view of what the end of the Millennium was really like when it came to raving in the Big Apple.
Premier DJ in the world Hardwell took time out to give his advice on how to navigate the industry and talk about his upcoming film ‘I Am Hardwell’. He spoke of his commitment and desire to be No. 1 which paid off this year when he was rated No.1 DJ in the world by DJ Mag and welcomed one of the youngest DJ/producers in the world, 10 year old Aiden Jude to the fold.
A panel entitled ‘Back to the Future’, which included Cedric Gervaise, BT, Greg “Stryke” Chin, Sultan, discussed the past, present and future of EDM. The forum spoke of their personal experiences in the business and answered questions from the audience. Grammy nominated BT made it clear that “Once you create your music it is critical that you get it out there.”
Superstar DJ Kaskade spoke of his multi-Grammy nominations and his recently released 8th studio album, Atmosphere. From producing for mega star Beyonce to appearing at all the major EDM festivals and performing nearly 200 headlining shows annually (which he prefers) for the last 10 years, he has helped create a cultural shift of post-rock electronic music that has captured a new generation of fans from across the world.
Rising stars Showtek, an EDM act consisting of brothers, Sjoerd and Wouter Janssen from Holland not only play most of the major EDM festivals but created Skink Records (licensed to Spinnin Records) and collaborate with other mega artists like Tiesto, Hardwell and Chris Brown. During the WMC they showed us a great time with a delicious luncheon at the Fratellis La Bufala Restaurant on South Beach.
One of the highlights of the entire experience was the Martin Garrix press conference at Nikki Beach with, Garrix, Eelko van Kooten co-founder of Spinnin’ records and Scooter Braun who manages Bieber, Usher and now Garrix the 17-year-old Bieber look alike, Dutch DJ who has taken the EDM world by storm. With his No. 1 dance music hit Animals he has garnered a huge fan in Scooter.
“For me the excitement is, beyond the fact that [Garrix] puts on an incredible live show, he actually is a very talented musician,” Scooter said, “and he is able to produce for just about anybody, which I think is the next level of showing musicianship. [Scooter] really knows how to break into the mainstream public.” Martin said. “I want to produce really cool club tracks and he can help them cross over.”
The 29th IDMA Awards hosted by the WMC at the Colony Theater & Segfredo was one of the most highly anticipated global music award shows dedicated to the EDM industry where music legends and emerging talent came together to celebrate the winners of the 2013-2014 season. Over 2 million fans voted from over 200 countries and territories this year to recognize and honor exceptional accomplishments in numerous award categories.