Brighton Music Conference 2016 review

From talks on the ever-changing dance music industry to night-time networking events, we lapped up everything BMC had to offer.

Jimmy Coultas

Last updated: 19th Apr 2016

Music conferences are vital to the dance industry. It's the easiest and most extensive way to meet the right people and learn more about the scene. Winter Music Conference, International Music Summit and Amsterdam Dance Event are some of the core events on the calendar, but in the UK it's Brighton which houses a unique support platform. 

After making its impressive debut in 2014, each year the Brighton Music Conference has strived to bring a little bit of that international industry vibrancy to home soil, focusing on trends and technologies with the industry's leading figures and latest equipment. 

The conference acts as a hub for professionals, music lovers, DJs and budding artists. With talks and workshops running throughout the two days and a cluster of parties taking place across the city, deciding on where to base yourself is the tricky bit about BMC.

The main conference space is located at the Brighton Dome in the centre of the city, with the arts venue boasting an exhibition floor, branded areas and theatres. The exhibitor hall was filled from wall to wall with stalls teaming with the latest technology, from production software to DJ equipment to lighting.

Whilst wavering through the launch pads and lasers, you can't go a few meters without seeing a familiar face. From world renowned DJs, journalists and promoters, all of them were networking and learning on the same level as other attendees.

We decided to educate ourselves through the 'Dance Music Media in 2016' talk, which was a look at the content which we consume across all platforms. Led by journalist Eamonn Forde, he asked all the important questions on diminished ad revenue, clickbait articles and what the future holds for the media we love.

At the receiving end of these questions were a selection of presenters and publishers from broadcast, print and online. Ralph Moore from Mixmag made some valid points on how consumers are more than happy to absorb and explore what they're consuming but they want it for free, something that is affecting the print industry massively. 

Carly Wilford from IAmMusic explained that she works closely with brands to make money rather than advertising, whilst Ralph went into detail about how The LAB is booming at the moment, and that audiences are really keen to experience the act that they like and feel part of that event. 

Mikey Maguire, a publisher at the satirical Wunderground told attendees how every DJ wants to be featured on the site and "have the piss taken out of them" now, but that they always have to be careful about what they publish. A running theme throughout the talk was the power of social media, and how that's giving consumers more power than ever (watch the video above for more on that).

The 'From the Bedroom to the Main Stage', saw the Managing Director of Hospital Records Chris Goss ask some key bass artists about talk about the transition young artists face. Pavan Mukhi from Foreign Beggars and Mala explained how it's a lot easier now for artists to make the transition with technology on their side, but that passion should always be a priority. 

Another great talk which resonated with us was the 'Gender Equality In Music' discussion which was led by Carly Wilford. It was less about ranting and more about awareness, with Mobilee founder Ralf Kollmann talking as a businessman who truly sees the benefits of having women on his team. 

Lucy Blair, the Director of Motive Unknown, recalled an event where she was just considered her boyfriend's plus one rather than a standalone industry professional and highlighted how although we're moving forward, women and men are still not quite equal in this scene and men need to take notice in relation to issues like maternity leave.

Even after the main event had finished up at the Dome, Brighton was still bustling with industry professionals and music lovers well into the night. The Thursday evening saw us run down the end of the pier in the rain to be part of Wunderground's networking party. Complete with carpeted floor and stain glass windows, the Horatio's Bar was every bit as sea-side pub as you'd imagine, just soundtracked by Hot Creation's Russ Yallop.

On the Friday night we headed to a Toolroom Academy party at Dead Wax Social, an intimate vinyl bar located in the city centre where the label had spent the day conducting demonstrations. Almost overflowing with attendees, the groups continued to mingle until 11pm as a selection of DJs worked through their own vinyl only sets. 

This year's Brighton Music Conference was another chance to build on existing relationships, put names to faces and learn more about the constantly changing music industry. Whether you're just starting out, or you've spent years as part of the scene, there's always going to be something new to unearth at the BMC. 

Read our interview with Mobilee boss Anja Schneider

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