IMS Ibiza 2016 Round Up

Jo Waddington talks us through some of the key points from this year's conference in Ibiza, including discussions with Carl Cox and Erick Morillo.

Becca Frankland

Date published: 3rd Jun 2016

Image: IMS Ibiza

The music industry’s movers and shakers descended on Ibiza last week for one of the most respected conferences in the business. 25th-27th May saw the International Music Summit in its ninth year presenting educational, inspirational and motivational discussions within the electronic music industry.

Taking place at the Hard Rock Hotel, the three day conference covered issues of streaming, new start-ups, the future of the island itself and an array of keynote interviews from the likes of Carl Cox, Seth Troxler, Pet Shop Boys and Erick Morillo. We have pulled together the highlights of each day below.

Day 1

The IMS Business report showed that the electronic music industry is now worth over $7 billion, showing a 60% rise over the past three years. There was then an announcement from Stephen White, CEO of Dubset, that the company are collaborating with Spotify to make it possible for DJs to legally upload original mixes and track remixes – a big leap.

Later on in the afternoon was the ‘Space Ibiza : End of an Era’ talk with Space founder Pepe Roselló, Carl Cox and his manager Lynn Cosgrove. It really was an emotional trip down memory lane hearing Pepe’s stories and his visions over the years. Paired with Carl’s experiences and Lynn’s anecdotes it was just like sitting in a room with old friends.

It was interesting to hear their views on the current ‘VIP culture’ of Ibiza where all three agreed it takes away the essence and spirit of the island with Pepe likening it to an Ancient Roman Amphitheatre ideology, where the rich can look down on people.

It's no secret that the team behind Ushuaia will be taking over the Space site with Carl explaining that the ‘situation’ was out of all their control but on a positive note declared that this season they were going out with a band and that this is by no means the end of Carl in Ibiza, something which many had feared since the announcement of the club’s closure.

A highlight of the first day was by far hearing Dave Haslam and Seth Troxler in conversation. Towards the end of 2014, Troxler acquired a collection of 4,500 records previously owned by Haslam, legendary Haçienda DJ. The discussion highlighted Dave’s reasons for selling, how he had simply announced on social media that he was selling the collection and his surprise at Seth getting in-touch.

We then heard Seth’s insights into his reason behind buying them and of how the Haçienda and Manchester music as a whole had inspired him so much in his career and still continues to do so. He then treated us to a spin of a few of his favourite tracks from the collection including Marine Girls and wonderfully, Joy Division. 

Day 2

The day started with an in-depth interview & discussion with Erick Morillo who spoke to Pete Tong about his previous problems with alcohol and drugs, giving an honest account of his addiction and of how bad things got when he began injecting ketamine.

He also spoke of his three visits to rehab, being arrested three times, being banned from British Airways & losing the love of his life whom he got divorced from. A lesson to many DJs in the industry, especially new and rising to fame rapidly, that it’s a world full of temptation and it’s a challenge to stay focused. 

Later that day was the other side of the Space story, an interview with Founder of Ushuaïa, Yann Pissenem. Discussing Space Ibiza’s closing and the future of the club, Yann snuffed out fears that he will be demolishing the venue and explained what a huge new responsibility it was now for him and the electronic music scene, to make sure the spirit was kept alive. He gave no comments about a name change though. 

Almost hitting back at the negativity formed around the VIP culture of Ibiza, which has recently come under fire by many Ibiza veterans, Yann commented from an Ushuaïa perspective that the VIP is mainly an age factor “Kids are at the front row partying, but if you're a 40-year old, you don't want to be among that crowd.”

The day was rounded off with the Mixmag panel ‘New Breed’, where rising talents Danny Daze, Danny Howard, Francesca Lombardo and Kolsch discussed the ascent of their careers, highlighted their future ambitions, gave advice for aspiring artists and also voiced their opinion on music marketing and social media. It was great to hear Kolsch declare his support of the marketing aspect and disclose that he looks at that aspect as an extension for his creativity.

Day 3

The final day of the conference saw some of the island’s most influential players come together to discuss the Great Annual Ibiza debate. Shauna Slevin, manager of The Martinez Brothers, suggested a growing saturation within the island. Pete Tong’s viewpoint was that despite other up and coming territories, Ibiza still remains of huge importance within the music industry.

One of the most talked about discussions of the day was the ‘Diversity In Electronic Music’ panel which tackled issues of female representation within the electronic music industry. The strongest reactions of the day came from both of the panel’s artists, B.Traits and Nicole Moudaber, who readily agreed they’d never like to hear the phrase "female DJ" used again.

Moudaber even commented that she’d once asked a publication to remove her from their list of the best female DJs for that very reason, commenting, “There isn’t a ‘black DJ chart’ or ‘blue eyes’ chart, so why is there a ‘female chart?'” B.Traits agreed, saying that men need to step up and be supportive.

As of 2014, just 11% of electronic music festival DJs were female, according to Anats, and just 18% of labels included women.

As day turned to night all eyes led to Dalt Vila where a selection of  artists took control of the stunning UNESCO site. Sets came from Francesca Lombardo, Benjamin Damage, B Traits, Tale Of Us and Nicole Moudaber, with Dubfire presenting his HYBRID showcase to officially close IMS 2016.

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