The journey from bedroom DJ or producer to major club booking is one difficult to navigate, and nigh on impossible without help from an army of contacts who know exactly how the business works and can guide you appropriately. This, at least in part is where the Brighton Music Conference steps in, providing insider knowledge, advice and valuable tips on how to make a good fist of getting to where you want to be in the industry.
But that's just one part of the conference's aim, which also caters for professionals already embroiled in the scene, hosting talks and discussions on music trends, technologies, tech showcases, over 60 workshops and panels on a wide range of music industry related topics. The wealth of networking opportunities alone makes the conference a huge resource for those in attendance. Watch Dave Clarke at interviewed last year's edition above.
To find out a bit more about what's in store this year, and why BMC is invaluable to those looking to, or already working in the industry, we caught up with Commercial Director Jason Pepperell for a wee chat. Brighton Music Conference takes place on Thursday 14th and Friday 15th April.
The Brighton Music Conference is back in April - how is the 2016 edition shaping up? What’s new for this year and what are you most looking forward to?
Our 2016 Conference is shaping up really well. Every year we aim to push forward with new developments and we’ve certainly done that this year.
We’ve introduced a new demo area within the Exhibition Floor and we’ve teamed up with Toolroom Records who launch their Academy Live platform on the Friday. We’ve also continued our partnership with Beatport who are returning to present their Label Summit on Thursday to the Professional Ticket holders.
What were some of the highlights last time out?
Last year's highlights were both the Academy and Professional Theatres. The panels were really engaging last year and we’ve aimed to continue that this year by developing panels that are engaging to everyone, not just genre specific or for specific job roles. We’re working with all functionalities from labels and also DJs and artists from genres such as drum & bass, bass house, grime and dubstep.
There’s not many events like this in the country at the moment, how important is an event like this for the UK?
I think it's very important! As an industry we need to show that it’s not all about the ‘X-factor’ journey to be a superstar DJ or producer but its about development and development at different times in your career.
Our industry constantly changes in trends, technology and consumption of music; keeping up to date in these alone is a task so conferences like ourselves where you can get that plus industry peers giving their insight into future needs is a great addition.
How invaluable an experience is the BMC for those trying to cut their teeth in the industry?
For me, its more a case of why wouldn’t you want to experience it? When you’re trying to break in the industry, on any level, networking is key so conferences and events like the BMC is where you can network, listen to options or learn from someone else’s insight.
All of this is invaluable because you’re effectively learning from your peers. You may stumble across something that you’ve never thought was associated with your chosen career but suddenly think “that’s interesting” and you can go away and develop that idea.
How hard is it to make a success within the music business? What kind of factors are against the new starters, those running labels or producers keen to get their productions out there?
I think success is different for everyone. Just sustaining a career could be deemed a success, securing an agent for an act or a record being signed and distributed also.
I don’t think there’s necessarily anything that everyone will encounter stopping them from being a success but the ability to adapt and change would certainly slow down the majority.
There are so many ways people now consume music, you can’t be on everything and doing it yourself. My advice for any new label manager or artist would be to ensure that you have avenues to be paid and pick a couple avenues that you know you can control to build an audience and develop from there.
The conference has attracted more and more delegates with each year, who are some of the big names joining the conference this year?
We’ve just launched the first release of names on our new website and we have some returning speakers and some new ones of course. New speakers this year include Friction, Amon Tobin & Rockwell from Shogun Audio, Jon Rundell from Intec Digital, Lynn Cosgrave from Safehouse Management and DJ’s Marcus Nasty and Yousef.
The next release of names and exhibitors will be in a couple of weeks as well as our evening activities!
What advice would you give to someone attending for the first time?
Make sure you attend the talks you want to see! We always hear stories that somebody missed a talk because they were playing on the equipment in the exhibition floor or they were in another room listening to different talk! It’s a busy day so plan it out.