The majority of the close-knit electronic music business descended on the Cosmopolitan yesterday for the first ever EDMbiz conference. Produced in conjuncture with Insomniac Events as part of Electric Daisy Carnival Week, business suits, neon wigs, and one guy vying for a spot as an EDC performer judging from his steampunk top hat, were on site for a series of panel discussions and Q&A sessions related to all things EDM.
EDMbiz kicked off with an intro from host and moderator Jason Bentley (Music Director of NPR’s KCRW FM, Music Supervisor for the Matrix trilogy and Tron Legacy, plus a DJ himself), former mayor and unexpected champion for EDC Oscar Goodman stopped by to tout the benefits of what he mistakenly called “The Electric Daisy Company” to Vegas. Minor misstep aside—he was already one martini deep while flanked by showgirls—he presented a proclamation on behalf of his wife, Mayor Carolyn Goodman, declaring this to be Electric Daisy Carnival Week, as well as calling Insomniac founder and CEO Pasquale Rotella a “genius.”
Launching into the agenda’s first topic, “What Happens in Vegas” focused on the EDM explosion in town, moderated by Tao Group’s Jason Strauss. It wasn’t a scene for the fans. This is the place to be if you’re a promoter trying to up your game, a DJ wanting to learn what the hell you have to do to get more exposure or… me, an EDM journalist. However, unlike comparable EDM-related conferences such as Winter Music Conference in Miami, EDMbiz is easier to follow and topics are less niche. (In Miami I made the mistake of attending a beat-juggling seminar at WMC and was totally out of my element.)
From the right formula to pack them in, if the headlining DJ really matters and even how feeder markets affect how busy a club will be, it’s a lot of inside baseball.
Other topics from day one included “Brand Integration in EDM: The Hyundai Initiative,” a.k.a. “How the Hell Did The Doors Get Teamed Up With Skrillex in the First Place?” Though an interesting subject on how such projects expand the reach of EDM, it honestly felt more like a giant commercial for the car and glossed over how creating advertising soundtracks ripped the
soul out of music.
Following a conversation with Craig Kallman, the Chairman/CEO of Atlantic Records and a lunch break (open bar by the way), the most important one for folks on the DJ side was “Circuit Breakers: Breaking EDM Artists.” Highly recommended for all you DJ-types who are pissy you can’t get an out-of-town gig.
Closing out the day was a double header on festivals (though unfortunately rocker Perry Ferrell who was on the schedule was a no-show to talk about Lollapalooza), but the folks behind Burning Man, Coachella, the legendary Summer Jam at Watkins Glen in 1973 and Rotella gave the scoop on what goes in to creating the festival experience. Lastly Michael Rapino, the CEO of LiveNation, sat down with Kerry Mason, EDM journalist for Billboard Magazine who joked “[EDMbiz] is kind of like the Billboard Summit, but there are people here!”