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IMS 2011 - Conference Review

3 days of panels, discussion, debate and interviews with key industry players. Here's a snapshot look back.

IMS Day One

Day One of IMS kicked off at the luxury Gran Hotel, attracting a variety of influential players from the EDM world, including a host of DJ's, press and artist management. Over the three day event the programme explores topics such as social media and music branding, hosts interview panels and presents industry success stories.

After an introduction by the IMS partners, the annual Business Report aimed to evaluate the current scale of the dance music industry, estimating a value of $4 billion each year. Followed up by a survey on piracy reported by Data Transmission, it highlighted the challenge the industry will continue to face, with 60% admitting to music piracy and a staggering majority of industry workers feeling it had negatively affected their business. However it was not all doom and gloom after an inspirational talk from Matthew Adell of Beatport, who told us now is the time to be optimistic! The clubbing business is booming and dance music is about to reach an unprecedented level of global phenomenon, due to a surge in mainstream interest.

Interviews for the day included an insight into the longstanding Berlin-based career of Paul Karlbrenner, who is currently enjoying widened recognition throughout Europe, as his first ever Ibiza booking sees him headlining Amnesia Opening no less. He offered an interesting view towards creative integration, taking a soloist approach – he runs a personal label and to avoid outside influences claims not listen to other artists, as silence is the best. Spotlight's very own Grego O'Halloran later lead a discussion with Crosstown Rebel boss Damian Lazarus and signing Jamie Jones, covering the importance of Ibiza in breaking a new record and the release strategy surrounding that, as well as the changing scene in Miami. We were also treated to a preview of the next instalment of the Rebel Rave series, showing highlights of their recent hugely hyped Get Lost party.

IMS Day Two

Day Two started off with a few tired looking faces following the IMS parties the night before; Riva Starr was DJing at Grial bar, while over at Pacha IMS hosted its first ever Opening Party. Headlined by Jamie Jones and Damian Lazarus, they showcased Crosstown Rebel tracks from artists such as man of the moment Maceo Plex and the whole club went wild when they dropped the Dyed Soundorom remix of Maya Jane Coles ‘What They Say'.

Talk of the day had to be a very insightful interview with George Ergatoudis, Head of Music at BBC Radio 1. He explained how their playlists are put together for each specialist show with the DJ presenters and how influential this is in breaking a track. In line with their mandate to support and break new UK artists, Ergatoudis recalled a number of dance acts that have had global success thanks to the radio station's backing. He also noted how important Pete Tong has been in bringing the station to a younger audience, through his contacts and recommendations that have contributed to the specialist dance shows. While he describes his taste in music as eclectic, he is clearly particularly passionate about the EDM scene as he reminisced about his youth, clubbing at Warehouse in Leeds.

Richie Hawtin made two notable appearances throughout the day, first with Burn Studios presenting the new Audiotool software for producers, then later interviewing the man who signed him as Plastikman, Daniel Miller, founder of the seminal Mute Records. In the afternoon, Sasha unveiled this year's IMS Anthem and luxury hotel group W Hotels shared their brand vision of creating a unique music-lead customer experience, incorporating a live concert series, exclusive downloadable music using iPhone Apps and a Burn Studios DJ lab.

IMS Day Three

The final day of IMS was particularly interesting for anyone with a marketing focus. A panel discussion with the marketing management from corporate giants Coca-Cola, O2 and Nokia questioned the relationship between brands and bands. Sponsorship has become less desirable and the three companies all now focus on building partnerships within the music industry. Initially just providing their customers with greater access to music through things like the O2 priority event ticketing, the brands are now developing this further to become more involved – the O2 Academies are committed to supporting new music talent, and Coka-Cola have partnered with Burn Studios to allow their customers to create and distribute music.

Moving onto social media, an experienced panel of social media professionals and users gave advice on best practices. As admitted by panellist Dubfire after a regrettable experience on Twitter, don't drink and Tweet! There was also a point of view that while artist Facebook and Twitter pages build an interaction with the fan base, over Tweeting or revealing too much can actually mean you lose mystique. Following on from Sasha's IMS Anthem from Day Two, Layo & Bushwacka gave an in-depth talk through how they remixed the track to give it a techier sound. Unfortunately Luciano couldn't attend the final interview, but the day rounded up on an intriguing audience discussion on what makes Ibiza vibrate.

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