Dozens of aspiring electronic dance musicians flocked to the sunny climes of Malta for the first International Music Summit College (IMS) which featured a host of motivational talks from the best of EDM's tastemakers. Pete Tong, Eli And Fur, Mark Lawrence, Wilf Gregory, and Mark Netto were among the industry's key players who offered top advice on how to launch a successful career.
Taking place between 1-3 July 2016, the two-day event included seminars on all areas of EDM such as festivals, music law, radio and publishing, as well as masterclasses on mixing and mastering tracks hosted by Point Blank and SAE Institute.
Stating the importance of IMS College Malta, Mark Lawrence of the Association For Electronic Music (AFEM) said: "This event is hugely symbolic. We have to continually educate people because the electronic music industry is such a complicated scene... there's so much to know and we have a responsibility."
IBTimes UK were in attendance at IMS College Malta and recalls the most essential advice, anecdotes and tips from each speaker.
HOW TO MAKE MONEY
Mark Lawrence (Music rights)
"It's ridiculous that in this day and age, with all the data, all the technology in the world that money can't go to the right people."
Lawrence's company AFEM works tirelessly to ensure royalties are adequately distributed to EDM artists. Unfortunately, dance music artists are often deprived of the money they are owed over a technicality.
Speaking to the delegates, Lawrence explained: "In the traditional music industry, there are songwriters and then recording artists and in our world, there are producers and tracks. Immediately, you don't realise there's a stigma when you're a producer with a publishing deal that when their music is played live or downloaded that they get a royalty for it. But what you tend to find is that out of 100 electronic music tracks, about 50 of them are on the databases of performing rights organisations around the world which means they're never going to get any money for that."
He continued: "[AFEM] have two major campaigns, the first one is ensuring that anyone's music that is played in public, downloaded or streamed, they get paid properly which happens very rarely. The second campaign is imminently about to launch and we've just secured funding from large electronic music production companies in North America to change the legal environment and how the law works in America.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Mark Netto (Booking, IBZ Entertainment)
"You have to understand the dancefloor. You have to have the right connection with people... The longer you're in it, the more people you will meet and the more you will understand. You have to be fully immersed."
Offering his advice on booking artists for club nights and festivals, Netto said: "Immerse yourself in the market you're in, go to the market as you can have all the financial backing in the world but if I don't know who else is booking there, I'm not going to be able to book the best talent. Introduce yourself to everyone.
"Good promoters are shrewd promoters. Know your means and know your market. You have to start off by not looking at what the artist thinks they are worth, but what they are worth to your dancefloor. Never exceed your means."
He added: "I am lucky that I book talent on behalf of others and I also represent others. It's nice to have that perspective as then you understand issues that both the manager and promoter face. It's good to understand all the variables.
CREATING THE MUSIC
Eli and Fur (DJs and producers)
"No-one should be afraid of that journey of discovering what you love and trying new things."
Friends since their teens, the production duo have been making music together since 2012 with a blend of house and dance beats attracting attention from mainstream radio stations. Sharing their top tip for creating perfect EDM, the pair said: "We prefer Logic for vocals, but for live stuff Ableton works really well – it allows you to be more experimental. A live feel is important to us."
FINDING THE RIGHT TEAM
LUCY ALLEN (Listen Up PR)
"There's a reason why we respect 5-star reviews in Resident Advisor, you can't pay for that."
As the head of festivals and events, Allen works directly with both the clients she represents and the media to ensure adequate exposure. She states: "Fundamentally, it's relationships with journalists that are key. They've got to respect your suggestions and you have to target the right people in order to be taken seriously."
Laura Newton (CAA)
"You have to have your artists back, and it's really hard to do that if you don't respect and engage in the music they are making."
From serving as a tour manager to her current position as an artist agent, Newton knows the dance music business like no other. Newton stresses the importance of an agent nurturing their artists, finding their strengths and creating a strategy for success. She adds that "if it's not a team effort then there's something wrong there".