By Dan Prince May 2016 MUSIC Read in PDF format N9/2016
THE INTERNATIONAL MUSIC SUMMIT The IMS continues to pave the path for the electronic music world every year with innovation, inspiration and dedication. Dan Prince speaks to one of the founders, Ben Turner, about the past, present and future…

What was the initial inspiration of IMS?

Quite simply to bring back dialogue and debate to the industry as Winter Music Conference in Miami was not cutting through the noise of the parties on South Beach. It was always with a global remit, we just saw Ibiza as the perfect hub with so many industry people attending the Ibiza opening weekend parties. In that first year we discussed issues such as digital diversity, the negatives of the DJ Mag Top 100 and the electronic music scene in India. At the time we were just focused on delivering an event for Ibiza: LA, Shanghai and Singapore were not in our minds. We started small, with a handpicked delegate list from our contacts in the industry as promoters and managers, and evolved from there at a rapid pace.

What are the biggest industry changes since then?

It has become a 6.7 billion dollar industry according to our very own IMS Business Report – an annual collection of data I initiated to help bring a focus to the industry. Let me be honest…I love this music and most of the time I love this industry. However, it used to keep me up at night that we had no common data about the value of the combined work we all do, so that when talking to media, brands or generally trying to sell our wares to the outside world, we lacked information to help sell the dream. IMS has really helped change that. The IMS Business Report and the value of our industry is now referenced every month in worldwide media of some kind. The other aspect that really bugged me was our inability to speak with one voice on industry issues – again with media being the outlet to do so. As a journalist for the first part of my career, which is also how I became so deeply connected on the island of Ibiza, I instinctively know the value and importance of media. Having confounded the Association of Independent Festivals with Rob da Bank, I wanted to do the same with dance music via the network that attended IMS. IT took a few years to find the time in my life to try to make it happen, but with the support of key industry players we launched finally three years ago and we’re starting to make a difference to the kind of issues that were historically just left to eat at the core of our genre. I personally can’t envisage our industry without AFEM now and I hope it becomes a legacy I leave for the next generations to continue with - as it’s not built for me, it’s built for the good of everybody working tirelessly for this music.

Your favourite ‘pairings’ at the brilliant IMS Engage in Los Angeles?

- Diplo and the founder of Instagram, Kevin Systrom. It resulted in a huge fight in the middle of the conference! - David Lynch with Moby. Bizarre but brilliant. Some complained it ‘wasn’t about dance music’, but it was everything about culture… - Seth Troxler with Chuck D. Just look at those names. Politics, power, history, creativity, humanity. Very proud of this one. - Pete Tong with Quincy Jones. We were warned to not book Quincy because he can be quite hard to keep on track but Tong is the master interviewer. - Junkie XL with Hans Zimmer. Because we’re in Hollywood, and to hear these two masters exchange insight was inspirational.

Why is Asia the next frontier for electronic music?

I think dance music has this addictive infiltration system that seeps into cultures and there is nowhere more challenging than Asia due to language issues and scale. It just feels more appropriate to go deeper into learning and understanding new cultures to do that in those markets, not try to attempt to do it all from the flagship event, IMS Ibiza. We all learnt so much at IMS China and at the previous two IMS Asia-Pacific events. It felt needed and necessary to us.

Your thoughts on the future of our industry?

We need to ensure the music business runs the music business and not allow Silicon Valley to take ownership of our copyrights and our conscience. I welcome the technology that is making musical discovery easier and more engaging, but it has to know its place and position in our eco-system. What is next for IMS? We are launching IMS College – Malta in July. Education is at the very core of everything about the International Music Summit global platform and we’re excited to turn the tables with this event. IMS has always gathered the industry icons and leaders in one place, but the delegation at IMS College will be the next generation of professionals and creators and we aim to help develop their future.

Watch this space…






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