I smell money!
I’ve been flying all over the world listening to an ever-decreasing number of old farts lamenting the music business ain’t what it used to be. That the kids have stolen all the music, that you just can’t get paid. And then I come to Las Vegas and find out we’re experiencing a renaissance!
Now I know these people. John Boyle of Insomniac for almost twenty years, he’s a core member of the Aspen Live group. And I had an extended dinner with Pasquale Rotella and Jason Bentley in Amsterdam, as well as an evening out into the wee hours to see Hardwell. So when they asked me to come to Vegas, I saw it as more of a bro thing. I’d show up at their two bit conference that gets absolutely no publicity, that I’ve never heard anybody talk about, to do my thing.
And lo and behold the place is PACKED!
Go to the other conferences and no one shows up at the panels. It’s all about networking, the schmooze. Everybody’s too good to learn. And nobody says anything interesting. But here there were seemingly a thousand twentysomethings listening attentively to people doing their best to illuminate what’s going on.
Not that they’re really sure.
Many are lifers. They’ve lived through the ups and downs, from Prodigy to the nadir. And all of a sudden, EDM blew up.
Oh, they’re still bitching about the acronym, as if BMW would do better if they called it Fast Car, Incorporated. Names don’t matter. Never did. Your band can be called anything. It’s always been about the music.
And this is the music of a generation, the millennial generation.
Their parents hate it.
Those in other genres say it’s only about drugs.
Meanwhile, the shows generate the greatest attendance, and the biggest gross.
Skip Paige of Golden Voice said that a questioner was correct, that Calvin Harris had the largest crowd in the history of Coachella.
But Skip said guitars are not dead.
Oh yes they are. Because all the excitement is in computers. You grow up with them, they’re tools, enablers. And anybody who believes in a rock revival is delusional.
Rock is niche.
Unless you consider country rock. Then there’s a genre. But even country is employing electronic music elements these days.
And at that panel, which included a representative of Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa as well as a man from Guggenheim Partners, the question came up…WHAT NEXT?
Boyle said everything that’s available has been bought up. Insomniac just launched an EDM portal. Is the next land grab the penumbra, merch, etc?
Skip said it was all about tickets. But I think that’s myopic. Because for the first time since hip-hop, maybe the first time since classic rock, we’ve got a culture.
Having a hit is one thing, having a belief system, a religion, is another.
Katy Perry is dependent upon hits. She stands for nothing.
Electronic music has its own values. It’s an amalgamation of the Grateful Dead and Kraftwerk all wrapped up in a Disneyland sheen wherein your access point is your mobile phone, and you want to leave home to connect.
Yes, as baby boomers nest in front of Netflix, spending their weekends binge-watching “Orange Is The New Black,” their children, their younger siblings’ children, are doing what they once did…they’re going OUT!
That’s part of the EDM culture. Events. You want to be included. And sure, the acts rise and fall, but the raw building blocks of the sound remain the same.
And if you’re interested in money, Tatiana Simonian, of Nielsen, gave a presentation that would have your head spin.
The brands want in. And all brands want impressionable people. Who are young, who still have not formed brand alliances. Well, it turns out electronic music spikes amongst millennials, and it spikes amongst not only the white males of rock, but Latinos, Native Americans… The bottom line is if you’re young, you like EDM!
For a minute there, it looked like EDM might be a fad. But then its superstars crossed over to pop, they’re the new hitmakers.
And suddenly, we’ve entered a new golden era, one with so much money that Wall Street is interested. Wall Street funded SFX. The aforementioned Yucaipa and Guggenheim are in the house. And if you think ANY of them care about music, you’re wrong, they only care about one thing…money.
And this is a good thing. Because once you involve money, once people can get rich, the best and the brightest gravitate to it. Suddenly, you graduate from the Ivy and you turn down the bank, there are opportunities in music. And the envelope keeps getting pushed further and further.
It’s kind of like “Logan’s Run.” You can count the people over fifty on one hand. The people over forty on a couple. Everybody here is young and involved and they want in, or further in.
This is not UCLA Extension, a bunch of losers groveling to be interns at dying labels. It’s like either you’re on the EDM path, or you’re headed down the road to extinction.
I wanted to call up Cliff Burnstein. All the great rock thinkers. I wanted to tell them to book a flight and get here immediately, BECAUSE THIS IS WHERE IT’S HAPPENING!