IMS Ibiza 2018 Recap


The International Music Summit (IMS) in Ibiza stands tall as one of the most anticipated music industry weekends of the year. This year’s exciting edition has just came to an end and We Rave You was there to witness this energy packed event and gain an insight on the new trends within the music industry. We enjoyed the Ibiza sunshine and were in attendance at the myriad of networking drinks among some of the most important personalities and faces of the electronic music scene.

Day 1 Recap

Day one kicked off with one of the highlight moments of the event, as IMS Co-Founder Pete Tong delivered an emotional and deep tribute to Tim Bergling, who recently took his own life and left a big hole in the hearts of electronic music fans. He reflected on the life of the man behind the Avicii brand, his impact, his legacy and the importance of self-care for all.

“Few will ever be that young and that talented, making the right music”, said Tong, emphasizing the tragic early death of Avicii has put the spotlight firmly back on our industry, forcing us to focus on the health of the DJ. “It was supposed to be fun, we weren’t supposed to die chasing the dream. “Tong stated “Our industry needs healing, and people want to be healed”

Pete Tong's emotional words about Avicii

"We shouldn't have to die chasing the dream."Pete Tong has made an emotional tribute to fellow DJ Avicii, who took his own life in April, aged 28. 🖤

Posted by BBC Entertainment News on Friday, May 25, 2018

This served as a launching pad into one of the most important panels of the summit ‘Safe From Harm – Our Duty To Care’. In this session Christine Brown (Help Musicians UK, Director Of External Affairs & Business Development, UK), BBC Radio 1’s Danny Howard and Pete Tong, all shared insights of their own personal experiences and highlighted a recent study commissioned by Help Musicians UK, entitled ‘Can music make you sick?,’ that worryingly discovered that musicians may be up to three times more likely to suffer from mental illness than the general public. The much-anticipated Annual Business Report followed, presented by Kevin Watson (Author of IMS Business Report, UK), which revealed statistics that pointed to a slowdown in the global electronic music industry value, observed for the first time in recent years.“Overall, electronic music industry global value is down 2% year on year to $7.3bn and the value of integration into mainstream culture is immeasurable”, illustrating that electronic music has changed the influenced beyond the genre into pop and R&B.

Other important topics of the day included an open discussion on the issue of sexual harassment in dance music, and the new trends of Blockchain, with a panel which gave an essential guide for anyone wanting to learn more on this complicated subject, while acknowledging that no-one can predict if this current boom will continue. Maykel Piron (Armada Music, Co-Founder/CEO, Netherlands) also delivered a fascinating insight into the inner workings of his hugely successful record label Armada. The secret of his success? “Do everything from the heart with your own vision and your own passion and it will work. Don’t copy or try and replicate anything or anyone”. To top off the night, the iconic electronic music act Underworld, which performed a one-off special intimate live performance to an excited and hyped up crowd.

Day 2 Recap

The second day was highlighted by an insight from Team Black Coffee, plus an unexpected standing ovation for the motivational keynote delivered by Bradley Gunn Raver. The management, agent and Ibiza promoters Lionel Marciano and Amaru Da Costa, lead the panel on the story of success of the DJ/Producer, exploring his roots and his vision for artists to own their own music, via their own platforms rather than labels. Then, the spotlight turned to viral sensation Bradley Gunn Raver, who gathered one of the biggest audiences and used the spotlight as a candid opportunity to share how he has broken down the barriers of living with Asperger’s Syndrome through his love of electronic music.

Freddie Fellowes (Secret Garden Party, Promoter, UK) and Jon Drape (Broadwick Live, Group Production Director, UK) discussed the vital importance of drug testing within our dance community. Fellowes shared her view that “We need to readdress our approach to drugs. […] Human beings have been taking drugs as long as they’ve been human beings. What we need to is actually encourage a more healthy relationship with drugs.”

Day two closed with 15 Years of Toolroom Records – Inspiration & Independence, where brothers Mark Knight (Artist, UK) and Stuart Knight (Toolroom, Managing Director, UK) reflected on building their hugely successful label whilst fiercely remaining independent.

Day 3 Recap

To end The International Music Summit on a high note, day three brought onto the stage one of the most legendary electronic brands of our time. Enric Palau (Sónar Festival, Co-Director, Spain) and Georgia Taglietti (Sónar Festival, Head of Communications, Spain) shared their story with Ben Turner. This panel titled 25 YEARS OF SÓNAR – SHAPING UNDERGROUND CULTURE was an honest and revealing session covering the powerful impact of the iconic festival on the electronic music scene and culminated with the announcement that Sónar would receive the 2018 Pioneer DJ Award.

Two of the leading A&Rs of the historic label Positiva Records shared their fond memories on the inception of the label and how it still stays relevant in the midst of today’s industry. This panel, titled 25 Years of Positiva Records – The Changing Face of A&R, was one of the headlines of the day, with Jason Ellis (Positiva/Virgin Records, A&R Director: 2008-present, UK) and Nick Halkes (Positiva/EMI Dance, Founder/Managing Director:1993-1999) highlighting all the anthems on their catalogue that took over the Ibiza dancefloors all through the ’90s.

Deadmau5 also joined in on the IMS fun via live stream from his home studio, during the panel that his manager Dean Wilson (SEVEN20, CEO, USA) was hosting. The long term manager of deadmau5 is one of the most successful and most respected artist managers in the electronic music business. He sat with Pete Tong and pinpointed the ups and downs of discovering new talent along with the progression of megastar Calvin Harris.  Wilson also talked honestly about the motives behind his company partnering with Live Nation / Roc Nation ‘We knew we needed help, no one would answer our calls.We didn’t really understand the US market’. Deadmau5 stated during the live call that “I’m really happy where I’m at right now. I’m kind of in the middle. “I’ve pissed enough people off that I’ll never be right at the top and I’m worth enough money that I’ll never be at the bottom”. Zimmerman also covered his experiences with major labels, “‘EMI was a funny relationship’”, as well as his future plans and his new video game venture.

The impact of the desert festival Burning Man was also examined during Black Rock City x Ibiza: Cultural Opposites or Kindred Spirits, in which techno/house producer Seth Troxler (Artist, USA) recalled his full experience at Black Rock City to capture his love, “People dragged me to Burning Man and I hated it. Then the sun came up and I couldn’t stop smiling.” Burning Man’s Communications Manager Dominique Debucquoy-Dodley also explained how this lifetime experience profoundly changes the community that forms at the festival and their way of thinking and attitude to life.

Let’s also not forget Andrea Oliva’s DJ Skills masterclass which delivering insights into his unique approach to DJing and performing to a live crowd and The Annual Ibiza Debate which focused on how to keep the scene moving forward whilst maintaining a focus on sustainability and impact on the island.

Across the three days, IMS Ibiza welcomed 1,200 members of the global electronic music community from 48 different countries for a powerful week of reflection, positivity, and progress. You can find all the pictures from the weekend on their official website. We can’t wait to be back next year!