Be there to be at the top (Dark Beauty at ADE 2017 pt.3)

Oh boy did the both of us need that night of sleep! Day 1 was intense, the days to come promised to be even more exhausting. On the other hand, we already knew: The way to make it in the music industry is to be here, at ADE, every year.

You probably know that it takes that special something to draw people to you in a crowd this big. For that purpose, you have a very special asset that is just right for this occasion: The Badge. During my first years of being a (remotely) known festival DJ, I used to proudly wear that piece of paper with my name as visibly as I could. getting older, I realized it’s not that big of a personality magnet as I imagined it to be, so I started to wear those under shirts, or not at all. During ADE, your badge is the thing that makes or breaks random contact. I won’t remember cheesy names (like, ahem, Dark Beauty). But I sure will do remember Bassfart. I’m so making my badge funny next year!

But really. If you want to launch a start-up or product in the music industry, Amsterdam Dance Event is the best launchpad how to attract Customers, Mentors, or Investors. Everyone is there. Everyone has an agenda. Everyone can make two agendas fit. There are two great stories, how to do that:

I’m entering the venue right on time. My phone rings with a message from Paulie from Inflyte – a platform for sending out better promos. That was something I was deeply interested in because it’s one of the pain points of the label. In the comfy seating of the networking area, it really didn’t take long to convince me to try. You see that you’re speaking to humans that once had this problem themselves. Beats the sleazy long-form sales page anytime.

India. There are literally a billion people there… suddenly at the point of having an internet connection stable enough to sustain streaming music. I love people who are forward-thinking, business-oriented, and awesome to talk to – which Nina and her team at Horus totally are. They do music distribution and PR, paying close attention to relations with emerging markets. Feel like starting a new label in the nick of time? I sure did! Say hello to Vivid Flare. Finally a place for all that Uplifting Trance from Russia (jeez I’m so going to regret writing this, anyone interested in an A&R opening 😀 ? ).

But you don’t really need an appointment to meet awesome people around. Just be nice. Say hello. Ask where she’s from. Lend him your pricey Sennheisers to calibrate sound for his camera without second thoughts. This is how you make cool friends from all around the place. Sure works most of the time, as mentioned: at ADE, everybody has an agenda of his own, so make yours meet and you’ll be fine.

It’s all about money, money, money on panels today. Ever heard of Monstercat? Yeah, a heavy business sugarcoated in fresh young paint, and a community of geeks, gamers and young visionaries under the hood. Revenue opportunities? Everywhere you dare to look! Like, do cool stuff for gamers, rake in money. Easy. Hey, even I was a gamer once. I mean, I still am. Business ahoy!

Selling music is Dead (as punk in 1980’s). And there’s tons more money to make. Designer merch, streaming, monetizing video content, perfumes, mobile apps… We live in exciting times, where your money isn’t held by that office fatty anymore. It’s here, yours for the taking. The world of music business is getting young, fresh, and profitable as hell. And yeah, if you are a DJ and producer, who’s able to solve his own pain points, there’s definintely friends around you who will appreciate your solution as well, even for a modest fee. Not scared of doing localised content? Bollywood infused EDM targeted at India? Or, mellow deep house with Chinese lyrics? There’s a guy who does it all. Meet Sam Feldt – #75 DJ in the world, and a brilliant mind. It was a privilege. And it was time to visit De Brakke Grond.

The air in the keynote auditorium was blazing hot. Panelists: Tiga and all the other people he didn’t leave much room to talk 🙂 It was pure bliss to listen to the guy spilling liquid gold of wisdom, wrapped in humor. We sure learned he does not have a special affinity to “Sunglasses at Night”, one of the signature tracks of his. He calls making commercially fitting tracks as “professionalism”, and I cannot agree more.

Martin joins me after his own round of meetings just as Surgeon and Lady Starlight start their live performance, with a short Q&A afterwards. Every panelist is kind of funny today. Did the acid kick in already? We make one more round to have a look at all the toys lined up, ready to play with new geeky temporary owners. I fall in love at first touch with what is becoming my next investment – it’s a Moog. Anyone needs a kidney in relatively good shape?

Oh, by the way. If you told yourself while reading: Yeah, I don’t need ADE to make it, I’m already up there… up where? Stop lying to yourself and come down to ‘Dam next year to have some pretty serious fun 😛

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