I still remember this moment
I would have been 19 or 20 when this happened. I remember staying late to watch the Ultra Music Festival live stream when Swedish House Mafia first dropped ‘One’. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube went crazy for this unknown ID. The ID was later revealed as ‘One’.
‘One’ was released a month later in April 2010, breaking SHM into the mainstream. Later that year, someone at Virgin Records had the smart idea of putting some Pharrell Williams vocals over it. This led to the peak of ‘EDM’, as SHM and Avicii became superstars, electronic music and hip-hop began to crossover and ‘Sexy Bitch’ by David Guetta and Akon was born. Thankfully, I discovered the new wave of deep house and nu disco a year later.
My point is ‘One’ became the biggest song in the world because Seb Ingrosso, Steve Angello and Axwell played it for the first time on the biggest stage in dance music. They created a gold moment that I still remember 13 years later.
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Miami is the ultimate gold moment and key date
For many artists, Miami Music Week is the pinnacle of electronic music. It is the ultimate key date in the calendar and no matter how involved you are in the scene, you pay attention to what goes on in Miami in March.
13 years on and the big names in EDM still prepare exclusive tracks for Ultra because of Swedish House Mafia’s successful blueprint. Acts like Martin Garrix and Hardwell create music just for this stage and see it as an opportunity to surprise the main stage audience with special guests and collaborations.
Miami Music Week takes over the city
If you are travelling to Miami and looking for more underground music, you will of course know about the Space Miami marathons that happen on the terrace. Miami Music Week takes over the whole city with business meetings, rooftop and pool parties, parties in night clubs and exclusive after-parties all taking place at the same time.
The only real comparison to Miami Music Week is Sonar in Barcelona that in the last decade has seen the birth of Off-Week. Off-Week runs side by side with Sonar Festival but unlike ADE, they do not work together. The winner of all of these city takeovers is the tourism benefits. Tulum, Ibiza, Miami, Amsterdam and Barcelona all benefit from tourism when these city/islands takeovers happen.
What started as Winter Music Conference in 1985, has now become an international gathering for the electronic music scene to escape the cold weather of Europe, exchange music, network and most importantly, party.
So what are the learnings here?
The electronic music calendar is made up of key dates in every city. No matter where you are reading this from, there is a key date waiting for you to take advantage of.
Awakenings in Amsterdam attracts thousands of people to the city every year on the same weekend. Dekmantel does the same. If you’re building a brand in Amsterdam, these are the dates you can look at and begin to plan something around them. Also, these dates might be dates you want to avoid if you are just starting out.
This is the same in every major city in the world. FUSE London’s birthday happens at the end of November. Parklife happens on the same weekend every year in Manchester. All of these major events are opportunities for you to create something around.
One of the secrets to building a successful brand is to create your own key dates because one day you will celebrate your 5th anniversary or your 10th birthday and you want to make sure you have your own place in history. Just like Ultra Music Festival did around Winter Music Conference and what Off-Week did around Sonar Festival.
“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”
- Jamal Edwards
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