There’s more to Brighton than the ongoing #Lab21 and #BMC2021 did not disappoint.

Brighton once again played host to the Brighton Music Conference. Now in its ninth year, the three-day event features over 200 speakers and 60 panels focusing on topical issues in electronic music. With keynotes from the likes of Roger Sanchez and Carl Cox, the event provided aspiring producers and DJs with valuable industry insight.

We wrap up our visit with five key takeaways from our visit to the south coast:

Production Music Is Growing And Should Be On Your Radar

Any DJ or producer looking to make a career in the music industry needs to have multiple revenue streams. The seminar focusing on production music (part of a series across the conference), and especially focused around electronic music, was keenly attended by those looking to expand their horizons but also those who have already enjoyed success in this space.

If you are not sure what production music is, then this Sound on Sound breakdown is worth a read. Of course, you could have attended the BMC also! Production music (also known as library music) is music made specifically to brief for use in media. And by media, these days it can mean anything from TikTok to local radio (globally).

Cavendish Music Sync Surgery

The demand for library music is high but the supply is also growing. Think of it as a good supplementary income rather than perhaps the main income, though there are some musicians who have been exceptionally successful with library music.

Hosted by Tammy Tinawi of Cavendish Music, and with panellists Taz Matter and Arun Sethi (both also from Cavendish Music) this workshop was a revealing peek under the hood of a sector to the industry that is often shrouded in mystery.

Inclusivity Has Improved But There Is Still More To Come

During the lockdown, there was a lot of talk about resetting the dance music industry. While some of those wishes have not yet materialised, it was encouraging to hear Jasmine Kent-Smith, Silvia Montello and Just Her discuss how much good progress has been made to increase gender inclusivity in the industry.

However, despite these positive steps, there remain many challenges that were outlined in the talk. The simple truth, whether you like it or not, is employment systems, booking systems and other routes to a career in the industry are not fair and people are trying their best to rectify it.

From left to right: Nikki McNeill (moderator), Just Her, Silvia Montello, Jasmine Kent-Smith & Tom Hines

The fourth panellist Tom Hines, is a leading example of this. He is project manager at Audio Active an organisation that works to assist young people living in extremely challenging circumstances to progress as a musician and have a career. In short, providing an opportunity where it might not be found and there have been many notable success cases for example Rizzle Kicks.

DJ Agencies: Coming Out of Lockdown

Ever wondered how, when, why to get an agent? In this seminar, some of the most established agents ran through what their world looks like now.

The good news? The world is returning to normal-ish. The bad news? Well, it probably outweighs the good right now. There is an alarming rate of non-shows in clubland as ravers book tickets and then decide to not go. It’s suggested this dropoff is due to Covid concerns either on the day or not choosing to catch the virus and affect something later in the calendar. This is having a knock-on effect with the clubs and of course the DJs. It’s simply not financially viable to run an event at 30%-50% capacity.

From left to right: Paul Wells, Martje Kremers, Andrew Van G, Jim O’Regan and Clara Suess (moderator)

The agents also discussed what they look for when signing a new DJ and the main takeaway there was to build a story. The old adage goes ‘everyone has a book in them’ so make sure to work on your story and use it to your advantage when getting there attention of an agent.

A further takeaway was they all agreed that to get noticed it’s crucial to build a local fanbase – no matter where you live. If you want gigs in the big cities, they want to see you’ve been cutting your teeth locally. So get out there – what are you waiting for?

Loopcloud and HitnMix

There were fewer than normal tech companies showing the latest gear. However, Plugin Boutique had a fantastic competition running in which, using sister company Loopcloud, attendees had to make two bars of music using up to eight sounds only, and you only had 20 mins to do so. We listened back to many of the submissions and there was a bucketload of talent in the room.

DeepRemix is very powerful at separating the stems from a WAV file

Other notable attendees were HitnMix who we recently covered in our stems separation video. If you’re looking to rip vocals from a track or separate all the stems from a WAV file, we found that their excellent plugin DeepRemix was more than capable of the job. Any DJ or producer looking to increase your remix arsenal – it’s worth checking out.

Brighton: London By The Sea

One of the delights of the BMC is the opportunity to visit Brighton. The city remains one of the great survivors of the historic seaside UK towns. There’s good reason why Prince Regent was sent there to recuperate, swim in the sea and inhale fresh sea air.

The air might not be the same but the city retains its pull and dance music is synonymous with Brighton. From Carl Cox to Fat Boy Slim to Harold Heath to newer producers such as Rene Wise – the city is an obvious home for the electronic music conference.

BMC was blessed with great weather that brought to life the outside dancefloor which started to shake earlier in the day than probably expected. From midday to late, the exterior mobile dance floor provided a humdrum of activity with good music to boot.

If you were looking to network in a conference then fill your boots but if you’re more comfortable dancing then you can do that also. BMC’s slogan is ‘where beats mean business’ but with weather this good, it was hard not to fall for the beachside beats…!

The Brighton Music Conference will return next year in May. More information on their website.

Author Eric Brünjes
29th September, 2021

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