International Music Summit (IMS) Ibiza 2016 review

Written and experienced by Mark Playle, edited by Andrew Darwin

I headed to collect my IMS press pass from the Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza the evening before the conference started from Uneek’s pop up offices in San An and as I drove through the beautiful countryside along the San Jose road I felt a sense of excitement for the days that lay ahead. The ninth annual IMS would include keynote interviews from The Pet Shop Boys and Erick Morillo with guest speakers such as Carl Cox, Pepe Rosello (Space owner), Dubfire, Bart Cools, Kenny Gates, Richie Hawtin, Tale Of Us, Nicole Moudaber and loads more.

Imagine a music business conference situated on the the beautiful island of Ibiza at the beginning of the season attended by music industry delegates under one roof with the opportunity to listen to the latest news and views, but meet said people and discuss business/industry opportunities in a relaxed atmosphere. IMS 2016 provided talks on streaming, major labels, diversity and the future of the island.

Hard Rock Hotel is situated in Playa den Bossa at the end of the strip – a beautiful location very close to the beach. I first attended IMS last year, soon getting to grips with the order of play and thankfully this year the sun was shining as last year we were dogged with rain.

When I arrived at HRH the rather cool Red Bull mobile DJ unit was parked at the bottom of the steps leading to the HRH conference centre. This rather unique vehicle is basically a huge ex WW2 military vehicle converted into a DJ booth on wheels. The entrance to the conference centre was adorned with the IMS flags and banners which made the whole setting very impressive and coupled with the hotels other iconic fixtures and fittings the the whole scene looked exceedingly rock n roll.

I walked up the steps into the conference centre with a positive spring in my shoes and was greeted by the lovely Elena from IMS who sorted my pass and bands. I then went off to enjoy the lovely surroundings of the Hotel as a number of our Ibizan family were in attendance in different guises. Our engine room team looking after the site and the app were in residence and some other friends had checked in just along the strip and being much younger were staying near Bora Bora beach. There is so much to do and see in Playa Da Bossa which makes the location of the IMS conference spot on.


Day one of the conference got off to sprinting start with Kevin Watson presenting this year’s IMS Business Report and announcing that this industry we are all a part of in Ibiza – the Electronic Music Industry is now worth a staggering $7.1 Billion.

Without doubt the most important talk of Day 1 was ‘Space Ibiza: End of an Era’ discussion with Space Ibiza Legend Carl Cox, his manager Lynn Cosgrove and this year’s IMS Legend, Space Owner Pepe Roselló. This informal chat was meant to be 30 mins but in fact ran for over an hour and is a fantastic example of some of the many quality moments that peppered this years conference. Space Owner, Pepe Roselló received a standing ovation for the many great years he has given to Ibiza for the best club in the world, Space. “The situation at Space is beyond our control… I’m being very dramatic here. I’ve had in my lifetime, the best 15 years at Space. I’m going to leave with a bang like you’ve never seen before. It’s been my church for the past 15 years.” – Carl Cox

The whole day’s organisation of the different speakers and panels interlinked nicely with smooth change overs and the content and information was first class.

Day two of the conference again did not disappoint and it seemed like everyone had found their feet. The sun was shining and I found myself with the most fantastic networking opportunities which I’m sure were greatly enhanced by being in the setting of one of the most beautiful hotels and conference centres. Everyone’s spirits were high and positive energy was in the air. Nothing compares to standing by a beautiful swimming pool with a DJ playing the most melodic of sound tracks talking about your business and ideas and sharing your thoughts and aspirations.

Day two seen talks from Erick Morillo, Black Coffee, Dubfire, James Zabiela, Nicole Moudaber, Carmine Conte (Tale Of Us) and Richie Hawtin, as well as Founder/CEO of Ushuaïa, Spain, Yann Pissenem, who said of Ushuaia’s takeover of Space Ibiza, “After the amazing and fabulous creative work that Pepe has done in the last 27 years, I’m glad and proud to step in. With a lot of respect. It’s a big responsibility for me for the international scene, the electronic scene.”


Day three continued with great speakers and superb content, the conference was drawing to a close and everyone was rewarded with a roof top party, the vibe on the roof was so beautiful and the view from the top of HRH is spectacular. Everyone was happy and enjoying that Friday feeling having achieved and having had a superb IMS.

In the Diversity discussion, Nicole Moudaber suggested that both women, and men, need to be focused in order to achieve success in the industry. “Not a lot of men can do what I do, so maybe not a lot of women can do what I do too? I don’t think any man has achieved what I have done in such a short period of time…I hope I can be an inspiration, an example to women. But I never thought it was this massive problem, actually.” – Nicole Moudaber

Closing the ninth IMS Ibiza conference was a keynote interview with legendary duo Pet Shop Boys, who gave the following advice; “We haven’t taken a break. You have to exercise the muscles of your creativity to keep them strong. We’re always chasing the idea of the perfect record that’s exactly the right balance of euphoria, intelligence, sound and crazy instinct.” – Pet Shop Boys

As the conference ended, we then headed to the official IMS closing party at UNESCO site Dalt Vila in beautiful Ibiza Town, with a line up that included Francesca Lombardo, Benjamin Damage, B Traits, Tale Of Us and Nicole Moudaber each graced the stage, with Dubfire presenting his HYBRID showcase to officially close the 2016 summit.



2016 highlight videos:

Pet Shop Boys keynote interview:

Striving for excellence and the art of playing differently:

Yello keynote interview:

Business Report:

The Great Annual Ibiza Debate:

Erick Morilo:

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