Written by Andrew Darwin

March 21 – 24, 2016 at the Shelborne Wyndham Grand, Miami, Florida saw the 31st year (held every March since 1985) of the Miami Winter Music Conference where DJs, record label representatives (A&R), producers, promoters, radio, media and  industry delegates from all over the world descended on Miami Beach to attend various events, parties, seminars and workshops. With over 500 individual events during the week the conference taking place from WMC Seminars & Panels, the International Dance Music Awards (IDMA), WMC Demo Listening Workshops, WMC/DMC DJ Spin-off, WMC On-Site Featured Events, WMC Exhibits and WMC VJ Challenge to name but a few, there were lots to attend for the length of the conference.

We were delighted to be Official Media Partners of the Miami Winter Music Conference in 2016. On  Monday we attended the 2016 IDMA International Dance Music Awards where there was a whopping 56 categories up for grabs. Amongst others, Hardwell picked up the gong for Best Global DJ, Armin Van Buuren for Best Trance DJ and Carl Cox for Best Techno/Tech House DJ. For a full list of winners, check out the IDMA site here.

On Tuesday, we attended the Social Media & PR talk with panellists Jen Appel, Jorge Mareno (videeo.com) and Corey Andrew, who’s advice for artists was, “express your ego. Don’t be afraid to prove that you’re cool. It’s part of the game. Believe in yourself and engage with people, have a conversation with people. You’re a brand – how you portray yourself is important – make sure it’s all positive content. The most successful social medias are honest with real and simple content. People love honesty.” All agreed that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were the most important social media platforms.

On Wednesday we attended the ‘A New Era: The Artistry And Business Of The Global DJ’ panel, where the focus of the talk was the business aspect of DJing as opposed to the technical aspect. DJ Tracey Young said, “Start throw your own events and hire yourself. Be professional, create something, if no one gives you a chance then do it yourself. Surround yourself with the right people and be happy for people and support others.” Francois K added, “music is more important than FB followers. Ideally you need a team around you to do things like promo and someone who can take care of contracts, etc. Start an event and create a community – make them feel a part of it and promote it for you. Let people make friends and it become part of their lives.” Lee Dagger (Bimbo Jones) continued, “be creative, start your own brand and take it around the world. There are no laws in this business, you can do what you want, everyone can be creative. Follow your heart and just go for it. Be a nice, friendly and genuine person, and you wont believe the amount of people that will want to work with you.”

The main points to come from this panel were;

  • Be nice. Hold a strong social media. Have public appeal; good links and good photography.
  • Be versatile, have different formats/music options.
  • Practice, learn, know your craft. Learn how to accept rejection – try something else. Be professional. (Tracy)
  • Work with as many people as possible. Be nice, genuine, friendly and creative.
  • Create an image and define your own sound. Make music that is different and unique and has own special flavour. Music is a calling card – it might not sell a lot but if it’s special and unique it will tickle peoples’ curiosity.

At the ‘From AM to Apps – The Future Of Radio’ panel on Thursday, Lee Dagger (Bimbo Jones) said, “the power of radio is so important, and a tip is to do a weekly or monthly podcast and get it signed to radio stations around the world, that’s a way of getting an audience/gigs around the world.”

As well as the conference there were VJ challenges and remixing editing workshops. We attended the VJ competition. It was very original and creative stuff, great mixing skills and scratching, samples and ideas. The competitors were DJ Lazor, VJ Chris Landry – winner, DJ RX and Naz, check out the videos below!

Over at the Shelbourne pool was Closer, an official WMC pool party. We saw Felix the housecat dropping some seriously groovy and funky house music to a packed crowd. Surrounded by Palm trees, a beautiful pool and hotel on a warm March evening it felt like an outside house party – intimate and cool. The was the best party we attended in conference week. Felix played the likes of Eagles and Butterflies – Shinto, Depeche Mode – Behind The Wheel, a remix/a cappella of You’ve Got The Love, Jacob B – From The Underground (Jack Had A Groove) and finally Gypsy Family – D Part, which was the the funkiest and grooviest tune of the night, such a crescendo and the crowd had their hands firmly hands in the air bouncing.

Miami Winter Music Conference 2016 was a brilliant few days set at the beautiful Shelborne Wyndham Grand hotel full of great events, parties, seminars and workshops. We’re looking forward to getting back for 2017 already!



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