The title of this New Yorks Times piece alone is worth the price of admission: “Electronic Dance Concerts Turn Up Volume, Tempting Investors” (can’t you just see all the old rich men being roused by the sirens of bright light and strange sound?).
Though unintended, this image actually carries through the content, which discusses why – in the face of some incredible financial opportunities emerging in the EDM world – promoters are hesitant to transfer their work to people that don’t “get it”. Pasquale Rotella, the CEO of Insomniac, explains:
“You don’t want this to turn into what the concert business is today,” [Rotella] said, “where you just sell people tickets and they come to the show and sit in their seat. There’s not a lot of soul behind that. What we do is more of an experience.”
Interestingly, the controversy swirling around Rotella’s own Electric Daisy Carnival elucidates the sharp cultural distinctions between the long standing core of EDM and the mainstream to which it flows. Yet his point remains: how can you commercialize an experience without ruining what made that experience worth commercializing?
There’s no hard answer, but we have found that a core audience will embrace you if you genuinely embrace them, even if the “you” is a brand. As long as the experience remains the one they seek, they will come (or, even better: build something with and for a specific consumer, something that will tie you to its audience from the outset). When these connections are made, they carry an emotional strength because you become a part of something important to them; you show you “get it”.
So keep a watch on this as businessmen descend upon the latest fad (or shift?) in music: how do they cater to the core? The answer will mean the difference in a boom or a bust.