Brighton Music Conference returns this week for its fourth edition, from April 27-28. The electronic music event will be held at Brighton Dome along with various other venues in the city. Here, BMC17 organiser Billy Mauseth (pictured) tells Music Week what to expect from this year's conference and beyond...
What new features have you introduced this year?
We have kept a lot of the features the same as last year. This includes the Professional Conference, Academy Theatre, Toolroom Academy and Native Sessions, tech exhibition and numerous networking events and club nights. However, this year we’ve introduced a professional meeting area, as many of our delegates have requested a space away from the main conference to network and hold meetings, so we are providing this on the mezzanine level of the Dome.
This year we are also working with Constant Circles who are presenting a showcase of underground music and visual art. During the daytime on April 27-28 they will take over both floors of the No Walls Gallery in Brighton, directly across the road from the Brighton Dome, with a curated selection of cutting edge, contemporary underground art and music presentations.
How has the event grown and evolved since your first edition?
It has been great watching the whole evolution of the show. Support from partners and sponsors has been amazing and we wouldn’t be where we are now if it wasn’t for their involvement. BMC prides itself on being at the forefront of the electronic music industry, not only with the tech exhibition but also the subjects of our panel discussions, which address key issues affecting the industry.
Our aim is to provide a affordable conference in the UK so that people do not need to travel internationally to enhance their business
How healthy do you consider the electronic music market to be at present?
Very strong. The industry has become much more professional in recent years. We have seen a big change with tech manufacturers seeing education & workshops as a key route to market and promote their products. There has also been a rise in the number of industry organisations, such as the AFEM (Association for Electronic Music), who are championing various key issues that the electronic music community is currently facing. Airing and discussing these issues on our panels has has made BMC even more relevant & important and a lot more knowledge is now being shared on a global scale.
What do you expect the highlights of this year’s programme to be?
There’s so much going on this year, we have talks from the likes of The Association For Electronic Music, DJ Mag, MMF, Horus Music, Night Time Industries Association, BPI, PRS For Music, BIMM, ACM, and BEC (Beats Evolution Conference) who will also be hosting a talk with panels from labels like Hospital Records and Toolroom Records. Native sessions will be hosting a theatre for the second year in a row over both days as will the Toolroom Academy. As usual, BMC is tackling the subject of diversity and we have some great speakers, including Sammy Andrews, to help businesses understand how to support diversity in the industry.
What are the biggest challenges of running the event?
Putting the right team together, the timing of the event and getting the balance right so we attract professional industry delegates as well as younger people as Academy delegates who want to get into the industry (semi-pros/students etc). There are two different markets, so it’s almost like running two separate events.
The industry is constantly changing so keeping the event relevant with interesting speakers / panels is a constant challenge but luckily we have a decent advisory group around us that give constant input to keep it fresh. This year sees one of the best programme schedules to date. It’s also a challenge to keep the actual conference price down, with rising costs yearly it’s difficult to keep it at a decent budget so that everyone can attend, but our aim is to make the conference inclusive to all and right now we think we are doing that. It means that companies can send more members of staff to attend, which is invaluable training for junior members.
What are your hopes for BMC going forward?
We would love to see the event continue to grow both locally and internationally & to enhance BMC’s position as the No. 1 electronic music conference in the UK. It would also be fantastic to see some of the students that have attended the Academy conference become major players in the industry.
We would also like to see some of the topics discussed this year progressing and making a difference to the industry, especially around diversity and our education panels.
As one of the world leaders in electronic music, the UK needs a conference where both industry veterans and the new kids on the block can come together as one to discuss and shape the community of tomorrow and beyond.