One week today (4 June 2020), dance music behemoths Label Worx and Toolroom are hosting the Virtual Music Conference, a one-day interactive event that’s accessible to all.
The first of its kind, the event is geared towards supporting anyone with a desire to pursue a career in the music industry.
We asked Matt Abbott, chief executive and co-founder of Label Worx, to take us behind the scenes at the Virtual Music Conference.
Here’s what he had to say.
'We had been talking about the idea of a virtual music conference behind the scenes at Label Worx for a while. Half of our team are developers and it is a standard format for events in that industry. As it turns out, Toolroom had been having similar thoughts in relation to their Academy project too. The pandemic was certainly a catalyst to make things happen, but right from the start we wanted to make sure that VMC is a conference which is totally different to other industry events.'
'We were very clear from the beginning that we wanted VMC to be something new - an event which offers an experience and information that you don’t get at other events. Other industry conferences are important events in their own right, but if you’re starting out and don’t have the funds to cover flights, accommodation and all the expenses involved in visiting another country or city for several days, then they can be quite inaccessible to many people. VMC doesn’t have any of these additional costs attached to it so is an affordable option that people from all over the world can engage with.
'As well as being affordable, the ethos and core values of everything we’re putting together behind the scenes boils down to us trying to answer the question of 'what can attendees take away or learn from this?'
'We had over a thousand people register their interest in April and each one of those people was sent a questionnaire to help us better understand the needs and situation of anyone interested in attending. From the results, we’ve been able to curate panels and topics that answer specific questions that our audience want answering.'
'If you work in dance music, it’s easy to forget how difficult it can be to get a foot in the door. The core aim driving VMC is to focus the conversation on the basics and address the industry-specific challenges people will always face when trying to further their career in this sector.'
'Anyone who ‘attends’ will be getting a unique experience that is totally flexible to them. Alongside a digital ‘swag bag’ featuring exclusive offers and content from our guests, they can check in to the live panels throughout the day where a range of industry professionals will be discussing topics like ‘How do I get a label to listen?’ and ‘How do I monetise my music?’ And if they explore the site further, they’ll find pre-recorded content from a range of guests which shine a light on various areas of the industry - all of which we hope offer a fresh perspective on a topic, or some useful advice that they can take away and apply to their own career.
'For anyone who can’t attend on the day, all our live panels will be recorded and available on-demand after the event via the website - so you can even buy a ticket after the event has ended and access a wealth of useful information across various subjects.'
'The dance music industry is undeniably facing some huge challenges right now with the global pandemic, and while we’ll be addressing aspects of those unique challenges during the conference, the real focus for us is on the challenges that anyone faces when trying to pursue a career in the industry - these challenges are as relevant now as they were before the pandemic, and we want to give people the right advice to help them once the pandemic is over.
'If you work in dance music, it’s easy to forget how difficult it can be to get a foot in the door. The core aim driving VMC is to focus the conversation on the basics and address the industry-specific challenges people will always face when trying to further their career in this sector.
'It’s great to see the industry making education an increasing priority through various e-learning platforms and development schemes - we hope that VMC can provide another piece to the puzzle and offer people a unique opportunity to gain insight into how they can tackle the issues they face when trying to break through.'
'We’ve tried to keep the ticket price as low as possible to make sure the event is accessible to as many people as possible, and we’ll be donating the profits to charities supporting the music industry through the pandemic.
'We’ve sold tickets to people in over 40 countries so far so making sure the charities we donate to after the event are representing VMC’s audience as far as possible is very important to us. With this in mind, we have decided to split the profit between several organisations offering financial relief to creators around the world as part of Spotify’s COVID-19 Music Relief programme.
'We’re just one week away from the event now and already the feedback we’re getting from both industry friends and those buying tickets has been incredible.
'We’re really proud of the schedule and topics we’re covering and look forward to seeing everyone on Thursday 4 June for the first edition of the Virtual Music Conference.'