By Geoff Nudelman of Telos Studios.
Ever since Coachella expanded to two weekends, the week between them has become more of an industry week throughout Los Angeles as many bands and professionals are hanging out, playing, and connecting in the city proper.
Wednesday marked the unofficial start of this week as the annual ASCAP Pop Awards and International Music Summit’s (IMS) first major conference stateside took place a ten-minute walk apart from each other in Hollywood.
Dubbed “IMS Engage”, the founders of the Ibiza program brought a selection of “unmoderated conversations” around the EDM genre to the uber-trendy W Hollywood Hotel. Big players in electronic music dotted the crowd as major names from Skrillex to Diplo to Swedish House Mafia manager Amy Thomson gave remarks on their successes, failures, and thoughts on the future of the music industry.
In one of the more interesting conversations of the day, Diplo and Instagram founder Kevin Systrom had an entertaining back-and-forth about the value of social media in the genre. Diplo, who often has to choose between which photos are appropriate for Instgram, admitted multiple that he “obsesses” over the amount of likes he gets on a photo (at one point comparing it to a high).
Russell Simmons sat down with one of his former interns (and current president of Ultra Records) Patrick Moxey to discuss similar values between electronic music and hip-hop. The conversation quickly turned into Simmons offering reflections on his struggles and successes turning Def Jam Records into a hip-hop juggernaut.
“It can’t fail until you quit,” he said, on entrepreneurship in music. It was one of many pieces of advice Simmons was eager to pass on. While he entertained questions about the growth of hip-hop, he was visibly humbled by (and lauded) the power of technology and social media artists have at their disposal today.
The attention then turned to the 30th annual ASCAP Pop Awards, where Diplo continued his day, receiving the ASCAP Vanguard Award for “helping to shape the future of American music.” The awards honored a variety of songwriters and publishing companies for the most performed songs of the year. A montage of his work including Major Lazer, Mad Decent, and selected other tracks was a unique break from the mass offering of Top 40 pop hits that dominated the awards lineup last night.
Besides Coachella’s second weekend just a day away, the annual ASCAP Expo starts today. There’s a host of activities going on with anticipated remarks from Katy Perry, Big Sean, and Lionel Ritchie among others.