“It’s not what it used to be.”
Whether you’re a club promoter, punter, industry head or just someone into music, it’s a phrase you’ve probably heard.
In fact, we reckon that if you had a pound for every time you’ve heard it, you’d have no problem landing the knockout booking you’ve always dreamed of.
Or, maybe retire. Ride off into the sunset and live out the rest of your days in a luxury villa. Imagine the scenes. Blazing sun, a swimming pool and no one around you to insist Ibiza was better back in their day.
We do understand why people might say the phrase, though.
Ibiza is a huge machine, attracting new and returning people every season. For many, it’s a gateway into electronic music, a place where they discover a brand new culture for the first time. When you’re young, excited and desperate to be anywhere from your hometown, the grip of the Balearic beat is strong. We all hold formative memories in high esteem.
So, was Ibiza really better back in the day? Is it still a global trendsetter?
We’re going to look at that today.
Of course, asking whether Ibiza is still a global trendsetter for dance music is subjective. But it’s helpful to look at the stats.
For the next two sections, we’ll take a look at the IMS (International Music Summit).
Every year, the summit brings the top names in dance and electronic music to the island. But they aren’t spinning tunes. Instead, they’re talking with other heavyweight industry names about music and the topics that surround it.
The IMS (International Music Summit) Business Report, published back in April, highlighted a return to form for the electronic music industry in the wake of Covid-19. Revenue is up 34% year-on-year to $11.3 billion across all categories, 16% higher than pre-pandemic levels.
Assisting with the industry’s impressive rebound is Ibiza. Ticket sales were up a staggering 55% from 2019, translating to €124 million in revenue in 2022, most of which was attributed to the increase of events happening on the island and the rise in average ticket prices.
It’s clear that people are flocking to events, meaning that the line-ups and bookings still stand out to clubgoers looking for a party.
So, as we said earlier: The IMS brings together the top names in dance music to talk about the scene. This happens over a three-day summit, which includes the IMS Business Report, the IMS Legends Award and the IMS Dalt Vila closing celebration.
The theme behind this year’s summit was ‘Face The Future’. Live-streamed on YouTube and supported by Pioneer, it covered AI, Neurodiversity, Web3 and the subject of ageing in club music, with talks from Sherelle, Fabio & Grooverider and a whole host of industry names.
The sheer number of electronic music heads at the summit means lots of networking and discussion. This, alongside topics like AI, Web3 and the subject of ageing, means it’s likely that the messages heard across the event will reverberate across the industry.
While there has been lots of discussion about ageism in club culture, hosting the talk at IMS gives off a ‘final word’ kind of feel. After all, it’s an event that’s been running for a long time, so you can bet that the points made at that specific talk will have influence long after the Ibiza season is over.
Part of being a trendsetter is relevance. These subjects show that the island has its finger on the pulse regarding the wider contexts around dance music. If it wasn’t? We’d probably see a load of legacy acts talking about the good old days. That’s never what you want to see.
Numbers, talking points and panel discussions are important, but we’ve saved the most important til last: the music. Without it, what would Ibiza be?
The island is synonymous with dance music. House and techno are the genres that spring to mind on first thought, but Ibiza has also welcomed grime, drum & bass, dubstep, UKG and sounds from Latin America to its clubs and venues.
Then, you’ve got the likes of Solomun, Bedouin, Black Coffee, Camelphat and Solardo. Their styles are different, that’s true, but when clubgoers wanted that vibe? Ibiza responded. So, the welcoming of British and Latin American club sounds alongside the names we’ve mentioned shows the forward-thinking nature of promoters over the years.
It’s also worth looking at SYREETA. After lighting up the festival circuit for a while, she was behind the controls at Amnesia, Paradise, Ushuaïa and more of the big clubs on the island. That was with collective HE.SHE.THEY, and it’s done a lot for her career, using the momentum to focus on making tunes.
So, with everything considered: what do we think about Ibiza being a global trendsetter?
Initially, the island was a melting pot of culture, people and sounds, which, in its formative years as a clubbing destination, led to the creation of new genres and styles, the likes of the Balearic house.
But now it could be argued that innovation has somewhat dulled. Instead, the Ibiza we see and experience today is a place to showcase international superstar names and already-established scenes. But that’s not to say it doesn’t still play a huge and vital role in influencing the global dance market.
The summit, the career boost of the artists and the stats all show that.
But what do you think? Is Ibiza still a global trendsetter? Head here and have your say.
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