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Competition, Collaboration & Creativity: ADE Celebrates 20th Anniversary

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MassiveMusic share their thoughts on landmark Amsterdam Dance Event 2015

Competition, Collaboration & Creativity: ADE Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Last weekend the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) celebrated its 20th anniversary and as the city came to life, MassiveMusic were on hand to soak up the atmosphere and take part in the action. It’s a land-mark year for ADE, so all the more reason to meet friends, get inspired and, most of all, dance!

The Numbers

Let’s put the dance music phenomenon into perspective by starting with some numbers.

It’s estimated that the dance industry is currently worth a staggering $6,900,000,000, and it’s predicted to break the $20 billion mark by 2020. It’s no wonder that ADE attracts 365,000 visitors a year, including 5,500 music industry professionals. 

Over 2,200 artists perform in over 100 venues across the 5 days, with the biggest event of the weekend being the announcement of the Number 1. DJ in the World (but more about that later…)

A whole host of conferences and exhibitions are held throughout the daytime as the event truly represents the whole ecosystem of dance music, with industry insiders and a number or artists heading up conference talks.

But it isn’t all work! When night falls, everyone comes out to play, with crowds ranging from 15 to 50,000 people (literally!) packing out venues across Amsterdam to catch a set from the eclectic array of artists performing.

An ever-increasing number of these artists are using ADE as a platform to premiere their new show for the upcoming year, demonstrating the importance of the event to the global industry.

Alan Hardenberg, founder of ALDA Events, even made the bold statement: “I bet you, within 5 years from now a DJ will be hosting the Superbowl halftime show!”

DjMag100 No. 1 DJ… The stakes are high!

The biggest event across the weekend size-wise is the Amsterdam Music Festival, which plays host to the announcement of the DJMag100 Number 1 DJ in the World. Over the last few years it has grown into a huge multimedia event, streaming it’s own TV-show and linking up global media partners such as Beatport and MTV. The media value of the ceremony is only going to rise in the next couple of years, so long as they manage to maintain the value of the award itself…

The DjMag100 chart is based upon fans voting online, meaning the chart can be (relatively easily) influenced, say for example, if you were to hire a promotional team that could visit festivals and schools on behalf of DJs and influence the results by asking people to vote. 

And this is exactly what happened this year – Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike hired a street team who went out across the festival season drumming up support for the DJ duo, helping them to take this year’s Number 1 DJ title.

It’s a smart investment for the pair, as their booking fees will skyrocket now that they’ve been crowned the world’s best DJs but, you can imagine, this stirred up a lot of controversy (make sure you check out the awards ceremony and take a look at the YouTube comments).

Competition Drives Technology

Alongside the competition between DJs, the competition for the best live show is becoming more and more demanding. The heavily growing live segment is the biggest slice of the dance-industry-revenue-pie and, with an audience who are hungry for innovative experiences, it’s no wonder that there’s constant investment in new productions and technology. You just have to take a look at the way Tomorrowland is set up to see how high the bar is being raised!

We caught up with the Beamlab talk on new technologies in show-design, and there were two super cool ideas that really caught our imagination.

First up is the possibility of decorated drones in synchronised flight. The concept is to go from light shows where the lights are in a fixed position, to an environment where the elements are free to move around. This innovative concept presents a huge opportunity that will surely be exploited in the near future, particularly as it’s been reported that Disney has been investing in the technology and patents to make it happen! Watch this space…

Secondly, there’s the synchronisation of sound, lighting and visuals. ShowTech has developed software that allows artists to control all three of these elements at the same time, with the obvious advantage being that you no longer have to work with an entirely fully pre-programmed show but still remain fully in sync with the music. Having had the opportunity to work with the ShowTech team on a project that will be launched next year, we can honestly say that this is a technological leap that will be a great change for the live industry – keep an eye out for more!

Check out this link for more background info on the possibilities.

The Role For Brands

It’s fair to say that both millennials and artists are no longer aversive to the interference of brands in the dance music industry, so long as they fit in with the overall experience. There’s a long way to go before brand participation reaches the scale that you can see in the urban industry, where everyone has their own product lines and videos are packed with product placement. 

The most interesting thing to notice is that brands aren’t afraid to stray from mainstream musical spectrum anymore. Thanks to the social media and online platforms within the underground scenes, small actions can be built into credible stories with substantial traction online. 

Some (show)cases that caught our eye during ADE:


BoilerRoom & Ray Ban: BoilerRoom documents and broadcasts exclusive intimate dj-sets and live shows. Ray Ban was looking for credible events that, by nature, had online traction to tie in with. 

Done deal.

Converse Rubbertracks: Converse has always supported upcoming musical talent. Through Rubbertracks they offer bands free studio time to record their music in Converse owned studios. No strings attached.

Recently they started with pop up recording sessions in legendary studios, such as Abbey Road Studios in London and Hansa Tonstudio in Berlin.


Corona Sunsets: Corona has cleverly claimed a moment in the day (sunset) and the feeling that goes with it (everyone loves a sunset, right?). Over the last year, this idea has been rolled out across the globe into events of varying size. It started at beach locations worldwide, but they must have thought “Hey, the sun also shines and sets in the snowy mountains. So why not roll-out to ski resorts and broaden your consumer base?”... Cheers to that.

7up – Martin Garrix & Tiësto: More in the lines of traditional endorsement deals: Take a brand that needs repositioning. Take two musical titans. Let them create the sound for your new campaign and place their faces on your product. Done (probably expensive) deal.

On an additional note, 7up was also the main partner for the DJMag100 awards. 

We could go on and on discussing the wide variety of relationships that are out there, but this just goes to show that there’s different strokes for different folks. In the end, success lies in striking up the right balance between brands, bands, friends and fans.

Thinking about joining the pack?

So, enthusiastic about dance music now? Thinking about entering the dance arena yourself? But still stressing out about your artist name?

No worries, help is at hand with the Martin Garrixizer

Top 10 artists we saw

Last but not least, here's the music that surprised us and made us stay up till late:

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MassiveMusic Amsterdam, Thu, 22 Oct 2015 11:34:19 GMT