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IMS conference 2023 | Faces of the future

The opening day put the focus on the entrepreneurs and disruptors shaping the industry.

Once again bringing together industry friends, old and new, International Music Summit (IMS) kicked-off its three-day conference at Destino Pacha Resort. In the jam-packed schedule, we heard directly from the frontline game-changers of tomorrow.

Trailblazers: The future starts now

Co-host Jaguar provided a platform for trailblazing artists and industry friends displaying in real-time the ethos of community the panel would soon drive as a key takeaway.

Alongside Jaguar, Trans DJ and producer TAAHLIAH spoke candidly on her experiences and gave proactive advice on finding the confidence to be the first disruptor in an underrepresented or new space. Remember, if all else fails, the trusty "fake it 'til you make it" can always be applied.

International Music Summit 2023 | Destino Pacha Resort

We also heard from Hannah Shogbola (UTA), one of few black female agents, who called for businesses to start actively seeking a diverse team to break the current mould of often presenting an all-white, male workforce.

Later, another trailblazer given the spotlight was Space Miami co-owner and festival promoter, David Sinopoli. Anybody who's seen the films Scarface and American Gangster and their portrayal of nightclub owners, would not have recognised the person in front of them.

Articulate, humble, grateful and conscious of his role as a caretaker of a culture, David proved that you didn't have to be a ruthless capitalist to be successful, even in the most competitive of environments.

International Music Summit 2023 | Destino Pacha Resort

Interestingly, he was a massive advocate for collaboration – not only between traditional stakeholders, such as the community, but with the unlikely ones: the authorities and with what would traditionally be perceived as competitors.

"Nothing is bigger than Miami," he would say, enthusing of the benefits that Ultra and Miami Music Week bring to the city, from the local economy to the cultural clout. Perhaps there's something Ibiza can learn there?

Diversity on and off the dancefloor

Let's not mislay the work that's already been done, progress is well underway towards a more equal and inclusive scene. However, such discourse around representation rightfully remains front-and-centre.

International Music Summit 2023 | Destino Pacha Resort

Somewhat disappointingly, of the top 100 DJs, women and non-binary only made up 15 per cent of all bookings from 2021 to 2022. Clearly, there is still much to do and the future depends on how we act now.

The next time somebody is on their soapbox about how women get preferential treatment, are booked to fill quotas or how Charlotte de Witte is on every festival line-up, it's worth remembering that the reality is far different to that commentary.

The Gender Goals Workshop saw an impassioned Stephanie Lafera (She Is The Music/ WME Agency) call out for more attention on the discussion at hand. Not from the predominantly female audience, but male colleagues with whom a significant share of power to book diverse line-ups currently lies, yet were nowhere to be seen.

International Music Summit 2023 | Destino Pacha Resort

Quoted by LP Giobbi and repeated later by IMS co-host Jaguar "it's hard to be who you can't see" captured the message loud and clear.

Ageing in dance music

That's not to say, the future lies solely in the hands of the next generation. In its full splendour, the scene moves forward with its founding figures.

Shedding light specifically on the female experience of ageing in dance music, the effects of ageing were put under the spotlight: the pressures to look a certain way and the feeling of a career ticking clock set up boldly different standards to male counterparts.

As discussed, with age, a male DJ becomes a "legend", whilst a woman of the same trajectory goes unhonoured - and often unbooked. Aside from gender, it was also suggested that other minority groups would be disproportionately affected by ageing stigmatism.

International Music Summit 2023 | Destino Pacha Resort

Jennifer Cardini imparted a final empowering note that ageing in the club-sphere brings many positives such as a developed sense of self and an ability to nurture upcoming talents with the wisdom of a bountiful career.

Utopic dancefloor scenes

Naturally, we would eventually progress to the dancefloor.

After several switches to the plan, we would wind up at Pikes where Jaguar was hosting her first Utopia party of summer. It was great to see the LGBTQIA community out in full force, including off-duty DJs Chloé Caillet and Meg Ward getting amongst it in Freddies.

Even IMS co-founder Ben Turner could be found enjoying a well-earned drink at the bar with panellist Kenny Eshinlokun of Black Music Summit.

Musically, the night gave us lots, with LP Giobbi welcoming us back to the dancefloor with an edit of Earth, Wind & Fire's Boogie Wonderland, before a typically electic set from the hostess gave us a Bassline remix of The Prodigy and even a welcomed outing for Mason & Princess Superstar's Perfect for some Noughties nostalgia. It truly felt like we were back in paradise.

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