Why the Winter Music Conference & MMW are ideal for networking

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Conferences within the music industry are one of the single best locations to network and build better relationships with influential people. There are now multiple conferences set up around the world that offer great opportunities for artists and industry professionals alike. From ADE to IMS, there are a wide variety of options. By far one of the very best conferences for networking is the Winter Music Conference (WMC), which is held yearly in Miami.

The Winter Music Conference runs alongside Miami Music Week, WMC is the umbrella term for all of the industry panels and events, while MMW covers all of the live events attended by professionals, artists and fans alike.
Established in 1985, the conference has a long-running history. Over the years it has become one of the main hubs for electronic music and unites the industry over the course of a week. For this reason, it is a consistent feature on the calendars of some of the most prominent individuals in the music industry. Every year, the conference plays host to thousands of attendees from locations all over the world, all eager to learn more about the music industry and those who dominate it.

Louis Possenti and Bill Kelly founded the conference, which first took place at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott hotel in February 1986. Even during its first edition the conference attracted 80 dance music industry professionals. One of the main features of the conference is the International Dance Music Awards (IDMAs), which generate over 2 million votes every year. Ultra Music Festival has also continually been closely linked with the WMC and Miami Music Week (MMW). In 1999 the festival first became linked with the conference, kick-starting a long-running relationship. Every year Ultra Miami takes place at the end of MMW and WMC, bringing proceedings to a climactic finish. This partnership became even more close-knit in 2018 when Ultra officially acquired the WMC and the IDMAs.

While there are a multitude of reasons that attendees flock from all over the globe to attend the WMC/MMW, one of the primary benefits of attending the conference is the ability to network with industry leaders. But why is WMC so ideal for networking? In this article we’ll take a closer look at the benefits of networking at WMC and MMW.

Firstly, one of the main reasons why MMW is so ideal for networking is the sheer volume of influential individuals that are in attendance. Unlike at festivals, those behind some of the biggest brands in the industry make sure to attend the conference, some to speak at panels, some just to hold meetings and network. For this reason, MMW is one of the very best opportunities to access some of the more influential people in the industry, making it the gateway to potential growth in the future. As an artist, even having a 5-minute conversation with someone who is influential in the industry is a great opportunity to further your brand. Many of the people who attend WMC are people who you would not usually be able to have access to, people who have the power to shape the future of the industry. Before you head to the conference, make a note of influential individuals who are on the bill as panelists and make a mental note of their appearance, these are the people who you will want to approach during the festivities.

Another reason that the WMC is so ideal for networking is its vast array of panels on offer, with many featuring some of the most influential people in the industry. Aside from industry leaders, there are also a number of A-list artists set to speak at the 2019 conference. Armin van Buuren is set to speaking during the ‘The State of Trance’ panel alongside other guests, and Carl Cox is set to speak during the ‘Techno Evolution’ panel that plans to talk about the future of the genre. Both artists are closely linked with Ultra and are set to host their own stages once again at the 2019 event.

Aside from artists, there are also a number of notable industry figures set to speak during panels. These include Maykel Piron, CEO of Armada, Valerie Lee, Global Culture Editor for Mixmag, and Carl Loben, Editor-in-Chief of DJ Mag. With people as influential as this heading over to Miami for the conference, it is imperative to take any good opportunity to network and make connections. There are not many opportunities available to meet such high-profile individuals.

One of the benefits of networking during Miami Music Week is that bumping into high-profile individuals is easier than you think. You may spot them in the airport, on the street, in a café. With that being said, pick your moment. Don’t dive to talk to somebody influential if you can see that they’re busy, in a hurry or trying to relax on the beach. Despite Miami being an incredibly busy city, it is surprisingly easy to spot familiar faces when out and about, so keep your eyes peeled and take the opportunity to introduce yourself if the moment is appropriate.

As with networking anywhere, always make sure to follow strict guidelines when networking at the Winter Music Conference. While it is beneficial to introduce yourself to industry leaders, it can be just as counter-productive to make yourself look unprofessional in front of influential people. Make sure that when you do approach people, you are doing your brand justice. Be polite, don’t over-sell and don’t try to force anyone to listen to your music. Lastly, be personable rather than robotic. Don’t recite a sales pitch, everyone in the industry is bombarded with sales pitches on a regular basis. Instead, show interest in them, speak about your career but gloss over the details, simply put yourself on the map and set the foundation for a positive future relationship.

Aside from the many opportunities that MMW/WMC brings, simply being a part of the festivities is beneficial for any artist. Attending the conference puts you right at the centre of the music industry at that moment in time, providing you with endless inspiration and motivation to progress your career. Attending some of the many live performances taking place during the week is also beneficial, as many of the more-intimate sets provide a great opportunity to learn from major artists and be inspired by their energy. The fact is that as a producer you can often be isolated from the rest of the industry, especially due to huge amount of distance between artists. Attending a conference like MMW is a great way to feel a part of the industry, learn and network. In truth, you won’t know how beneficial your trip is going to be until you’re in the midst of it experiencing everything first-hand.

Find out more about the Winter Music Conference here.