Skip to main content

How electronic music industry takes festivals global

By Antonia Mortensen, CNN
August 9, 2013 -- Updated 1917 GMT (0317 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • French DJ Guetta says electro music has a long way to go before it's as successful as Hip Hop, an urban genre
  • In July, 180,000 music fans massed on the small Belgian town of 'Boom' for the Tomorrowland festival
  • Tomorrowland already has 4 million social media followers and over 80 million people watched the after-movie

(CNN) -- From Brazil to Malaysia, Thailand to Canada, electronic music festivals are springing up worldwide as record labels and promoters push for a dance revolution with a new beat.

Major players in electronic music -- an industry worth an estimated $4.5 billion -- are shipping festival brands to emerging markets in Asia and South America in an effort to increase the music genre's following.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with CNN, superstar DJ David Guetta said: "We are keeping that scene alive and always exciting."

The french music producer -- who has 45 million Facebook fans -- added: "I think it's going to grow even bigger because if I look at the history of Hip Hop ... they are 2 musical genres that you can compare because they both came from the underground then became trendy."

Read more: Spotify founder: I'm not music's savior

But he admitted that electronic music has a long way to go before it's as successful as Hip Hop, an urban street genre.

How to organize a music festival

Festivals such as Tomorrowland and Sensation White -- a leading dance event which will visit 22 cities worldwide in 2013 -- are rolling out to new markets to give audiences the chance to listen to electronic music.

Steve Angello: I don't care about fame

Watch more: Music industry is bullish for 2013

Carl Cox: Tomorrowland is beyond belief

In July, 180,000 music fans massed on the small Belgian town of 'Boom' for Tomorrowland -- one of world's largest music festivals -- as gig enthusiasts from 214 countries flew in for a 3-day bonanza of electronic dance music.

Festival organizers ID&T even teamed up with Brussels Airlines to arrange 140 flights from every continent to Belgium.

Read more: What makes a top music tribute?

At 30,000 feet, fans were treated to an in-flight DJ, allowing them to party to their favourite electro beats in transit.

Solveig: Why Tomorrowland stands out

This unique approach is all part of ID&T's strategy to take electronic music global. After eight successful years, the entertainment company is planning to host its first Tomorrowland festival outside Belgium in Chattahoochee Hills in Atlanta.

Steve Aoki: Dance music unites people

Speaking at the International Music Summit (IMS) in Ibiza in May, ID&T boss Duncan Stutterheim said electronic music has "no language barriers," adding that the company is going to "enjoy a nice ride" in the next 10 years.

Porter Robinson: Good DJs improvise

"We are talking finally to India, to Japan, to China, to Malaysia. We did a tour in Thailand... They all want to do the festivals so we are in a luxury position," Stutterheim said in his speech.

Hardwell: 'Everything happens online'

Tomorrowland already has 4 million social media followers and over 80 million people watched the after-movie of the concert online.

According to a report by industry consultant Kevin Watson, who produced the IMS Business Report, over half the electronic dance industry's value, approximately $2.5 billion, comes from live clubs and festivals.

Speaking in Ibiza, he said: "We've got recorded music, we think that's worth $1.25 billion and we've got a couple of other things, sales of hardware and software, brand sponsorship and everything else linked to Dance is getting ridiculously popular. So we think that's worth at least another three quarters of a billion."

Marc Geiger, head of music at William Morris Endeavor, one of the first agencies to start a dedicated electronic division about six years ago, believes industry growth is providing firms with new resources.

But he warns: ''It's big money now and with big money comes a bigger responsibility of growing up."

CNN's Oliver Joy contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0051 GMT (0851 HKT)
Where do hip young things hang out in Taiwan?
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0118 GMT (0918 HKT)
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
Stunning stations where your first priority won't be finding the nearest exit.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0249 GMT (1049 HKT)
A 30-year-old woman has been charged with attempting to kill a baby police say spent five days down a drain before being discovered by cyclists.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT)
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1945 GMT (0345 HKT)
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1738 GMT (0138 HKT)
A Syrian cleric condemns ISIS and its execution of U.S. hostage Peter Kassig.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 1729 GMT (0129 HKT)
TV anchor wears the same suit for a year. Female colleague wears new outfit daily. Who gets criticized?
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1204 GMT (2004 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT