The 2014 Billboard Power 100 is an affirmation of the importance of dance music, as Robert Sillerman is ranked #52 and Pasquale Rotella slots in at #72 on this year's list.
Sillerman's storyline as a music powerhouse appears to be cyclical. In the 1990s, he started buying regional concert promoters and consolidating them under the SFX Entertainment brand. Sound familiar? Well, he eventually sold the company to Clear Channel for $4.4 billion, and after a few more transactions throughout the years, the company became the modern-day Live Nation.
In 2012, he decided to restart SFX, and he began by focusing solely on EDM regional concert promoters, starting with Disco Donnie's Disco Productions. Sillerman's biggest acquisitions in 2013 included Beatport, ID&T (founder of Tomorrowland), MadeEvent, and Paylogic. Each of Sillerman's acquisitions were part of a strategy to position SFX as the premier electronic dance culture company. It all culminated in an IPO for SFX that began trading on the NASDAQ on October 9. Honestly, who would have ever thought dance music would be the basis of a publicly traded company?
Sillerman started 2014 off with a bang, as he announced a marketing partnership with Clear Channel. As a part of the partnership, Beatport will have a Top 20 countdown radio show on some of Clear Channel's biggest radio stations, alongside Ryan Seacrest's American Top 40 show. Sillerman's money has been able to consolidate some of EDM's biggest companies under one umbrella, and his ability to leverage his properties into an IPO is astounding. He has certainly earned his position on the Billboard Power 100. This is Sillerman's first time breaking into the Power 100, but it won't be his last.
In stark contrast to Sillerman, Rotellarose to prominence by building his entire lifestyle around rave culture. His Insomniac Events grew from a small promotion company that threw warehouse raves to the production company behind Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas, which injected a resounding $278 million into Clark County. However, Rotella's biggest move of 2013 came when he sold 50% of Insomniac Events to Live Nation for $50 million. Despite Live Nation owning roughly 50% of Insomniac, Rotella still maintains creative control over the brand. The deal allows Insomniac to take advantage of Live Nation's vast resources in order to grow as an organization. It was a smart move by both Insomniac and Live Nation.
Rotella's growth as an entrepreneur has been intriguing to follow. He has made the huge transition from being labeled as a crook during the course of his embezzlement and bribery case to being viewed as an EDM visionary who has steered American's dance music culture to where it is today. He has been instrumental in pushing dance music into the mainstream, and his #72 spot on the Billboard Power 100 is well-deserved. In fact, you could easily make the argument Rotellashould be higher due to his influence on music as a whole. Regardless, Rotellahas not topped out at #72, and you should expect to see him higher on next year's list.
A few other EDM-related names who appear on the list are Scooter Braun at #33 and Tom Windish at #93. Braun, the brains behind Justin Bieber, signed Martin Garrix to his management company in 2013. Garrix is Braun's first attempt at breaking into the dance music industry. Windish is the founder of Windish Agency, which is the booking agency for Cashmere Cat, Dillon Francis, Steve Angello, and some of the biggest producers in dance music.
It is clear that dance music is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the music world. If it continues on its current trajectory, Sillerman and Rotella should move up the Power 100 in the future, and you can expect to see more people involved with dance music on the list.
Photo credit: EDM Magazine