Pasquale Rotella is undoubtedly one of the most important people in electronic dance music. His ability to build Insomniac from a small group of promoters throwing warehouse raves decades ago to producing massive music festivals in the present day is a testament to his passion, drive, and business sense. That's why when Rotella talks, the dance music community listens. He was recently the subject of an in-depth interview with Aron Friedman of THUMP, and Rotella discussed some interesting topics.
Rotella explained why he needed to sell a portion of Insomniac to Live Nation. He said, "It [staying independent] wasn’t an option because everyone was chasing us in the US. I got 12 different proposals and said no to them all, including SFX. They offered me between $120 and $150 million for my company. I talked to all of those companies, but felt the most comfortable with Live Nation. And that was the last party that I expected to work with. When I was young, Live Nation had a really bad reputation. It was pretty intimidating that these companies were buying up everything around me. And these were all companies with large pockets that were now becoming my competition. It took me two years to realize that I couldn’t keep saying "no." I love this culture. That was a big reason why I chose Live Nation."
However, Live Nation is not in charge of Insomniac. Rotella ensured that he still gets to make the final decisions. He asserted, "Let me say first and foremost that we have complete autonomy within Live Nation. I didn’t sell the whole company. They are just our investors and support us financially. I’m very impressed by [Live Nation CEO] Michael Rapino. He is one of the reasons I decided to work with Live Nation. They are very passionate. If I’d gone into business with SFX, I feel like I might as well have just retired."
He also revealed that he's looking to build Insomniac into a respected brand in Europe. He said, "I want people to know more about the American dance culture. And I want to start bringing our brands to Europe. We don’t have any concrete plans yet, but we are considering our options. Last year we got an offer to throw a party in Amsterdam, but that was too soon and not enough people here know what EDC or Insomniac is yet. Besides, you already have so many cool events here. I don’t want to do anything until there’s a gap we can fill. We bring something that others aren’t bringing yet, but we want to do that at the right moment."
Lastly, he promoted his book, which sounds like it will give a lot of insight into SFX and the inner workings of the business behind electronic dance music. He stated, "I actually have a book coming out in May. There’s a lot more to this, that I can’t say – a lot of really bad, negative things. The book will explain things that I think will really blow the minds of the people that really care about this culture. How SFX started, where Robert Sillerman got the idea from in the first place."
We hope the book is as mind-blowing as Rotella says. We'll be counting down the days until its release in May 2015.
Cover photo credit: LA Weekly