Is Ibiza Becoming Too 'VIP' For The Dance Music Community?
According to a recent BBC Newsbeat article, the quintessential partygoers destination, Ibiza, is currently being profiled by some of the biggest DJs in the world as a rip off due to the exorbitant price of clubbing on the island. What originally served as a place of musical discovery has now evolved into who can be the highest bidder as far as even entering any of the five leading night clubs (Pacha, Space, Amnesia, Privilege, and Café Mambo). Some say the tropical idyll is priceless, but with a few of the top DJs catechizing the price of the experience, it has now come to question if we really are getting ripped off through this seemingly invaluable escapade.
The EDM industry has been battling the mainstream influence over the past couple of years. It has been progressively more difficult for genuine fans of the genre to experience shows and festivals at an economically reasonable price as these world-renowned DJ/producers transitioned into pop stars of the generation. Steve Hulme, musical director at Pacha Ibiza, corroborated that clubbing on the island has been completely altered by the DJs performing: “In years gone by, when I first started coming to Ibiza, I'd come to Pacha and not care who was playing. Ibiza was like this for years and years and years. Then as DJs became pop stars, the whole game changed. The masses wanted to come and they wanted to see a pop star.” The scene here has changed so drastically that it has become evident that people travel to the luxurious island only because of the residents each club hosts.
Many top chart DJs, including Afrojack, Steve Angello, and Paul Oakenfold have recently spoken out in regards to the increasingly expensive affair Ibiza has become. Angello supports the opinion that it has transfigured into selling tickets for above face value, scheming visitors through obscure prices, and robbing them of the experience they deserve. Afrojack, one of the top 10 highest paid DJs in the world, agrees that Ibiza is too absorbed by the dollar amount: “I’m playing in Ibiza this year, only because they pay well. The whole magic you used to have on Ibiza is not possible any more because a ticket is 75 euros.” Before dance music blew up internationally, DJs would perform at various night clubs in Ibiza based on what kind of music they intended on mixing. Now, it’s all about the offers they receive, and more importantly, who can pay the DJ more.
In the year 2013, electronic dance music turned out the most substantial profit to date. According to the 2014 IMS Business Report, recorded music sales and streaming racked up $1.4 billion. Festival and club expenses surpassed that value, reaching a little over $4 billion. Also, sales of DJ software and hardware added an extra $500 million to the overall estimated amount of $6 billion dollars the electronic music industry grossed. Conclusively, EDM generates a lot of dough. But does this mean we should be subjected to outrageous ticket prices in this never-ending spiral of shows and festivals? If ticket prices for these shows continue to rise, especially shows put on by the major nightclubs of Ibiza, then it’s clear that the focus of the industry has been modified to paying to party and not supporting the artists.
Hulme maintains that the high prices of tickets and the Ibiza experience are simply due to the logistics and costs of running this kind of business: “There is no real desire from the clubs just to up the charges as much as we can, there's a cost versus income and a basic profit that needs to be made. So the ticket prices are not 'Let's charge X amount for X amounts'. Everything is calculated on a needs must, we have major costs of running the businesses we have here." Maybe its just the ongoing evolution of music, but if DJs who are making millions every year are saying that Ibiza has become too VIP, then this is something attendees should consider when purchasing tickets to EDM shows. It isn’t necessarily about who is behind the turntables at a club. It’s supposed to be about grooving and listening to good music. If mainstream artists are the leading cause behind inflated ticket prices, then it is the fans responsibility to shift the attention.
EDM is going to change no matter what, and it’s our job to keep up with the inevitable changes that will soon follow. While change can be scary, I think the time has come to start focusing more on the talent that exists outside the mainstream realm. It does exist, and you just need to diversify your musical palette. You don’t need to be spending hundreds of dollars to hear good music; the DJs are playing the same content regardless of location, and for a cheaper price.
Written by Emily Hall
[H/T: BBC Newsbeat]
Cover photo credit: Rukes