EDM is big business.
Over the last several years, electronic dance music's popularity has spiked, especially in the United States. And so have the profits that could be made off its DJs, producers, nightlife brands, clubs, festivals, cruises...
So naturally, Rolling Stone's "50 Most Important People in EDM" is dominated by industry figures (agents, managers, club owners, festival founders, media moguls) and not the people who actually make the music.
In fact, Miami's only contributions to this power list (which, incidentally, was coauthored by former New Times music editor Arielle Castillo) are two such business guys: Ultra Music Festival's Russell Faibisch and LIV Miami's Dave Grutman.
Citing Ultra's drawing power ("more than 330,000 attendees in 2013") and its global reach ("an international chain of branded festivals"), Rolling Stone considers festival cofounder Faibisch to be the sixth most important person in EDM.
Faibisch is outranked only by AM Only's Paul Morris, William Morris Endeavor's Joel Zimmerman, SFX Entertainment's Robert Sillerman, Insomniac Events' Pasquale Rotella, and Live Nation's James Barton.
All of whom are also power brokers and money men.
Just five slots down the list, Dave Grutman comes in at number 11.
As the founder of MMG Nightlife, he and his team operate South Beach megaclubs Story and LIV, the latter of which was last year's fifth most profitable nightlife spot in the country, making $45 to $60 million in 2013, according to Nightclub and Bar Media Group's "Nightclub & Bar Top 100."
No doubt, that's big bucks.
Of course, all of this emphasis on dollars seems to be rankling the so-called "real EDM fans," who'd rather retitle Rolling Stone's list: "50 People Most Responsible for Destroying EDM."
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But with the music industry at large increasingly incapable of selling enough CDs or MP3s to turn satisfactory profits, the standard for determining importance is often making money, which is something EDM festivals, clubs, and concert promotion monsters are doing pretty well right now.
So yes, ravers, the bottom line is the bottom line. It's not just about the vibes.
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