What We Learnt From Day One at EMC Sydney 2016

Yesterday, the EMC (Electronic Music Conference) kicked things off in Sydney at the ivy. EMC Sydney 2016 saw members of the local and international industry talking about what makes electronic music tick through various workshops and back-to-back panel discussions. Read on to find out what we learnt from Day One.


When we first saw that the EMC (Electronic Music Conference) was happening in Sydney, we didn’t really know what to expect. Electronic music is a genre that we like, but not something we would think to attend a conference where they just continuously talk about and refer to. But it’s so much more than that and we are so thankful to have been able to attend. We learnt so much! So much so that our notebook is full of notes.

Read on to find out all we learnt from Day One of “EMC Sydney 2016″!


Amsterdam’s Night Mayor/Rebel-in-a-Suit Mirik Milan opened the conference with a keynote speech and although we were running late to the event, he made some pretty valid points about the differences between Amsterdam’s vibrant nightlife and Sydney’s lack of [vibrancy].

“There are so many discussions which are filled with emotion. What we need to make sure of is that we work from the facts, and we don’t make decisions based on emotion. This can kill nightlife, and will also harm the good operators that are there to make a difference.

“We also need the top-down structure. [In Amsterdam] we needed the mayor supporting us. So we really need to work together – both sides – to come up with solutions that the city will benefit from. They work on the ground, they are there, they have the knowledge; feed off them, so you can make a nightlife that is safe, vibrant, and creates a lot of jobs.”

With branded collaborations increasingly on the rise in the music space (or any other space for that matter), EMC presented a panel with Sophie Hirst (Google Play), Anna Burns (Future Classic), Nicole Lembke (Secret Sounds Connect), and Dan Bitti (Diageo) which examined the best collaborations currently in the local and international markets, showing how a collaboration between the right parties can genuine opportunity for pushing creative boundaries for both sides. Key quotables from the panel noted below:

“Come into it with an attitude for collaboration”– Sophie Hirst
“Be multi-faceted. Look at it from all views.” – Nicole Lembke
“Dive in and do more than just one thing. Leverage the partnership to its full capacity.” – Nicole Lembke
“The future is heading in the direction of interconnectivity and virtual reality. Be front and centre of any experience around the globe.” – Dan Bitti
A great question came from the audience, “Are brands becoming the new gatekeepers of culture?” whereby Dan Bitti confidently replied with “It’s not what you say, but what you do [as a brand].” Bitti also shared a cute anecdote with (cue namedrop) Pharrell where Pharrell was directed to wear something that the brand thought would be cool. The learning?

As a brand, don’t try to be the one creating the culture. The artist knows what is cool. The artist will create the culture. – Dan Bitti

Oh, and if you think you have a great idea for a label/artist collaboration? Get in touch with Sophie Hirst at Google Play. 😉


A late lunch lead us to stumble upon a social media workshop by accident, if that’s possible. Really though, we were attending with a friend and even though this workshop was primarily targeted at an audience of venues and venue operators, we sure learnt a few tips and tricks for The 5 to 9 Life. Here’s a few worth mentioning that could be used for any artist/business profile on the social platforms if you’re thinking of heading down that way:

  • What is/are your objectives? Stick to 1-2 max.
  • What is your budget? How will you spend it?
  • Learn about the data you collect from Google Analytics, Twitter Analytics, Facebook Analytics, Pixel Data, etc. Think about 1-5 ways you can group your potential fans (i.e. audience) into clearly defined data.
  • Think outside the box!
  • Don’t sell too much on Instagram. Keep your captions short and tag users.

Content is king! So they say. Or rather, we really hope it to be true because if it isn’t, then what the hell are we doing? One of EMC’s last panels of the day featured Erin Moy (Entropico), Katie Cunningham (inthemix), Marty Wirth (Present Company), Meg Williams (Inertia Music), Simon Cahill (Warner Music), and artists The Meeting Tree discussed how to engage with your audience through different mediums, how to develop content strategy and how to let your content do the heavy lifting for you.

  • “Social media gives you a platform to say things that may not necessarily be quoted in the paper – but it might.”  – The Meeting Tree
  • Ask yourself the question: ‘If I saw something like that online, would I be entertained?’ 
  • The internal – aka you – is the harshest judge.
  • If it’s not who you are and you are not being authentic, people will not care.
  • “Everything you create is content.” – Simon Cahill
  • Be realistic: Sometimes a film clip idea ends up as a tweet.
  • “Facebook won’t allow anything with swearing and nudity – it will get reported.” – Simon Cahil