Pete Tong is certainly one of the few who can truly say that in dance music, they’ve both done and seen it all. Whether it’s his role as a BBC Radio 1 DJ, touring DJ, or even that of label executive at Parlophone-run FFRR Records, Pete Tong is truly a dance music visionary and legend. And did I also mention that he co-founded the electronic music division at WME?
Anyhow, Pete Tong recently took the time to speak to Billboard at the 10th Anniversary at IMS Ibiza – a music conference he also co-founded a decade ago – to shed his thoughts on a wide variety of issues including where he saw the music industry headed towards and most interestingly, the current state of music in the United States.
On the topic of foreign markets and where he saw dance music headed he was quick to name China. Not surprising as he has a fairly extensive touring history in China while the IMS brand has since opened up sister conference in Shanghai, IMS Asia-Pacific. Calling the fans there ‘open-minded,’ Pete Tong added that “the world seems to be opening up more to China, and China is opening up to the rest of the world. I think there’s a perception that there’s gold out there in those hills. I’m not saying there isn’t, but none of us know how much gold there is out there and how much they really want this scene.”
Most interesting though were his comments on the state of the dance music scene in the U.S. and while we can all agree that it does seem like the scene might be reaching its peak, Pete Tong is fairly adamant that it already has.
“I think the market’s peaked. No one wants to say it too loudly. It’s fantastic having had the experience in the U.K. and Europe, because everything is way bigger over here than it was there, but the patterns are similar. The door didn’t shut over a day; it was like a deflation, a puncture. I think we’ve been going through that for a couple of years. And now in 2017, like a housing crisis or decline, you’re really feeling it more this year… only the strong survive”
Pete Tong also pointed to the decline in festivals and buyers this year as one of the main results of the bubble popping before adding that “you need to make better records, you need to throw better parties and festivals. And only the strong survive.”
Just this year several staple dance music festivals including Pemberton, Mysteryland USA, and Mad Decent Beach Party just three of the major festivals that were slated to take place this year before cancellations. What do you think? Has the dance music scene peaked? Let us know in the comments below.