Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE): Conference Overview + Festival Highlights

This week one of electronic music’s largest international events. Now in its 16th year, Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) combines a jam-packed schedule of daytime workshops, round-tables, and technical demonstrations with a world-class line-up of DJs and producers taking you into the night. After its inception in 1996, the event grown astronomically, from just 100 attendees in the 1990s to over 130,000 visitors in the last few years, putting it next to Miami’s Winter Music Conference as one of the most important industry events in the world.

Split into a music industry conference and full-fledged music festival, ADE manages to create a remarkably streamlined community of electronic music professionals that seeks to reflect the special relationship electronic music has to both business and art. It goes with out saying that ADE bring some of the biggest DJs and label showcases to its festival, but for Dubspot readers unable to attend ADE, of which there are probably many, here is a snapshot of the kinds of workshops and industry events that have been going at ADE’s conference.

Photo by Aico Lind

Of the various industry-related events going on, many of them seem to be engaging with the question of the internet’s effect on sharing music and content with audiences.


If you run or maintain a blog, either as a music enthusiast or artist, you might want to know the State of the Blogs a workshop on how to transform your blog from a hobby into a professional internet magazine.

How to run a successful musicblog in 2011, and how not to? Can you make a living of of it, or does it remain a hobby? How to compete with professional internet magazines, in some cases these are well funded (3VOOR!@, State Magazine) by the big broadcasters? There’s enough to discuss with some of the movers and shakers in de Dutch Blogosphere.


Are crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter going to rival labels as a way to reach an artist’s audience and develop interest? A crowd-funding workshop explores this question with Netherlands-based crowd-funding platform Voordekunst.

Roy Cremers is the founder of voordekunst. This is a crowdfunding site where artists can submit their projects to find funding through the crowd. In a time where public funding for Arts and Culture are being trimmed, could crowd funding be a serious alternative? Amongst the donations there are not just individuals, for example also Nike is pitching in. Will this sort of company-involvement become a trend? Come and hear Roy tell us about his experience with voordekunst since they started little over a year ago.


Workshops have included presentations from co-founder Nikhil Shah of the popular DJ mix platform Mixcloud, about how engaged online communities are an influential force creating a lasting, loyal band of listeners and audience members.

Passionate online communities can be a powerful force. They can create and curate your content; they can police and moderate the site; they can evangelise and advocate; and finally they can be monetized. Nikhil Shah from Mixcloud talks about lessons learned and a few favourite examples of how to build an engaged community with lasting value.

Photo by Aico Lind

Other industry keynote speakers like Scott Snibbe (developer of Bjork’s interactive iPad accompaniment to her latest record Biophilia) have looked at the potential for iPad and iPhone apps to make albums and releases more immersive and dynamic.


The emergence of music apps for mobile devices promises to reacquaint listeners with an immersive, intimate music experience that has been lost in the age of the digital download. Scott Snibbe’s keynote will focus on demonstration and discussions of his recent interactive music iPad and iPhone apps that bring immersive electronic music experiences to a broad mainstream audience. His talk will focus on a behind-the-scenes look at Björk’s Biophilia – the creation of the first app album, and the impact that apps will have on performing artists and the music industry. Scott will also speak on his personal history with interactive music, including rare examples of research and prototypes he created in the 1990s with Lukas Girling featuring video game-style interactive music, nintendo controllers, and interactions with Laurie Anderson and Brian Eno.

The iPad is the focus of workshops exploring its music-making potential as well, through both hardware and software. Rob Mekken of Music-IT talks about iPad integration into a musician’s live setup, something we here at Dubspot have continued to experiment with and explore.

Labels have been a large focus of this year’s event. Unlike any other genre of music, electronic music comes with a dizzying array of artists and labels. Not only do thousands of labels exist, each with a relatively small catalog, DJs and producers with any modest success often start their own labels. In the workshop titled “Off the Record? Labels In the Digital Age,” a round-table of label reps discusses the merits of vinyl, platforms like Bandcamp, and whether or not music should just be free.

Photo by Aico Lind

Of the absolutely dizzying array of events going on through out the week and weekend, here are a list of artists and showcases our Dubspot readers abroad may be enticed by.

Richie Hawtin Presents Plastikman 1.5. Hawtin has one of the most jaw-dropping audio/visual performances in the world, and will likely be the highlight of your weekend. Check out excerpts of a recent live set below.

BOILER ROOM Minus Takeover with Richie Hawtin, Dubfire, Seth Troxler & Ambivalent was definitely one of the highlights for those of us experiencing the ADE from afar. For those who missed it, stay tune because Boiler Room has a lot more in store, including next Wednesday’s Boiler Room Berlin 003 with Levon Vincent, Efdemin, Roman Flügel, Cosmin TRG & 2562/ A Made Up Sound!

To end your ADE experience right, plan for an epic evening with Berlin’s premier techno label Ostgut Ton. Representing the label will be Marcel Dettmann, Ben Klock, Planetary Assault Systems, and Marcel Fengler. For those who are unable to attend Berlin’s world-class Berghain club, this will be a great taste of what you’re missing.

Marcel Dettmann – “Lattice”