Association for Electronic Music, Worldwide Advocacy Org, Announced at MIDEM

EDM has just got more serious.

The global electronic dance music community has gathered to form an advocacy and lobbying body, entitled the Association for Electronic Music (AFEM), details for which were announced today at MIDEM.

AFEM is a membership-driven body that will pool players from across the dance-music field, with the collective ambition to strengthen and further their genre.

At its inception, the new not-for profit trade association will be led by London-based Ben Turner, a partner in the International Music Summit, and Washington-based entertainment industry biz attorney Kurosh Nasseri.

“Everyone involved in this genre has been told DJing isn’t real music, a real genre. Now it’s one of the most important genres in a world,” Turner says. “But still we’re treated as a genre that’s not quite as valid as guitar music. Whilst we’re in this huge growth period, we need to work together to protect our genre. We’ve seen implosions, and we don’t want it to happen again.”

The new body will present a united voice, creating a vehicle to interact with established organizations, explains Nasseri. “We’ve never had that before,” he notes. “Our goal is to provide a vehicle to engage and demand the equal treatment and respect where it’s not given. It’s most important for us to be embracing rather than excluding, to be collaborating rather than competing. It’s important to invite participation rather than stand in judgment. What we’re announcing is not meant to compete with or displace any other organizations but interface with them in a collaborative manner. And it’s important for us to focus on the people involved, people committed to the genre.”

Disco legend and Chic founder Nile Rodgers will serve as an AFEM ambassador, and more will be added in time. Also, a cadre of notable EDM personnel have taken positions on the board of advisors, including James Barton, recently appointed president of Electronic Music, Live Nation; Patrick Moxey, Ultra Music founder and President of Electronic Music for Sony Music, and Tom Windish, founder of the Windish Agency.

In recent years, EDM has busted out of the underground in the U.S. and emerged as a mainstream global genre, at the same time bestowing rock-star status to its young-gun exponents like Skrillex and Avicii.

According to the International Music Summit Report, the electronic music genre in 2012 was valued at $4 billion worldwide. Despite that blockbuster figure, there’s little in the way of granular data on the global dance music business. AFEM wants to change all that. Collecting comprehensive data will be the first area of real effort for the body. “I’m horrified about how little real data we have about our industry. Commissioning a report is a valuable first step to launch with.” The first gathering of AFEM will happen at the Winter Music Conference in Miami.

The presentation of the AFEM kicked off a two-hour dedicated dance music forum at MIDEM, during which time its panellists explored issues of health and safety, best practise and paying attention to metadata.