Ben Turner, 44, has been involved with nearly every aspect of electronic music since he fell for the form nearly three decades ago: as a fan, raver, journalist, editor, manager, creative director on DanceStar USA: The American Dance Music Awards and co-founder of the annual International Music Summit in Ibiza, Spain.
But in 2013, he felt one thing was missing from the scene. “What was needed, from my perspective, was infrastructure,” he explains. “When you think back five years ago, the genre was exploding all over the world. In an industry, you need to be able to speak with one voice on certain occasions to make a key message. That didn't exist.”
So Turner and attorney Kurosh Nasseri founded the Association for Electronic Music, a nonprofit organization, expressly for that purpose. Despite industry skepticism -- “Setting up a nonprofit trade organization in this day and age is a very difficult thing to do,” says COO Mark Lawrence, “let alone setting one up with global reach targeting every aspect of an entire genre” -- the organization celebrates its fifth birthday in 2018. “We’ve gone from 40 member companies to over 150 operating in 34 countries,” says Lawrence.