Meet Robert F.X. Sillerman, the 64-year-old man that’s buying your favorite dance music, your favorite nightclubs, and your favorite festivals. The American media mogul, who happens to own American Idol and the estate of Elvis Presley, made headlines last June when he pledged to spend a billion dollars on electronic dance music through his media production company, SFX Entertainment.
Since then, the so-called “EDM arms race” has picked up considerable speed. Sillerman now owns Donnie Disco Presents, Life in Color (previously DayGlow) and controlling stakes in The Opium Group and MMG, the Miami-based nightclub management firms that run Mansion, SET, Cameo, Liv, Arkadia, Story and Mokai Lounge.
More headlines were made last month when Tomorrowland organizers ID&T announced a plan to expand their flagship festival into North America. Soon after, an ID&T co-founder confirmed a joint venture in North America between Livenation, ID&T and SFX. ID&T is also the creator of the world-renowned Sensation event and was responsible for bringing the all-white show to New York last year. The partnership between ID&T and SFX would imply that Sillerman would have a considerable influence in the production of Sensation and Tomorrowland when it lands in North America.
How far is Robert Sillerman and SFX willing to go to own dance music? GenXGlow uncovered evidence that Beatport, the leader of the digital electronic music market, is either for sale or has been acquired. Delaware public record revealed the formation of two new companies: SFX-BEATPORT HOLDING, LLC and SFX-BEATPORT, LLC.
It seems as though nothing is going to stop the SFX machine from buying our beloved music. However, some feel that there isn’t any need to worry. As the Huffington Post reported, “those who have worked with Sillerman contend he is a back room money man who avoids the limelight and major changes at the places he owns.”
“Well, i suppose in summary, to all i’ve said before, about the faux DJ’ing stuff. The pauly D’s the Paris Hiltons, the play pressers, it’s all part of this same point i’ve been trying to make i guess. EDM has turned into a massively marketed cruise ship, and it’s sinking fast. Not because of ll the passengers, but perhaps there are too many cooks in the kitchen…EDM is as commercially viable as coca cola. And what ‘popular’ entity WOULDN’T want to cash in on that? Exactly why were starting to see reality stars and famous for nothing celebrities turn into overnight DJ’s, Majors signing ‘dance music oriented’ artists and producing major events, pre-exisiting pop artists and markets dabbling in the ‘EDM’ market to switch up the style using the same old pop business / marketing models… and this marriage of the two things is only going to make cash, move units, sell tickets and keep it ‘fresh’ coz its allll new to them, and theyre loving it. coz it fuckin works (for now).”
What does this mean for the future of dance music? No one knows. One thing’s for sure though–a complete stranger using his ridiculous bank account to buy our music just doesn’t sit right.