100 Industry Leaders Highlight The Opportunities And Challenges That Technology Brings; A Desire For Unique Venues And Memorable Experiences; And New Voices Fueling New Subcultures
Absolut® – a brand that’s had its finger on the pulse of nightlife since the Eighties – released a “State of Nightlife 2015” report as an output of Absolut Labs, an idea incubator and think tank for cutting-edge ideas, products and technology that help push nightlife forward. The report identifies emerging trends and consistent themes resonating across the landscape as described by 100 of the country’s most influential leaders in the space. (You can read the full “State of Nightlife 2015” report at theabsolutlabs.com/research)
From promoters to DJs, entrepreneurs to creatives, these influencers give voice to the challenges facing the industry and the rising possibilities. The report finds that the once-dominant exclusive, bottle-service model is evolving into more inclusive, diverse and exciting scenes than ever before.
The study, conducted between May and August 2015, features insights from a diverse array of Absolut’s ‘tribes,’ or “Nightlife Fuelers,” including Beatmakers (emerging DJs and producers) and Visual Stage Acts (multi-media artists, programmers, performers and designers) and “Nightlife Makers,” including Party Fixers (concept creators, promoters) and Nightclub Owners.
Through one-on-one interviews, these influencers shared insights into consumer behaviors and motivations as well as personal experiences grounded in business-driven nighttime ventures. As a result, nine trends emerged across the three primary drivers of the industry: Music, Venue and Experience.
Music: Extended nightlife hours and a desire for an immersive experience are driving both sonic and audience diversity.
- EDM is evolving to blend new production techniques with live instrumentation and merging with other genres like rock and R&B.
- Diversified playlists are fueling Open Format parties which, in turn, draw more diverse, “melting pot”-type crowds.
- Visuals are now becoming as important as the music, with new technology providing more epic, cinematic experiences than ever before.
Venue: A desire for authenticity and meaningful experiences is informing venue choices, from intimate get-togethers to large scale festivals.
- Nostalgia for house parties is rising with consumers looking for nights that come together more organically.
- Mega-Clubs are waning, surprise off-the-grid venues are in.
- Festivals are diversifying, offering more versatile musical line-ups for inclusive, collective experiences that span mindfulness, fitness and entrepreneurship.
Experiences: Experience is the new luxury, especially when it’s tailored and in-the-moment.
- Hosts are starting to require their guests to detach from their devices and focus on forging connections with those around them.
- While nightlife experiences were franchised in mega clubs in the past, trends are now starting on a local level and then tailored to each new community as they expand.
- Nightlife is becoming more heterogeneous and eclectic with niche communities rapidly shaping mainstream tastes.
“Absolut has always been about inclusivity and nightlife ever since its launch in New York City in the Eighties, when clubs like Studio 54 and Area attracted an eclectic crowd; uptown/downtown, black/white, straight/gay, everyone could be equal on the dancefloor,” says Afdhel Aziz, Brand Director, Absolut Labs. “At Absolut Labs we’re on a mission to make people’s nights better. We’re inspired by this report and hope the industry is too. We’re looking forward to creating breakthrough products and experiences that surprise and disrupt.”
Select references captured within the report:
“The most interesting and memorable events are ones that open to participation from its attendees. This always leads to something that’s truly one-of-a-kind.”
Being born and raised in New York, the last industry Tim Shilstone thought he’d find himself working in was agriculture. As a “culture farmer” his mission is to nurture the best undiscovered local artists while cultivating an environment for people to connect with new friends, and reconnect with their true self. Currently he’s working on a variety of projects in the art and music space including a number of parties under the event production company he’s co-founded, Something Different. In doing so he’s grown close with DJ collective, The Deep, and has taken on a managing role with them. With spare time Tim’s leading the event production /curation responsibilities for Bushwick Open Studios official events, and is the Marketing Director of TEDxBushwick.
“In nightlife, you will find a lot of artists, a lot of people in fashion, singers, song-writers, people in the arts, etc., but also a lot of honest, hard-working citizens with 9-to-5 jobs who have artistic tendencies. We try to create a space where we can bring these folks together, a space for them to mix and match.“
Hailing from Queens NY, mOma is the embodiment of the versatile New York DJ & Producer. His sets consist of an agile blend of funk, soul, R&B, disco, house, hip-hop, reggae, world music and underground dance grooves all mixed with an equal share of classic jams, rare gems and modern day dance floor bangers. This unique diversity has seen him hold a wide spectrum of residencies, ranging from the esoteric (APT, subMercer, Cielo) to the more mainstream. His current residencies – Wednesday Nights at Le Bain in the Standard Hotel, Friday nights at Ginny’s Supper Club / Red Rooster (Chef Marcus Samuelsson‘s Harlem hotspots) and the popular daytime brunch party ‘Everyday People‘ – have solidified his status as one of NYC’s most sought after DJs. The past year has seen mOma perform in Los Angeles, Toronto, London, Berlin, Oslo, Zurich, Nairobi, Zanzibar and Addis Ababa among many other locations. He has shared the stage with Legends of the DJ game – Tony Humphries, Q-Tip, DJ Spinna, Just Blaze, Pete Rock, Evil Dee, Rich Medina, Felix the Housecat and Tony Touch just to name a few – as well as DJ’d events for J Cole, Drake, Rihanna, Solange Knowles, Kendrick Lamar, John Legend, Janelle Monae, Jennifer Hudson, Estelle, D’Angelo and Erykah Badu. In addition to the above, mOma is also the official DJ for Dreamville, the record label recently founded by platinum selling rapper J Cole.
“There are restaurants opening up on every corner, galleries, events every weekend. A lot of artists are up-and-coming, there are murals coming up every week and a lot of great Miami-based artists are starting to get recognition. A lot of events are now revolving around these artists.”
Being born and raised in Miami, Christina Hernandez was exposed to a vast variety of culture. Living off of music, nightlife and everything in-between, Christina always focused on her passion for music. Becoming a DJ at a young age, she noticed that their female presence in the Miami market was scarce and there was a void in electronic music that she wanted to fill. Expanding this presence and knowing that her taste in music wasn’t of the norm, manifested Christina’s feeling of responsibility to continue on her DJ adventures.
Hosting many events throughout Miami and DJ-ing at the likes of the Miami Beach Centennial World Class Tennis Exhibition, the Wynwood Life Festival, Milk Media‘s Eccentric Smorgasbord, City Gazettes Relaunch Party and the Hialeah Now Bloc Party, Christina is collaborating with local Miami tastemakers in bringing unique nightlife experiences to the city. Klangbox.FM, one of Miami’s most popular, eccentric local radio stations invited Christina (or as she’s known on air, DJ Vak Devi) to become a resident DJ of her own live broadcasted show every Wednesday. Because of her love of music at a young age, Christina found importance in sharing musical creativity with children. Opportunely, MAM Youth Arts approached her in teaching DJ classes to children. One year later, she now has over 50 students enrolled in her program which is rapidly growing every school term.
Absolut Labs will be addressing both the challenges and opportunities resulting from the pervasive presence of technology. While technology can be used to facilitate a collective experience by serving as a conduit between performers and spectators, it can also create a distraction from enjoying in-the-moment experiences. In this vein, Absolut Labs launched its first beta project this summer, Absolut Reality, the world’s first livestreamed virtual reality concert. Using custom Google Cardboard sets, Absolut Reality allowed fans across the country to experience a live, sold out Bob Moses concert from Brooklyn, NY via a live 360-degree virtual reality experience.