In my report about Daniel Pemberton visiting Utrecht, I mentioned Buma Music in Motion (BMiM)’s next event, which is their annual conference for people in the music for media industry. I was supposed to go to this event for the first time in May 2020, but, as we all know, the pandemic made sure that it would not happen. Two and a half years later, the conference could finally be held again on October 18 in Amsterdam. This time it was in collaboration with the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) and I was able to attend.
Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein
The biggest names attending this edition were the composers from the Netflix hit show Stranger Things, Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, who were the opening as well as the closing event of the day. The conference started with their keynote, in which host Tessa Rose Jackson asked them all kinds of questions. They talked about their work on Stranger Things, working together, and showed some scenes they have worked on from the Mexican movie Hole in the Fence.
Dixon and Stein closed the BMiM conference with a concert, as I have seen them do in Prague in 2019. Their performance in Amsterdam was similar to that in the Czech capital. The stage looked the same, with the construction that was lowered from the ceiling, with all kinds of loose cords hanging over it and tubes of light spread over the whole venue hall, coloring red most of the time. The composers sat behind their synthesizers at the center of the stage and played in foggy and dark surroundings produced by powerful fog machines. Only their silhouettes could be seen from time to time in the glow of the light tubes. As mentioned in my Prague report, I could not get into their music that well back then, but this was not the case for this performance. It had some more rhythm, and since I was sitting close to the stage, I could also see them perform. All in all, it was a fantastic experience to have such a concert in the Netherlands.
During the day there were various panels on different topics. They could be found divided over four rooms in Huis Vasari, the gorgeous mansion in the middle of the city, hosting this edition of the BMiM conference, and I attended several of them. In the first one, Joep Sporck was interviewed about his experiences moving to Los Angeles from the Netherlands. The next panel I attended was with people from the app TikTok, talking about the best use of their platform. I was interested if I could use TikTok for my audience as well, but as someone from “Generation X” (these types of expressions were used during this talk), I did not feel a connection.
The last three panels I attended were more in my area of interest. Fons Merkies and Laurens Goedhart showed how they created the music for one scene in one of their movies. Matthijs Kieboom interviewed Karl Heortweard about his new book You Shoot, I Score, in which he writes about how to make a career as a composer based on over 50 interviews with people in the industry. In the last panel, Joris de Man, TheFatRat and Gavin Johnson talked about their music in games.
In addition to the panels, there were also other meetings. Conference attendees could register for one on one conversations with people from the media industry. In 15-minute time slots, they could ask for advice to help them with their careers. There were also walk-in sessions where an expert was present at certain times of the day and would be available for your questions in their field of expertise. I took the opportunity to talk with “The Dance Lawyer” about copyright laws and the use of music in podcasts. He gave me some excellent pointers on where to find the information I needed on that topic.
The last type of meeting is the most important of a conference: the chats in the corridors and during the closing drinks. I have spoken to many people I have not seen in years, and it was a pleasure to talk to them again in person. I, of course, also met new people with exciting stories to tell. Overall, I had a fantastic day during which I learned a lot, could catch up with wonderful people in the media industry and could listen to glorious synthesizer tunes. I would call that a win. Hopefully, we will get many more events like this in the Netherlands. Buma Music in Motion is on the right track.