Winter Music Conference: March 25-28, 2019 • Ultra Music Festival: March 29-31, 2019

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The value of the WMC Badge

Every year I’ve attended Winter Music Conference, I’ve registered as a WMC Delegate, which means I’ve purchased the official WMC badge. I’m not one to normally complain and nitpick, but seems like the WMC badge has been losing value over the past few years.

This year it has been frustratingly hard to have the badge honored. Event promoters are getting much stricter with their pricing. A few examples that immediately come to mind:

  • The 2010 badge included admission to Ultra Music Festival. That option was dropped in 2011 and every season since.
  • The “No Sugar Added Beach Festival 2012 Day 1” at Nikki Beach on 3/22 was advertised as $50 with the WMC badge. When we got there, they were charging $80.
  • The “CLR Pool Party with Chris Liebing and Friends” on 3/22 was advertised as $30 with the WMC badge. When we got there, the people ahead of us were being charged $60 without a badge. When it was our turn to pay, we asked about a badge discount. After consulting with a manager, we were told that we could get a $20 discount off the door price, but the door price had now increased to $80, effectively bringing us back to the $60 everyone else was paying.
  • The “Lost Angeles Invades Miami” event at Tantra on 3/22 was advertised as free with the WMC badge. When we got there, the doorman told us “the price has changed” and the badge cost was now $10.
  • In 2012, the Boris “GET WET” party was $35 general admission and free with the WMC badge. For 2013, the price has increased to $65 and there’s no discount with the WMC badge.
  • In 2012, a vast majority of the events at Club Space were free for WMC badge holders before 2am. For 2013, it seems that option was available for the first week’s events, but now that we’re into the second week of WMC, most of the events are full price with the WMC badge.

I will note that these practices have nothing to do with the official WMC folks. Of course all of the sanctioned WMC events and panels are free with the badge, which is great! These are the individual event organizers playing games. What is going on here with the arbitrary pricing? If you publish a certain price, how can you just change it on a whim? It’s a shame that some people more focused on profit than respecting the industry.

One thing that the WMC folks do control is the International Dance Music Awards (IDMA) ceremony. In 2010, the event was at the Jackie Gleason Theater. There was plenty of seating and they even offered a pre-ceremony dinner upgrade option that year. In 2011, the ceremony moved to Dolce, which turned out to be a disaster. Seating was reserved for VIPs and celebrities, which left the majority of WMC badge holders left to stand for the entire ceremony! In 2012, it was held at the Winter Music Conference complex, which was a series of professional grade tents along the beach. General admission seating was back, but I felt the fact it was inside of a tent cheapened the experience somewhat. This year’s event was hosted at the Colony Theater, which proved to be a much better option than the last few years. Still, the venue was small, the light operator was horrible, and the crowd lacked energy. This event is such an important part of the dance music world that I hate to speak ill of it. I hope they get things right so it’s a better experience for all.

At the end of the day, Winter Music Conference is always a great time! I just wish more people would worry about creating great events and music instead of the profits they reap.