What's Up with WMC and Ultra Splitting Up?

Otherwise known as Winter Music Conference and Ultra Music Festival, probably the biggest Electronic dance music festival in the world... usually also when the biggest new songs of the year are debuted.

If you don't know by now, WMC and Ultra have split for 2011 and instead of one awesome week in Miami, it's going to be two different weeks: March 8-12 for Winter Music Conference and March 25-27.

The reason for the change?

Well according to Miami New Times, Ultra pulled out of the supposed week of March 8th thru the 12th because of the free street fair called Calle Ocho, which happens that same weekend and brings in a million people.
"Unfortunately WMC did not take into consideration that during the second week of March the city of Miami hosts the annual Calle Ocho street fair, which attracts more than one million people into Downtown Miami for this free event. [...] Ultra used absolute best efforts to maintain the relationship with WMC and join them in the move to the second week. However, this was rendered impossible by the City of Miami police department as they do not have the resources to host Ultra Music Festival and Calle Ocho in Miami on the same weekend due to the fact that all police resources will be outsourced to the one million person annual event." - Ultra
This didn't go without any aggression as Club Space owner Louis Puig argued:
Hello Electronic Music lovers,

With WMC comes WMC Drama, the two just seem to go hand in hand. This year the big D is all about the two different Dates (WMC and Ultra) which are confusing the fcuk out of everyone and raising all sorts of questions… What is up with the 2 dates? What is really happening? What is the inside scoop? What is Club Space doing? When should we come to Miami? My father always had one answer for every question,
when in doubt always chase the money and sure enough this is no exception so pay close attention because I am only explaining this once…

This year and once again, Ultra is trying to monopolize WMC by engaging exclusive contracts with all major DJs which will not allow them to perform at your favorite dance clubs. Last year they got Tiesto, Dead Mau, Guetta, Carl Cox, Armin…) to sign Ultra exclusives and this year they are going after everyone else. What this means to the consumer is that you will no longer be able to enjoy your favorite DJ for extended sets after midnight at your favorite clubs, instead you will be forced to listen to them for a one hour set before midnight in a crowded field of dust, mud and ravers. You can also forget about seeing them at your favorite pool parties. You either pay the overpriced Ultra admission or you don’t get to see and dance to your favorite DJ at all, so much for democracy and your rights as a consumer. Now, I love Ultra and what they bring to the game but I do not agree with their greedy strategy to manipulate and monopolize Music Conference. This is just not good for anyone.

WMC used to be about free parties with DJs and industry folks sharing and enjoying new music. Now, it is about greed and money with Ultra and all the clubs fighting over talent, hotels charging 4 times what they are used to and agents and DJs banking on the demand. As the owner of Space, I like all the demand and the high prices as it allows us to raise our prices and make more money and Space will be packed regardless of what DJ is performing and what decision you make. In fact, the better Ultra does, the better we do as we are right across the street and at midnight everyone comes our way. However, as a 35 year supporter of Electronic Music I cannot consciously stand back and see this shit take place. This is not what EM is about and it surely is not what I want to see WMC turn into. In fact, for the past 5 years I have made it a point to stop the door cover at a certain price knowing that we could easily charge double the cover. Our presales discount tickets even start at half of the door cover charged on the day of the event. This Industry has been very good to me and I for this I am eternally grateful. Thanks and thanks again.

Now what does this mean to you? Well, unfortunately the consumer is the one that ends up paying for everything. As long as there is just one music festival and one weekend as long as you keep supporting and feeding the greed you will keep suffering the high prices. This year you have a chance to make a difference and bring back what Music Conference and Electronic Music used to be about. You can either come to Miami on the last week of March, support the greedy monopoly, keep taking it up the ass and lose your right to seeing your favorite DJ at your favorite club or you can come the second week of March, claim back your wallet and your nightlife. It is really all up to you… your life, your music, your choice. The good folks at WMC have taken a brave step towards bringing saneness and normality to this over populated and overpriced chaos by choosing a separate week from Ultra for you to hold their parties and events. Now, if we could just get someone to start another music festival during WMC week things would really stabilize. Gordon Gekko once said, “greed is good” but I truly believe competition is even better. Humm… if I were you I would not book your tickets just yet.

Finally, a good friend pointed out something which we are all overlooking and that is that “without WMC there would not be an Ultra Music Festival.”

See you the second week in March - Louis Puig Owner and Resident DJ of Club Space
I for one, have never been to WMC and Ultra, and have always wanted to check it out. And it seems to me, all the big DJ's and artists are playing Ultra Music Festival this year... since they've probably booked their tickets way in advance of this announcement late last year. And quite possibly because Ultra signs exclusives contracts with these major artists to play at only Ultra during that time. So, I will be sitting back this year and possibly wait it out until they (hopefully) get something negotiated by 2012... because do we really want to book two trips to Miami, in this economy?

What's your say on this?

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