#MN2S20: The Directors' Interview | Features | MN2S

The dance music industry is virtually unrecognisable in 2015 compared to when MN2S was born in 1995. Vinyl has become a niche pursuit rather than the common currency, the fax machine has been rendered obsolete, and DJs are earning more than many pop and rock stars.

As part of our 20 year celebrations, we take a look at the changes that have occurred during MN2S’ history and look towards the future with the company’s three directors: Sharron Elkabas, Dave Elkabas and Tim Burnett.

What have been the biggest changes in the industry over the last twenty years with regards to how MN2S operates?

Dave Elkabas: The big one would have to be the internet and the advent of social media. Both have had a huge impact on both how music is sold and promoted. It’s hard to think of a world without email and the likes of Skype, but when we started MN2S the web was still in its infancy and restricted to dial-up speeds. Technology clearly drives methods and practices and it should be interesting to see what comes next.

Tim Burnett: At the beginning we were using fax machines to send out press releases, sending letters by post to our members to inform them of our next party. Once the internet kicked in properly, the amount of man hours we saved not having to lick an envelope or stand over a screaming fax machine was immense. To be fair, the internet was quite slow at the beginning with dial-up, but it definitely made things easier and quicker for us.

Sharron Elkabas: The way we can communicate so instantly with customers and clients has made things so much easier. Rather than waiting on faxes, snail mail or even having to talk on the phone, nowadays email, instant messaging services, Skype and such all mean people are pretty much online 24/7, or can be if needed, no matter where they are in the world. With many of these services being free, it’s also made that side of the business more cost effective.

Tim Burnett: Also, everything turning digital as far as releases. This again made the whole process of releasing a record a lot more cost effective and easier.

Is there anything you would have done differently knowing what you know now?

TB: I personally was happy with the way went about it as it all happened organically at the beginning. I guess we could have been making a lot more money earlier rather struggling as much as we did financially at the start, but the blood sweat and tears made us who we are today.

DE: Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but probably not. I have no real regrets and never could have imagined we would still be here after so many years. If we had planned to be where we are today (all those years ago), it probably wouldn’t have worked. We would have regretted not taking the opportunity to diversify and grow the business, but we seized the opportunities that having a successful event opened for us and we now use that experience to help other artists and businesses grow today.

SE: I’d like to think we did everything at the right time, grew appropriately and didn’t rush. We’ve never been rash in our decisions or jumped on any bandwagons and instead have built our own empire.

Musically speaking, what was your favourite era of the last 20 years?

SE: Probably the first US house explosion in the early-to-mid-nineties. It was this scene that inspired us to start our own events, bringing mainly US DJs to the UK for a party that instantly went from strength-to-strength. We were younger then and partied more; and so really that was our era.

TB: The ‘90s was a great time for music for me. MAW dubs, the New Jersey sound, Mood II Swing at the beginning… Armand Van Helden killing it with his monster remixes of Tori Amos and CJ Bolland in the mid-‘90s… then the French touch period with Daft Punk, Cassius et al releasing some bombs…. then Subliminal Records coming out with some bangers in the later part of the ‘90s.

DE: The ‘90s is really starting to ripen as a golden era for music. It’s taken some time to see that, but the more we reflect the more significant it becomes. The rise of minimal techno was an interesting time for me personally and threw the whole house thing on its head. I think it came at a time when new and fresh ideas were needed and it has had a notable influence on new music ever since.

What did you not see coming in the past two decades?

TB: That house music would still be going after all this time!

SE: Who knew that it would not only still be going but, but that it would be as dominant in the mainstream as it is today?

DE: No-one knew if it would be a phase or last the test of time. Today, it’s a genre similar to jazz or rock; full of diversity and sub genres, but still going strong. EDM would have been hard to predict a few years ago, especially in a time where the mainstream music industry had almost written off electronic music. We haven’t had such relevance in mainstream charts since the ‘90s.

SE: Also, who knew that America, for so long a rock nation, would suddenly fall in love with the dance music it created 30 years ago – albeit in a slightly different style, namely EDM? The technological advancements in that time have been amazing, from DJ gear to promotional tools like SoundCloud and BandCamp. The whole dance scene has become thoroughly professional.

TB: The digital revolution taking off the way it has – which was obviously going to happen – but I was such a vinyl purist that I didn’t want to accept it at the start. DJs playing off laptops and not even being DJs. I’m not hating; I just never expected that there would be superstar DJs that can’t even mix two beats together without the use of computer.

What are MN2S’ plans for the future?

TB: To get keep growing and diversifying.

SE: To continue to grow at our own pace, to continue to help to bring through young labels and artists, and to ensure that musical veterans get the exposure they deserve.

DE: Being prepared to change with the times and develop new business models is a key part of our story, so more of that is guaranteed. It’s an interesting time in dance music and there’s no telling where it will go. One thing is for sure: we will be there. Our core business has now become about understanding the needs of artists, brands and labels in today’s market and keeping up-to-date with shifts in the industry while providing a broader range of services to our clients.

What’s your big prediction for the next 5 years in the music industry?

DE: More change. The success or failure of the streaming model. The continued ‘mainstreamisation’ of club culture. The underground backlash that comes with it. We’ve slowly seen a shift towards the celebrity industry model where the acts themselves become the industry drivers and not the corporations. This has become the norm for celebrities in the USA and is creeping into the DJ model slowly but surely.

TB: The usual: music being rehashed from previous generations but made to sound more modern. Technology moving forward, but in turn meaning anyone can make a track, which makes it increasingly difficult to find good music.

SE: Sadly you feel this current bubble has to burst – be it the multi-million pound Vegas residencies for huge EDM DJs, or the huge amount of festivals there are all over the world every weekend. Maybe EDM will split off entirely and become a style of pop music, maybe the art of DJing will grow apart from the spectacle of the live show. No one really knows for sure, but that’s what makes it so exciting.

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