The downfall of SFX Entertainment, the company responsible for several electronic events, one of which is TomorrowWorld, is setting back electronic music by margins
In the last several weeks, the world of electronic music hasn’t been dominated by upcoming lineup announcements and new releases, but by the very visible economic insurgency faced by SFX Entertainment. The company that erstwhile brought to fore several much loved electronic music events is in the midst of an upheaval that is known to the most mundane EDM fan. So conspicuous is the breakdown of the company, that even electronic music’s most popular jester, DeadMau5 couldn’t resist sinking his teeth into it.
Recently, when the king of productions, and satire, alike, DeadMau5 chanced upon founder Robert F.X. Sillerman quote about not knowing EDM music, he could not stop himself from making a not so subtle dig at the company, offering to buy it. All in jest, of course. He did reiterate to The Sherp, that if he ever did have the money, he’d book talent, and not romp up finances as SFX had done.
It seems slightly amusing that an entrepreneur in his mid-60’s ventured into an industry he knew little about, with the purpose of cashing in on its success, and really did shake up its finances hard.
What remains a cause of concern is how this collapse could be preempted by anyone with a keen eye on the music industry.
The last decade has seen an unprecedented growth in the electronic dance music industry. EDM is now not just a veritable genre of the music industry, but one that has flipped the tides of the business proving to be profitable like no industry before. This proved a good incentive for one entrepreneur Robert F.X. Sillerman who founded the now-dying SFX entertainment to invest in this phenomena. He had built, what he thought would be, an untouchable empire that would slowly rise to the top. Or so one did believe.
Since its inception, the company has witnessed steady decline in power, the most discernible plunge being the 2013 IPO when the company failed to unable to deliver the profits it had promised to investors. With investors bailing out, the company began to burn through its cash, until last year’s debacle, which almost did seal the deal for the company’s end. With the absolute washout that TomorrowWorld was, coupled with the cancellation of the festival and the million lawsuits faced by SFX, the stock of the company dove to about 11 cents a share, chronicling a saga of a catastrophe as one has ever known.
Electronic dance music existed in this upward spiral that has been, unceremoniously, brought down by many leagues due to SFX’s incompetence, especially in its leadership. It wasn’t surprising, therefore, to watch SFX file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It wasn’t astonishing either, when Tomorrowland came out to mull over the uncertainty of TomorrowWorld’s return. But it is surely disappointing to the many thousands of fans who had grown to love the festival and everything they had received from it. It is most disappointing, also, to the music industry which is bearing the hit carrying many wounds to mind.
When a $9 billion company managed to plunge $300 million in debt, it definitely is a time to show concern.
For organising a music festival is no insured experience. The risks that come with it are insurmountable. The least that can be done is have the passion and the will to get it right, and show the remorse should things fail. Something SFX has surely lacked. The beating the company bears isn’t its alone, and the lack of this conscience is what is troubling. In the wake of the several controversies surrounding the festival, we do hope it figures out a way out of this, while preserving the passion every fan holds towards it.
Hopefully, the industry only finds a way up, from here on.
P. S. This is who DeadMau5 will curate, if you’re interested to know.