December 20, 2018

Behind the scenes at SUMMUS

When I first heard about SUMMUS, I thought it was a misspelling of ‘zumos’ (juices, in Spanish), but as we started to get ready for the 3rd biennial event, it dawned on me that SUMMUS goes a step beyond its definition. More than a gathering place for forward-thinking experts, the event proved to be a good primer on the industry’s nuts and bolts, as well as the perfect place to simply be our nerdy, music-loving selves.     

Before I came to BMAT, SUMMUS had always been a Latinism for me, or, depending on how those fruity drinks are pronounced in certain parts of Spain, a strange regionalism. And to be honest, after hearing it mentioned at the office several times, I couldn’t understand what it was until we finally got to toast its great success.

The point of SUMMUS was to bring together the brightest of minds in the music industry, discuss the role of technology, and ponder where the industry’s tailwinds shall take us in the coming years. If your organization plays a key role in our changing ecosystem, then you probably attended the event a few weeks ago. And if you didn’t come, then you probably wish you did. As I experienced it, not only did the summit inform and educate but it also helped create lasting bonds with new friends while reviving old ones.

SUMMUS 2018

The making of SUMMUS

By March, we were facing 120 empty seats and wondering whether we would be able to generate enough interest to fill them. But with creative juices flowing and the collective IQs of our HQ’s personnel, a good range of topics was thought up and aligned with the industry’s current problems. Such topics were music used in commercials, the copyright cycle, the potential role of blockchain, and conflict resolution.

All of BMAT’s engineers went into public relations mode. Some focussed on invitations, others on venue management, while others had to summon their inner salesperson to secure important keynote speakers. With luck on our side, we managed to score a fantastic hall by the sea. By the time the event started, invitations were sent out, catering organized, and of course, we made sure there were enough drinks cooling in the fridge. We dusted off our shoes and some of us rocker/computer geeks, our leather vests, too.

What happens at SUMMUS stays at SUMMUS 

As the saying goes, ‘what happens at SUMMUS, stays at SUMMUS.’ With that in mind, the event started with 3 very basic principles:

  • Untwitter yourself – no hard stuff is allowed, everyone should avoid harsh critique and respect all speakers.
  • Dealers free – the summit is a place to learn, likewise the chance to sober up from making sales pitches all the time.
  • Share  – we encourage everyone to be as open as they can, no media is invited to the event, everything stays between friends.

The knowledge of the industry flooded the hall allowing for questions to arise with a natural spontaneity. With enough passion and a good mix of professionals with varying backgrounds, the range of topics broached would inevitably lead to heated debates. Amidst all this, the ground truth – the constant F for friendship and P for privacy – was well respected.

SUMMUS panel

At the end of the day, the 3rd biennial SUMMUS was hardly a one-hit wonder. It was a great time to remember just how dynamic and evolving our industry is, how broad its perspectives and possibilities. We brought together producers, CMOs, artists, and labels. We reunited with old friends, made new ones, and if that wasn’t enough, we enjoyed a couple of days talking about what we love the most: music and technology.

Written by Brais, Head of Comms


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