Part of Electronic Music Conference‘s 2018 focus has been the asian music market. A massive part of this market was explored yesterday in an EMC panel featuring four of Bali’s night time industry heavyweights.

Listen Up Asia’s Ryan Wilson facilitated the conversation between the founder of Supermodified Agency Rob Harker, For The Love’s Ben Tucker, and FMLY Asia’s Marc Roberts. Over an hour the group explored how Bali’s party and club industry is evolving and why it is becoming one of the biggest party destinations in the world.

In recent years Bali has seen more venues and events opening than ever before. With over 1.4 million Australians visiting the island each year, the island has fast become a place of opportunity for artists and performers as well as event producers.

“It’s got a little bit of everything. That’s why we’re seeing a lot more people relocating there permanently.” says Harker. Having been based there for over a decade, Harker has seen the changes in Bali as it has evolved into a world class destination.

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The panel agrees that it can be more difficult now for an emerging performer to establish themselves on the island. “I rocked up with a box of records and just went to clubs and bars to find gigs.” Wilson says of his time in Ibiza. Now, as the corruption and mafia control of the island lessens, you have to go through the official channels.

“You need the work permit now. Most venues won’t hire you if you don’t have it. Outside of that you’ve just got to build connections.” Roberts’ statement was echoed by the rest of the panel. Tucker explained that the easiest way to get involved in the community was to establish relationships with venues.

“It’s a lot easier to collaborate with a venue and build that relationship” says Tucker. His company For The Love has recently expanded into the exploding Bali market, “We saw an opportunity to introduce Australian artists into the culture there. We had a point of difference.”

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As Bali’s nightlife and club culture booms, it also means these artists have opportunities to expand into other asian markets. This is made easier by the fact that Bali has such a central location, it also makes it a lot easier to run a business from there.

“You’re never more than one flight away from anywhere really” says Harker. Roberts agreed, “The only thing that’s missing is a direct flight to the US, but that’s coming apparently.” The ease of access to the different global market makes it the ideal base for many DJs and artists, especially when there are so many different venues to play at as well.

Over the next 18 months Sky Garden is expanding their Bali empire with three new venues across the island.  With such a wide variety of venues and opportunities, it’s no wonder artists and event producers are flocking there.

As comparisons to Ibiza are being more and more consistently thrown at the venue, the panel was quick to point out how the two places are different. “Well obviously the crowds in Bali are a lot more alcohol-fuelled. The drugs are still there but it’s a lot quieter in that respect,” Harker told the audience.

“Ibiza also has that mythical history. Bali doesn’t quite have that just yet.” added Roberts. Whilst Bali lacks the history of parties and music that Ibiza does, it’s certainly looking like it will have a very rich history to look back on if it keeps evolving as it is.

Electronic Music Conference 2018 took place over two days this week and saw keynote speeches from Sasha and Hayden James as well as panels on nightlife, music, and expanding into the Asian music market. Check out their day 1 wrap video below.

Watch: EMC 2018 day 1 wrap