How EDM Mogul Pete Tong Conquered the Industry

By: Kitty Stephens

Pete_TongElectronic dance music has triggered an industry gold rush—everyone wants to cash in on the global phenomenon while it’s hot. While most of us hadn’t heard much about the genre five years ago, one EDM mogul had been working hard in the industry for nearly 20 years and was setting the stage for the cataclysmic future movement. From owning his own record label, success as a producer and radio personality and becoming a true influencer in the industry, Pete Tong has shown DJs everywhere the power of patience and the importance of timing.

DJ and Music Production

According to Tong’s website, running his own record company from 1983 to 2000 made it difficult to focus on music production in the beginning of his career.

According to the BBC Radio 1 website, “as a producer he has assembled the music for movie soundtracks such as The Beach, Human Traffic and 24 Hour Party People and has produced his own material under various guises.”

As a producer he has worked on on remixes of songs by Underworld, Madonna and James Blunt and has released multiple compilation albums over the years featuring mixes from acts like Riva Starr and Felix Da Housecat.

As a DJ Tong has played at festivals around the globe for fans waving rave gloves and twirling glow sticks. His fame extends from his residency at the Ministry of Sound in London, south to EDM epicenter Ibiza where he currently resides in the summers at mega-club Pacha.

Radio Success

Tong has become a household name in the U.K. Celebrating his 20th year with the British Broadcasting Company’s Radio 1 show. According to Tong’s website, working in music media has made him a respected gatekeeper in the industry, which artists have named the “Pete Tong Push.”

Tong started DJing the radio channel’s Essential Selection show in 1991, bouncing between show times and names within his 20-year-plus reign. According to the New York Times, this year Tong expanded his music broadcast influence by signing with Clear Channel Communications in November to launch an EDM channel on iHeartRadio.

“Evolution,” will start on Monday, joining iHeartRadio’s hundreds of online stations. Its first week will be loosely structured, with Tong playing music and inviting guests. The full, around-the-clock programming schedule begins Nov. 19, with “All Gone Pete Tong,” a two-hour live show from Mr. Tong each weeknight; shows by star dance DJs like Diplo, Wolfgang Gartner and Fatboy Slim; and a rundown of the Top 100 hits on Beatport, the leading digital retailer for electronic dance music,” said the New York Times.

International Music Summit

Tong is also co-creator of the International Music Summit, celebrating its second year next spring. The event, held in Ibiza, is a dance music industry conference. Including speakers, interviews and presentations by the industry leaders, from DJs to public relations executives.

On his website he talks about the success of EDM moguls, “If we’re fortunate of one thing, it’s that we were in the right place at the right time. Without wanting to sound crass, in our own way in our own world, it was a bit like being in The Clash or The Sex Pistols around the time of punk. We all loved music before acid house, but when the rave explosion started, we were in the right place at the right time – and we made the right moves.”

This is a guest post from Kitty StephensOnce a dancer at Vegas, Kitty now writes about trends in dance and reviews music and film.