Miami Music Week is one of the busiest times of the year for dance music promoters – the busiest if you are based in Miami. Promoters have to book a full week of shows that provide unique value with some of the world’s best. This must be done when there is loads of competition from other brands and prices are high. Seven Lines Group is a Miami-based promoter that is looking to make the most of the week with 11 total parties featuring brands like Ants, Ovum, Cocoon, MK’s Area 10 and more.
For our latest Industry Insider, we chat with Seven Lines Group Director Ubi Hernandez about how he got into the business and his growth as a promoter, how to manage and book Miami Music Week, a promoter's role in keeping venue's alive, battling radius clauses and more.
Read on for the interview and see their parties here.
How many people are on your team? How do manage them all?
Our team is composed of four members, which really gives us the luxury for now to manage ourselves as we all carry multiple roles and there’s always transparency throughout the stages of our event prep.
What is the strangest request an artist has asked of you?
The strangest request we’ve ever received had to be from Jesse Perez, he requested a lottery scratch off ticket. Jesse is one of a kind!
What is your philosophy when it comes to booking? Do you feel you need to balance genres and genders?
When it comes to bookings I feel you should try to keep it as fresh as possible and take chances here and there. There is strategy though and this is a business at the end of the day so all in all study your market and up and coming artists. When it comes to balancing genres and genders I do believe there should be some balance but good music and artistry comes first. I will not break my integrity just because a quota must be met though.
How far out do you book regular club shows verses big festival events?
We usually book 3-6 months out. For Miami Music Week events we do start a little earlier though. Those conversations usually either start immediately after Music Week or during ADE in October for smaller events of the week.
How do you balance, booking fees, production and the need to have reasonable ticket pricing?
We try to book as smart as possible but as artists grow so do their fees. We always try to bring the best production possible while keeping tickets at a fair price.
The fans shouldn’t have to suffer with bad production just because you ended up paying a lot for a DJ or went overboard on production. It’s our job to keep those in check leading in so that the fans experience is always top notch.
What is your advice for someone who wants to throw events?
Make sure you build a solid team of people you trust. Be fair and be loyal, to yourself and those around you. Build your brand slowly, at a pace that is reasonable for you. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
How did you get into the dance music business?
I started off as a manager to a couple artists, which led to a more deep involvement in the dance music business. After getting my feet wet in management and seeing what it takes to help grow a successful artist and brand I started looking into the A&R side of things and helping out a few other names and labels as they pushed to become more household names.
Then in 2015, I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time as a dance music station was about to open their doors in Miami - it was merely just four of us in a office space no bigger than a college dorm room probably each doing the job of 5 people each. It was no easy task but over a three year period we went from 1,000 listeners to over 250,000 listeners on FM radio in the #11 market in the United States and over 300,000 listeners online through our streaming application all while hosting the biggest names and labels in dance music and capturing the finely tuned ears of the Miami dance music aficionados.
What have been some of your favorite shows you have done?
I’d have to say our BPM Festival debut in 2016 which was a free show under our Descend Records label showcase which featured Pan Pot, Carlo Lio, ALX, Oscar L, Carabetta & Doons and some others. Another show we truly enjoyed was our Descend Pool party during MMW 2018 at The National Hotel as we brought over Amelie Lens for her Miami debut alongside Art Department, Victor Calderone and others.
What are some of the biggest challenges of booking in Miami? How do you battle radius clauses?
Well, competition is tough in Miami as we have several big players in town, but there are also enough music savvy patrons to go around which all support good bookings and local residents. When it comes to radius clauses it just becomes a game of creativity and seeing how far you can use the envelope without getting the artist or yourself in trouble. I try to stay away from those bookings but sometimes the opportunities just dictate them.
Who are a few artists you would like to book, but have not been able to?
We definitely are looking to book Charlotte De Witte, Apex Twin, and some other big names but those are tough and require the perfect set of circumstances. I think we’ll pull it off soon though.
How do you choose venues?
We like to look at several factors but most importantly accessibility and that it gives us the right set of circumstances for us to grow our night into.
Do you think promoters have a role to play in keeping venues open and fighting the various forces that force them to shut down?
I think we play a crucial role in keeping venues open through our bookings, creativity and setup. Sometimes it’s up to us to introduce new acts to our locals and guide them into new sounds which are resonating throughout the world. A lot of us aren’t as fortunate to travel and experience these wonderful artists that for whatever reason haven’t gotten a chance to play regionally or in your city. We should keep everyone involved in making a night successful in mind - that way we all win in the long run.