The International Dance Music Awards, or IDMAs, have been around as long as the Winter Music Conference and now span roughly 50 categories ranging from music to artists to events to gear.
Upon entering the Colony Theater in Miami Beach for the March 21 ceremony, we noticed Lee Dagger of Bimbo Jones served as the house band, playing a mix of electronic music that veered from house to a Eurodance Nik Kershaw cover to dubstep.
The first official performance of the evening was Mobius 8, who appeared to be playing from a computer and set of drum pads. Rather than use the typical screen behind him, the visuals came from a series of lasers, all bouncing off the drum pads, and black light.
Daniel Glass, of label Glassnote Records and one of the WMC founders, was the key presenter and opened with a discussion about the future of EDM. He then introduced Miami Heat DJ, DJ Irie, to warm the crowd up and present the first artist.
DJ Irie presented the first award of the night, Best Underground Dance Track, which went to Maya Jane Coles. Although this was Cole’s only win, she was nominated multiple times for 2013.
For the second award of the evening, Best Break-Through DJ, Hardwell presented the triangular-shaped trophy to Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, who both went on stage to accept. Their speech set the pattern for the evening: brief, with thanks for the fans.
Following, R3hab came on stage to present Best Music Event, which went to Tomorrowland. If you haven’t heard, and was reiterated at the ceremony, Tomorrowland’s doing their first U.S. date in 2013 – in Georgia.
Three from Smirnoff came on stage to present Smirnoff’s Best North American DJ award, which ended up going to Kaskade. The producer behind “I Remember” started off his speech with, “Wow, that’s a shocker.”
For more mainstream acts, the winner flashed on the screen behind the podium. Best Alternative/Indie Rock Dance Track, Best Latin Dance Track, Best R&B/Urban Dance Track, and Best Rap Hip Hop Dance Track went to Gotye (“Somebody That I Used to Know”), Pitbull (“International Love,” feat. Chris Brown), Rihanna (“Where Have You Been”), and Flo Rida (“Wild Ones,” feat. Sia).
Joi Cardwell came onto perform her nominated song “Love Somebody Else.” With just a curtain behind her and a spotlight, Cardwell shone solely on the power of her voice.
After Cardwell finished up, all three members of Krewella came up to the podium to present the award for Best Full Length DJ Mix. This year, it went to R3hab for Electric Daisy Carnival V.3, and the DJ predicted the trio would win in their respective category.
Representing Italy’s emerging dance music scene were Umek and Stefano Noferini, presenting the Best Remixer Award. Hardwell won and came up on stage to accept, with a brief speech.
Following, Guinevere and Chris Willis were the presenters for Best Global Music Label, which ended up going to Armada Music. Although Armin Van Buuren wasn’t able to accept just yet, label exec Maykel Piron was. This win was the first of several for the trance DJ that evening.
Proceeding, without any fanfare, was the announcement for Best American Music Label, which went to Ultra Music.
Keeping on the subject of labels, the next award for Best Music Label Promoter or Exec In-House went to Eelko van Kooten of Spinnin’ Records, who went up on stage to accept.
Barbara Tucker displayed that singers and DJs can, indeed, work together. Her energetic performance featured the Cube Guys in the booth behind her.
Once Tucker’s show-stopping performance was over, Jane and Michael M came up to present Best New Product of the Year, which went to Pioneer’s RMX-1000. David Arevalo came to accept, and rather than focusing on the fans in his acceptance speech, he directed his praise to the DJs and the brand’s developers in Japan.
From here, more gear awards went as followed: Best Headphones to Beats by Dr. Dre, Best Mixer/Controller to Pioneer’s DJM-2000nexus, Best CD Player to Pioneer’s CDJ-2000, Best Club Sound System (Manufacturer) to JBL Audio, Best Sound System (Design) to Ministry of Sound in London, Best Pro Studio Product of the Year to Apple’s Logic Pro 9, Best Keyboard or Sampler to Native Instrument’s Maschine, Best Manufacturer of the Year to Pioneer, and Best DJ Software to Virtual DJ.
Once Glass came back on stage with DJ Irie, he talked about Nile Rodgers working with Daft Punk and the guitarist’s impact on the dance music sound as a whole and proceeded to name him for a Lifetime Achievement Award. After a montage of Rodgers with collaborators and a medley of his songs, he came up on stage to accept. Although he explained that switching to dance from a classical and jazz background changed his life, he went onto speak about his sessions with Avicii for the producer’s upcoming first solo album and compared him to Herbie Hancock and Mick Jagger in the process.
Although he hadn’t accepted an award yet, Van Buuren came up, made a brief speech in which he thanked those behind WMC and the IDMAs, and then proceeded to reveal the winner of Best Break-Through Artist (Group). Per R3hab’s predictions, Krewella received the award.
Then, the Best Break-Through Artist (Solo) was revealed to be Zedd.
Alexis Jordan, the next performer, displayed the newer generation of house singers. With two songs, Jordan effortlessly blended pop style with classic house vocals.
As a partial promotional tool, America’s Next Top Model Dominique Reighard presented the award for Best Promo Subscription Service/Music Pool, which went to Promo Only. In the process, Rayard revealed she is attempting a dance music career with new single “On Top of the World.”
Shifting over to entertainment options, the next award for Best Radio Station (Global) went to BBC Radio 1, and Best Terrestrial Radio Station (U.S.) to WKTU 103.5 in New York.
The next award, for Best Independent Music Promotion/Marketing went to Cary Vance of Promo Only Promotions. And, for other quick announcements: Best Compilation went to Ultra 2012, Best Music Media Resource to DJ Mag, Best Music App to Soundcloud, and Best Radio Mix Show DJ to Armin Van Buuren.
The two South African DJs present at the Winter Music Conference then presented Best Indie Dance Track, which went to Scandal for “Just Let Me Dance (Maxxi Sound System Remix),” with just Scandal coming up on stage.
Following, for more quick awards, Best Music Video went to Swedish House Mafia for “Don’t You Worry Child” and Best Podcast for Van Buuren’s A State of Trance.
The next presenters were JES and Michael Woods for Best Producer. Following the pattern of the night, Van Buuren was selected out of a group that included Afrojack, David Guetta, Diplo, Kaskade, Skrillex, Swedish House Mafia, and Zedd.
For awards concerning purchasing music, Best Music Retailer went to iTunes, while Best Dance Music Specialty Retailer to Beatport.
Compared to the other performers on the bill that night, the singer simply known as Jane, who offered the next live performance, fell flat. Yes, she had a drummer backing her up, but her voice became lost in the percussion, and her stage presence seemed more about the visual elements than actual singing quality.
Julissa Veloz and George Hess followed, presenting the award for Best House/Garage/Deep House Track. Maceo Plex and Jon Dasilva won for track “Love Somebody Else,” feat. Joi Cardwell. The producer and singer came on stage to accept the award. Even though they worked on the track together, it was revealed, the IDMAs was the first time they all met face to face.
After this, the awards for certain subgenres went off in rapid succession: Best Commercial/Pop Dance Track to Calvin Harris (“Sweet Nothing”), Best Electro/Tech House Track to Swedish House Mafia (“Don’t You Worry Child”), Best Trance Track to Van Buuren (“J’ai Envie De Toi”), Best Progressive Track to Deadmau5 (“The Veldt”), Best Dubstep/DNB/Jungle Track to Skrillex (Bangarang”), and Best Chillout/Lounge Track to Skrillex and Kaskade (for collaboration “Lick It”).
Pretty Poison singer Jade Starling and Dagger presented Best Global Club, which was awarded to Space Ibiza. In the process, Starling revealed she has a new album, called Captive, and single “Insomniac.”
From here, Best U.S. Club went to Space Miami, Best Event Promoter to Insomniac, Best Artist (Group) to Swedish House Mafia, Best European DJ to Hardwell, and Best Artist (Solo) to Avicii.
For the final award of the night, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike presented Best Global DJ, which, somewhat likely considering the evening, went to Van Buuren.
What do you think about the choices? Are there any other DJs, songs, gear, or clubs that would have been better contenders?