Our good friends at EDMSnob recently contacted us with a completed investigative report they leaked on American live music icon and electronic dance music powerhouse Insomniac, the events company behind internationally recognised events such as Electric Daisy Carnival, not to mention around 600 other concerts, festivals and massives (no longer called ‘raves’ after the police introduced the Rave Act) throughout The States.
Now to express the importance of Insomniac, EDMSnob summed it up very nicely: “If you want to be somebody in the world of EDM, all roads lead through Insomniac”. The companies CEO is one Pasquale Rotella, who spent much of the 90s lugging speaker cabs to abstract locations in the desert, and spent much of 2012 in and out of court rooms following a guilty verdict in the well-publicized LA Coliseum scandal – wherein Rotella was found guilty of offering officials bribes. After posting a cheeky 2.625-million bond, he wiped his hands clean and walked on.
It’s about then that things got messy within the company. According to a source of Snob, referred to only as George*, an internal stink was kicked up resulting in a civil war between Rotella and fellow Insomniac senior James D. Estopinal, Jr. aka Disco Donnie. The source stated: “You know Donnie, right? Disco Donnie? They had a massive falling out. Donnie is going his own way and he’s taking over”.
Donnie has apparently wooed over many of Insomniac’s partners despite still being listed on the website. Even many local production companies from California have gone from listing their events booked through Insomniac to a new booking company, registered as Disco Donnie Presents, almost with in 24 hours.
When asked for his thoughts on the rumours, Donnie kinda said it all by not saying anything, responding “No Comment..:)”
Another source close to Insomniac known only as Frank*, who owns a local production company, has confessed: “You think they have their shit together? They don’t, they really don’t. All they do is screw and take advantage of their local promoters. They make the money and the locals do all the work. So are they good at doing that? Yeah, sure.”
As EDMSnob has discovered, this has left Insomniac with few legs to stand on. With much smaller coffers, the company will no longer be able to compete in the manner they previously did – using suspected bully tactics. Robert* a CEO for a major EDM corporation, has explained how the booking process for Insomniac worked previously:
“The way it works is you tour these artists all over the place, and it drives down the price for each stop. You might make a little money on the shows but you get the brand out there to all these markets, then you kill it on the festivals because you can say, ‘Hey man I gave you all this money and exposure for these shows, you have to give me a good price so I can make my money now that I’ve made you big’, and when you can say that to an artist, you have him by the balls. Then people will pay a ton because you have all these great artists there, and you’ve gotten a discount on all of them. A few of those a year and you’re set, man.”
So, without that power, Insomniac will be struggling to book any buzzworthy talent at all. Having been involved with 653 events, the collapse of the company would see a massive hole in the American EDM live scene, which begs the question: without the regular income of stateside festivals and similar events, how will many of our favourite EDM artists, labels and promoters cough up the cash to tour here?