Your mates have never heard it before. Shazam can’t track it down. And there’s no way you’re getting anywhere near the booth to have a gander at the tune that’s currently being played. What do you do? Stick a voice note / description / video clip in The Identification Of Music Group (IOMG) on Facebook and have it ID’d in seconds, that’s what.
London-based Robbie Murch now owns and runs the group after his best friend Dan Rothwell set it up in May 2015 as a resource for IDing music that was out of reach of apps like Shazam. Since then the group has amassed 100,000 passionate members who help each other find music and embody IOMG’s ethos of discovery and community.
If you’re into digging then you’ll know all about IOMG. It’s changed the way we’re introduced to new music in 2018 and because of that, Robbie has been identified as this year’s Visionary by Mixmag and IMS.
“Each year IMS x Mixmag Visionaries discovers the best emerging talent, true disruptors who go on to shape our industry and this year is no exception,” said IMS founder Ben Turner. “With the Identification of Music Group Robbie has managed to not only bring together a huge group of passionate music fans but also to deeply engage with them, in turn creating a new way for artists to approach music promotion and breaking new tracks. IMS and our partners look forward to working with Robbie to bring his vision to life and to help him realise the full potential of the Identification of Music Group brand.”
Below, we introduce the 24-year-old ahead of his appearance at IMS on Wednesday as part of Mixmag’s 5 under 25 panel discussion.
How is the IOMG pushing dance music forward?
It's pushing things forward because artists and labels are using it in innovative ways to push their own brands forward. You see DJs asking for track IDs, you see DJs answering track IDs. So we’re pushing forward the social media conversations and bringing it closer to the fans in that sense.
We've got our ear close to the underground more than anywhere else because we're hearing what the fans are listening to. It’s like a tastemaker chart because we can see the top tracks in demand. So we can see what’s going on with artists from all over the world in the group.
How has the group changed dance music for the better?
I think it's changed dance music for the better because, at the end of the day, it's an underground IDing service and Shazam can't do that. So, if you've got some rare disco record from the 70s, or you've got some release from China, it enables fans to ID quicker than you'd be able to on any other platform. You go to a record shop and start singing the tune, that was the old-skool way. This is the new digital way. It's peer-to-peer interactions between music fans.
People are identifying the music in the clubs and then posting it the next morning when they wake up. So we find out the tracks which are hottest first and I don't want to always find out what those tracks are via video but the majority is through video, and we really appreciate the tracks which are coming through someone playing out of their bedroom or something. But I think we've just got a very keen ear to what's currently sounding good among the [dance music] community.
When people are posting videos from [the Bassiana protests in] Georgia, that’s cool because we’re seeing firsthand live reaction from the political movement [that’s rooted in dance music] and that's only going to happen on a platform like ours. There was a dude writing a report for us while he was there and it was quite moving that people were looking toward our group to document this moment.
Some people might think "it's just an FB group." How would you reply to that?
It’s a Facebook group at the moment, but we are expanding into a website, events and a record label – we're trying to be tastemakers because we've got so much content coming with great music. And [an audience of] a shit ton of heads – there are 95,000 people [in the group] who just really fuck with the music basically. So, we're trying to use that to better the dance music community. And create something new as [a platform] which takes everything from the grassroots and blows it up in an organic way.
There are three pillars which I've given to the group: discovery, where you can discover new tracks, old and new. The second is track IDs, that's the bread and butter of the group. And the third one is community. We're trying to push something positive, in terms of community and charity as well.
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