For a man running an event the scale of the International Music Summit in Ibiza, Simeon Friend saunters up to our interview dressed in a hoodie and jeans, looking more like a holidaymaker than the Ibiza power player at the helm of his creative marketing and events agency The Shop Ibiza. As he swings away on his chair, diving for his mobile phone – which rings steadily and insistently – we get the feeling we’ll be seeing many more big things from this entrepreneur yet.
What led you to Ibiza in the first place?
My business. I was doing a two-year tour as part of a promotion for Kahlua, where competition winners from around the world were selected to come to Ibiza for a week. The program ran for sixteen weeks so I basically lived here during that period. Traveling extensively then going back to the UK from these amazing locations had me questioning my choices, so I decided to settle in Ibiza. It’s as close to paradise as I’ve seen.
How has The Shop benefited from being an Ibiza-based company?
I think Ibiza has benefited from having an agency like The Shop! At the moment we’re working on the International Music Summit, which is a very important project not just for us at The Shop, but for business and marketing opportunities in Ibiza for the next five to ten years if our projections are correct. Ibiza is an amazing place to do anything, but one of the most amazingly difficult places in which to get things done. I’d say the benefit on a personal level is that I’m lucky enough to live in this beautiful place and manage to work here as well.
Given that the Winter Music Conference takes place in Miami every March, what’s so different about the IMS?
The IMS is all about getting back to business which is our conference by-line. All the partners felt that the focus of many industry conferences had diverted away from doing business and had become too heavily about partying. We’re all in this industry for the love of it but also to make a living. We wanted to create a forum where the future of our business could be debated and shaped. The conference addresses major topics that from how to monetise online to licensing tracks for commercial use in advertising, film and television.
Is there a place for local artists among all the change and development in the music business in Ibiza?
Absolutely. We’re working with Paco Cemizo from the Ibiza Council who is very conscious about championing local artists and we offer our support to all music on the island through our involvement in the Ibiza Music Cluster initiative directed by central government in Madrid.
Ibiza isn’t just about dance music, scratch the surface and there’s a rich fabric of music artists and it’s important to embrace them all. At our The Shop events we often work with Spanish guitarist, string quartets, opera singers, saxophonists, drummers and percussionists all provided by the islands music community.
So what’s it like having a corporate job in a place as un-corporate as Ibiza?
Difficult! It’s a challenge to be in the office at nine in the morning, work for a 48-hour period to execute an event and then answer phone calls at four in the morning to clients who need help getting into a nightclub!