Ministry of Sound

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Coordinates: 51°29′52″N 0°6′0″W / 51.49778°N 0.10000°W / 51.49778; -0.10000

Ministry of Sound Group
Limited Company
IndustryNightclub
Music
Entertainment
Events
Lifestyle
Private Members Club
Founded1991; 27 years ago (1991)
Headquarters103 Gaunt Street, London SE1 6DP, United Kingdom
Key people
James Palumbo (Founder)
Lohan Presencer (Chairman)
Websiteministryofsound.com

Ministry of Sound Group is a multimedia entertainment business based in London with a nightclub, shared workspace and private members club, worldwide events operation, music publishing business and fitness studio.

James Palumbo is the co-founder and former Chairman and CEO of the Group.[1] He handed over the day-to-day running of the business to Lohan Presencer in 2008. In 2018, Presencer became chairman.

Nightclub[edit]

The Box (main room) at Ministry of Sound
The Box (main room) at Ministry of Sound

Ministry of Sound began as the idea of Justin Berkmann. Inspired by New York’s Paradise Garage, Berkmann set out to create London’s first club devoted to the American house music scenes of 1980s New York City, Newark (which centered around the sets at the Club Zanzibar), Chicago and Detroit. As opposed to striking a balance between the typical hallmarks of a live music venue, Ministry of Sound was conceived as an arena purely dedicated to sound. Berkmann stated: "My concept for Ministry was purely this: 100% sound system first, lights second, design third (in that order); the reverse of everyone else’s idea."[2]

Berkmann was introduced to James Palumbo, who was working in property finance at the time, by Humphrey Waterhouse to realise the concept.[3] The site, a disused bus garage,[1] is located in Elephant & Castle in Southwark, London. The club opened on 21 September 1991 and has remained in this location since.

With opening sets from American house DJs Larry Levan, David Morales, Roger Sanchez and Tony Humphries, Ministry of Sound grew as a clubbing venue. It now attracts around 300,000 clubbers per year[1] and has hosted sets from popular DJs including: Adam Beyer, DJ Harvey, Dixon, Marshmello and Pete Tong. It has won the IDMA ‘World’s Best Sound System’ award four years in a row - every year they ran the category.[4]

As a venue, Ministry of Sound in London operates three weekly club nights. Fridays feature Lock n Load brand The Gallery which are primarily trance music, whilst Saturdays host a number of club nights which are primarily house music. In 2016, these included Defected, Glitterbox, Rinse FM, Hospitality and Together. On Tuesday the club hosts a student session called Milkshake, established in 2002.

Threat of closure[edit]

Dolby Atmos in action at Ministry of Sound
Dolby Atmos in action at Ministry of Sound

Ministry of Sound's existence has been threatened on a number of occasions by nearby redevelopment in Elephant & Castle.[5] The most notable concerned the redevelopment of Eileen House, a tower block opposite the nightclub's entrance. From 2009 to 2014, Ministry of Sound fought various public campaigns to save the club from the threat of closure. These culminated in a hearing before then-Mayor of London Boris Johnson at City Hall in November 2013.[6] On 19 December 2013, a landmark legal deal was agreed between Ministry of Sound and the developer Oakmayne to enable Eileen House to be redeveloped without jeopardizing the club's future.[7]

Dolby Atmos[edit]

In 2016, Ministry of Sound partnered with Dolby Laboratories to bring surround sound Dolby Atmos to the nightclub, a first in the industry.[8] The Box, Ministry of Sound's main room, now boasts a 64-speaker, 22-channel sound system, allowing the artists to control where certain sounds are sent across the space.[9]

The Ministry[edit]

Bar render at The Ministry, 79 Borough Road
Bar render at The Ministry, 79 Borough Road

The Ministry is a new members club and shared workspace for creative businesses, which opened in 2018 in London. The first building at Borough Road will include four floors of tailored private offices and shared working areas, meeting spaces, soundproof studios, an immersive tech suite, a full-service restaurant, a bar 70 feet in length, an outdoor terrace, a 40-seater cinema and an events space with a diverse events programme.[10]

Tours[edit]

Under its Ministry of Sound and Hed Kandi brands, the business hosts approximately 500 international tour events annually across the world. In 2017, the brand featured as part of the stage line-up at festivals including The Ark (cruise ship),[11] Adria Summer Festival and Ultra Europe.

Fitness[edit]

Busy fitness class at The Arches
Busy fitness class at Ministry of Sound Fitness

The fitness studio (previously the club's back-of-house vault where the alcohol was stored) opened in February 2017.[12] The concept takes a club-style sound system and lighting rig and pairs it with a bespoke, instructor-led high intensity interval workout. Classes run from Monday to Sunday, and an on-site bar offers a range of drinks from protein shakes to alcoholic cocktails.[13]

Music publishing[edit]

The music publishing business was established in 2015. It is independent of the record label that was acquired by Sony Music, and is headed up by Ben Bodie.[14] The current roster of artists includes Mura Masa, Bonzai, Powell, Miamigo, KDA, John Calvert and Louisa Johnson.

Record label[edit]

Ownership[edit]

On 10 August 2016, it was announced that Ministry of Sound's A&R and compilations recorded music business had been acquired by Sony Music.[2] Rights to all recordings under the Ministry of Sound name are now held by Sony, with the remaining Ministry of Sound businesses retained within the original group.

Ministry of Sound is an independent record label split into two divisions: Artist & Repertoire and Compilations.

Artist repertoire[edit]

The Artist & Repertoire division was established in the early 1990s with releases on a ‘Sound of Ministry’ label imprint. Sound of Ministry was superseded by in-house labels Open, Data, Substance, Smoove and Rulin’, which between them released a string of UK and international chart hits.

In 2009, the artist labels were consolidated under ‘Ministry of Sound Recordings’. The first artist signed was Example, who achieved two UK number 1 records, three top 10s, two top 20s, two gold albums and one platinum number 1 selling album, Playing In The Shadows. Other notable label signings include Wretch 32, DJ Fresh and, more recently, London Grammar, whose debut album If You Wait reached platinum sales status in the UK, gold status in France and recently hit number 1 on the iTunes Album Chart in Australia. In 2014, London Grammar were nominated for ‘British Breakthrough Act’ at the BRIT Awards.[15] If You Wait was also named iTunes ‘Album of the Year 2013’[16] The artist label also continue to release dance singles, achieving three number 1 records in the UK in 2013 with Bingo Players feat. Far East Movement's "Get Up (Rattle)",[17] Duke Dumont feat. A*M*E's "Need U (100%)"[18] and Storm Queen's "Look Right Through".[19] The label has had 21 UK No. 1 records since its inception.

Compilations[edit]

The Compilations business was first established in 1993 with the release of Sessions Volume One,[20] a compilation album of dance music mixed by Tony Humphries. The album was a commercial success. The business has now sold more than 55 million compilation albums worldwide.[1]

Radio show[edit]

Since 17 March 2016, Ministry of Sound presents the commercial-free #CapitalWeekender on radio network Capital each Friday and Saturday nights from 10 pm to 6 am. The team of involving DJs include: Mike Wooller, Joe Bennett, Simon Hardy, Nathan C, Ricky Simmonds and JustGeo. Sarah Story, Capital Liverpool's drivetime presenter, is the only person talking on the air, and her shift runs from 10 pm to 2 am (officially, formerly as fill-in for Goldierocks). After this, the show goes automated-like for 4 hours, but could be the whole 8 hours when she is unavailable.

The show reaches about 8 million listeners nationwide.

Capital XTRA also goes ad-free at this timeslot since the launch of Capital Weekender (including: Friday: 10 pm – 1 am: Mike Panteli, 1 am – 6 am: "Urban & Old Skool"; Saturday: 10 pm – 11 pm: Tim Westwood, 11 pm – 1 am: Abrantee Boateng; 1 am – 6 am: "Urban & Old Skool").

It also presents the clubbers guide from 4 pm to 7 pm on Capital Xtra.

Ministry of Sound Radio was an online only service broadcasting 24-hours a day from Ministry of Sound's offices adjacent to the nightclub.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "James Palumbo I'm going to fight for my right to party". Evening Standard. 2013-11-14. Retrieved 2014-02-20.
  2. ^ Brewster, B. and Broughton F. (1998). The Manual: The who, the where, the why of clubland. Headline Book Publishing. pp.95
  3. ^ "'We debated the name. One idea that got dropped was The Mad Axeman on". 4 May 1996.
  4. ^ "IDMA 2013 Winners". WinterMusicConference. 2014-01-01. Retrieved 2014-02-20.
  5. ^ "Boris intervenes in Elephant & Castle Ministry of Sound skyscraper battle". London SE1. 2011-12-02. Retrieved 2014-02-20.
  6. ^ "Boris delays Eileen House Ministry of Sound decision for a month". London SE1. 2013-11-20. Retrieved 2014-02-20.
  7. ^ "Ministry Of Sound Club Saved From Destruction". TranceFixxed. 2014-01-11. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
  8. ^ Parsons, Jeff (2016-05-24). "Ministry of Sound's epic Dolby Atmos system has DJs lining up to play with it". mirror. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  9. ^ "Ministry of Sound is getting a 22-channel soundsystem". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. 2015-12-03. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  10. ^ "Ministry of Sound to open private members club in Southwark". Evening Standard. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  11. ^ "Elrow and Ministry of Sound to go on The Ark party cruise". Mixmag. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  12. ^ "Ministry of Sound has opened a fitness studio". Time Out London. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  13. ^ "Ministry of Sound opens central London gym". Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  14. ^ "Ben Bodie hired to head up new Ministry Of Sound publisher | Complete Music Update". www.completemusicupdate.com. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  15. ^ "British Breakthrough: The Story of London Grammar". Brit Awards Ltd. 19 February 2014. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  16. ^ "London Grammar claim itunes album of the year 2013". MusicWeek. 2013-12-17. Retrieved 2014-02-20.
  17. ^ "Bingo Players, Far East Movement storm to No.1". Digital Spy. 2013-01-27. Retrieved 2014-02-26.
  18. ^ "Duke Dumont, A*M*E win first number one single with 'Need U (100%)". Digital Spy. 2013-04-07. Retrieved 2014-02-26.
  19. ^ "Storm Queen scores UK number one single with 'Look Right Through'". Digital Spy. 2013-11-10. Retrieved 2014-02-26.
  20. ^ "Sessions Volume One". Discogs. 2014-01-01. Retrieved 2014-02-20.
  21. ^ "Ministry of Sound Radio is No More". Sumo Radio.

External links[edit]