Ministry of Sound
|Headquarters||London, England, United Kingdom|
|Revenue||$100 Million (2013)|
Ministry of Sound started out as a nightclub in London, but has since diversified into a multimedia entertainment business. In addition to the nightclub, it is an independent record label and worldwide events brand with a radio station and other media outlets.
History of the nightclub
Ministry of Sound began as the brainchild 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, 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."
Berkmann was introduced to James Palumbo, who was working in property finance at the time, by Humphrey Waterhouse to realise the concept. The site, a disused bus garage, was located in Elephant & Castle in Southwark, London. The club opened on 21 September 1991.
With opening sets from American house DJs such as Larry Levan, David Morales, Roger Sanchez and Tony Humphries, Ministry of Sound quickly grew in popularity as a clubbing venue. It now attracts around 300,000 clubbers per year and has hosted sets from popular DJs including: Tiesto, David Guetta, Sasha, Pete Tong and Armin Van Buuren. The nightclub was recently ranked seventh in the 2013 DJ Magazine top 100 clubs poll and has won the IDMA ‘World’s Best Sound System’ award four years in a row.
Ministry of Sound is owned by Ministry of Sound Group Limited, which also owns the Hed Kandi music and events brand. James Palumbo is Chairman of the Group. In 2008, he handed over the day-to-day running of the business to current Chief Executive Officer Lohan Presencer.
Eileen House redevelopment
Ministry of Sound’s existence has been threatened on a number of occasions by nearby redevelopment in Elephant & Castle. 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 Mayor of London Boris Johnson at City Hall in November 2013. 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 jeopardising the club’s future.
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, 3 top 10s, 2 top 20s, 2 gold albums and 1 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. ‘If You Wait’ was also named iTunes ‘Album of the Year 2013’ 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 ‘Get Up (Rattle)’, Duke Dumont Feat. A*M*E ‘Need U (100%)’ and Storm Queen ‘Look Right Through’. The label has had 18 UK no.1 records since its inception.
The Compilations business was first established in 1993 with the release of Sessions Volume One, a compilation album of dance music mixed by Tony Humphries. The album was a commercial success, paving the way for a business which has now sold more than 55 million compilation albums worldwide.
In 2012, MistaJam (of BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra) founded an imprint of Ministry of Sound, entitled Speakerbox. The label has released music from Liam Bailey, Jacob Plant, Majestic, Micky Slim, Apexape, Chris Lorenzo, DECiBEL, DJ Swerve vs. OGz and BassBoy. It was responsible for releasing Secondcity's song "I Wanna Feel", which topped the UK Singles Chart, and the follow-up single "What Can I Do?".
Ministry of Sound and its subsidiary brand Hed Kandi host approximately 1,500 international events annually across the world.
SubBass Academy of Electronic Music have hosted monthly club nights in The Loft at Ministry of Sound's Gallery for the last 10 years. SubBass tutors including Ministry of Sound regulars Graeme Lloyd and D. Ramirez often play alongside accomplished student DJs who have completed SubBass DJ courses.
Ministry of Sound Radio is an online only service broadcasting 24-hours a day from Ministry of Sound’s offices adjacent to the nightclub. The station’s output is solely focused on dance music and its schedule is made up of non-stop music throughout the day and specialist content in the evening with weekly sets from popular international DJs. Each weekend Ministry of Sound Radio exclusively streams sets live from the nightclub. It also produces several syndicated radio shows broadcast on radio stations all over the world.
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- My first million - James Palumbo
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- "DJ Courses". SubBass Academy of Electronic Music. 2012-07-11. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
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- Ministry of Sound
- Interview With Ministry Of Sound 25/02/10- Hit The Floor Magazine
- Ministry of Sound Nightclub Review