Red Bull Music Academy

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The Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA) is a world-traveling series of music workshops and festivals, founded in 1998 by Red Bull. [1] The main five-week event is held in a different city each year. The public portion of its program is a festival of concerts, art installations, club nights and lectures by influential figures in contemporary music. [2] The other part of the program is by invitation only, held in a building which has been custom-fitted with a large recording studio, a lecture hall, a radio booth and between eight and twelve bedroom-sized studios. [3] There, 60 up and coming producers, singers, sound artists, DJs and musicians from around the world learn from and collaborate with top industry professionals. [4]

Red Bull Energy drink sold by Austrian company Red Bull GmbH

Red Bull is an energy drink sold by Red Bull GmbH, an Austrian company created in 1987. Red Bull has the highest market share of any energy drink in the world, with 6.790 billion cans sold in a year.


Year-round, the Red Bull Music Academy maintains an online magazine and lecture video archive. The Academy hosts additional music workshops and club nights and curates stages at festivals in around 60 countries worldwide.


The Academy was initiated in 1998 in Berlin [5] and has taken place annually in subsequent years in Toronto, London, São Paulo, Seattle, Cape Town, Rome, London, Melbourne, New York, Madrid, Barcelona,Tokyo, Paris, Montréal and Dublin. While the first few editions saw a greater emphasis on DJ culture, the program and recording facilities now accommodate all genres and aspects of the musical spectrum. [6]

Berlin Capital of Germany

Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with its capital, Potsdam. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.

Prospective applicants to the Academy must prepare a demo CD of their work, be it original productions, songs or a DJ set, along with a completed questionnaire, and mail it to a Red Bull Music Academy office in Cologne, Germany. From there, each application is taken into consideration, with no quota on country or musical genre. From these applications, 60 are selected and broken down into two groups of 30. [7] Each group of 30 is flown in to the location of the respective year's event for one of two fortnightly "terms". In 2012, the Academy received over 4000 applications to take part in the 2013 New York City edition. [8]

Cologne city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Cologne is the largest city of Germany's most populous federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the fourth most populous city in Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich. With slightly over a million inhabitants within its city boundaries, Cologne is the largest city on the Rhine and also the most populous city both of the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region, which is Germany's largest and one of Europe's major metropolitan areas, and of the Rhineland. Centered on the left bank of the Rhine, Cologne is about 45 kilometres (28 mi) southeast of North Rhine-Westphalia's capital of Düsseldorf and 25 kilometres (16 mi) northwest of Bonn. It is the largest city in the Central Franconian and Ripuarian dialect areas.

For two weeks, the participants have the opportunity work in up to twelve studios specially designed [9] for every edition of the Red Bull Music Academy. There, they have access to a range of the latest gear as well as analog equipment for music production and performance. [10] There are no deadlines or set quotas, and Red Bull does not own the music produced in the building. [11] These collaborative sessions are in part facilitated by the Academy’s "Studio Team", all experienced music producers in various fields. [2] Twice daily, participants attend lectures by guest speakers who range from composers, producers, [12] sound engineers and technological pioneers, to rappers [13] and industry professionals. Lecture attendance is the only compulsory part of the program. [14]

The Red Bull Music Academy does not seek to select or create "stars", [15] instead bringing together music makers with a wide range of talents, skill levels and cultural backgrounds. Notable former participants include Aloe Blacc, Branko of Buraka Som Sistema, Bahrainian oud player Hasan Hujairi, Juan Son, Natalia Lafourcade, Nina Kraviz, Sevdaliza, Hudson Mohawke, David Eriksson of Teenage Engineering, Blackcoffee, Tokimonsta, Flying Lotus, Evian Christ, Teri Gender Bender, Salva and Andreya Triana.

Aloe Blacc American soul singer, rapper and musician

Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III, known professionally as Aloe Blacc, is an American musician, singer, songwriter, rapper, record producer, actor and philanthropist. He is best known for his singles "I Need a Dollar", "The Man", which topped the charts in the United Kingdom, and for writing and performing vocals on Avicii's "Wake Me Up", which topped the charts in 22 countries, including Australia and the United Kingdom. Aside from his solo career, Blacc is also a member of hip hop duo Emanon, alongside American record producer Exile.

Buraka Som Sistema Portuguese rap band

Buraka Som Sistema was an electronic dance music project from Portugal, specializing in a fusion of techno beats with the African zouk and kuduro genre. It is generally credited with creating the "zouk bass" and "progressive kuduro" variant and has received an MTV European Music Award. In 2015 Buraka Som Sistema said they would be taking an hiatus starting in 2016, and on July 1st 2016 they performed live for the last time in Lisbon.

Juan Son Mexican singer

Juan Carlos Pereda is a Mexican singer and composer of experimental music. He was the vocals of the alternative rock band Porter and collaborated with Simone Pace as the drummer for AEIOU. He also performs solo under the pseudonym Juan Son.

The Academy also publishes a yearly double-CD compilation of music produced at the respective last edition entitled 'Various Assets – Not For Sale'. Since 2004, those compilations have featured original music from more than 300 artists, including Dorian Concept, Flying Lotus, Lusine, Theo Parrish, Aloe Blacc, Mark Pritchard, XXXchange, Om’Mas Keith of Sa-Ra, Illuminated faces, Tony Allen, Mr Hudson, Dennis Coffey, Hudson Mohawke, DJ Zinc, Wally Badarou, Benga, Phonte, Jake One, Steve Spacek of Spacek, and Natalia Lafourcade.

Dorian Concept, is an Austrian composer, producer, and keyboard artist, whose work draws on an eclectic variety of sources including modal and free jazz, funk, hip-hop, and electronic, ambient, and soundscape music. Johnson adopted his stage name as a teenager as a reference to the Dorian scale.

Flying Lotus American electronic music producer

Steven Ellison, known by his stage name Flying Lotus or sometimes FlyLo, is an American record producer, musician, DJ, filmmaker, and rapper from Los Angeles, California. He is also the founder of the record label Brainfeeder.

Lusine, formerly L'Usine, L'Usine ICL, and Lusine ICL, is the stage name of Jeff McIlwain, an ambient/IDM musician. A native Texan, McIlwain now resides in Seattle. In 1998, he attended California Institute of the Arts to study 20th century electronic music and sound design for music and film. Soon after, he met Shad Scott and put out a self-titled release with Isophlux.

The Red Bull Music Academy hosts additional workshops and three-day Base Camp sessions in more than 60 countries every year. These events resemble the actual Academy in consisting of music lectures, hands-on production workshops, studio sessions, art exhibitions, and night time activities such as concerts and club events. [16] There is a strong focus on local topics as well as an international perspective.

Further activities

Also, the Red Bull Music Academy has partnered with some of the most prominent music festivals, such as Sónar, [17] Mutek, [18] Movement: Detroit's Electronic Music Festival, [19] Melt!, [20] Notting Hill Carnival, [21] Oxegen, [22] Meltdown, Monegros Desert Festival, Splendour In The Grass, [23] Bestival [24] and the Winter Music Conference. The Academy curates stages at these festivals, and/or hosts workshops or one-off concerts in tandem with the festivals.

In 2005, the Red Bull Music Academy launched the Internet radio station Red Bull Radio that broadcast interviews, live recordings and DJ mixes from more than 50 countries, via a 24/7 live stream and on-demand. RBMA Radio enjoyed an average of 600,000 listeners online per month [25] and was syndicated to terrestrial radio stations in over 30 countries. RBMA Radio’s mobile app [26] for iOS, Android, WindowsPhone, and Symbian had been downloaded more than 500,000 times. As of 2019 it is no longer in service in favor of streaming service Mixcloud.

As a function of Red Bull Music Academy's efforts to create awareness for the Academy and promote its artists, Academy alumni also have further support, bookings and promotion through Red Bull Music Academy channels after the sessions are over. Many tours, local events and major festival bookings are pulled from the roster of past Red Bull Music Academy participants.

Host cities

YearNo.Host city
19981 Flag of Germany.svg Berlin, Germany
19992 Flag of Germany.svg Berlin, Germany
20003 Flag of Ireland.svg Dublin, Ireland
20014 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London, UK/ Flag of the United States.svg New York City, United States
20025 Flag of Brazil.svg São Paulo, Brazil
20036 Flag of South Africa.svg Cape Town, South Africa
20047 Flag of Italy.svg Rome, Italy
20058 Flag of the United States.svg Seattle, United States
20069 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Melbourne, Australia
200710 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Toronto, Canada
200811 Flag of Spain.svg Barcelona, Spain
201012 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London, UK
201113 Flag of Spain.svg Madrid, Spain
201314 Flag of the United States.svg New York City, United States
201415 Flag of Japan.svg Tokyo, Japan
201516 Flag of France.svg Paris, France [27]
201617 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Montreal, Canada
201818 (20th Anniversary Edition) Flag of Germany.svg Berlin, Germany


Corporate structure

The Red Bull Music Academy was co-founded by Many Ameri, Christopher Romberg and Torsten Schmidt, of the consultancy company Yadastar (Christopher Romberg left the company in 2011). In 1997, beverage manufacturer Red Bull approached Yadastar about implementing some method of fostering discourse about underground dance culture. [28]

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RBMA may refer to:

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