How nightclubs could level up their business in 2023:
The Rise of Dance Music
Can the dance music post-pandemic boom continue? We certainly think so. Streaming for dance music increased by 7.4% in 2022 according to Music Week, with dance now officially moving to the second most popular genre in the UK. Big artists such as Drake and Beyonce bringing out dance hits also invigorated the genre.
No doubt your club will be filled with dance bangers this year. More than a quarter of the hits that have made the Official Singles Chart Top 10 in 2022 were dance songs. Supporting dance is adjacent to supporting local artists; our domestic music scene is entrenched in dance and EDM, more than half of our top ten dance hits last year were by British artists.
The revival of summer festivals for the first time in three years due to the pandemic, we’ve seen a thirst for dance music. The year welcomed three-years of newly turned 18 year olds, eager to hit the festival and nightclub scene. And Brexit meant a 30 year low for British nightlife workers in dance capitals such as Ibiza, with residents remaining local to the UK.
Dance remixes of songs have also been plaguing the charts. With 2022 seeing the release of so many popular dance songs, we will definitely hear our nightclubs filled with bangers this 2023.
At NDML, we asked Sacha Lord, the Night Time Economy Advisor for Greater Manchester and Co-creator of The Warehouse Project, did he believe there is an increase in ticketed events at nightclubs?
“I think we are definitely seeing a pattern emerging now. When I was going out, many moons ago, you’d go to the same nightclub every Friday, every Saturday, you’d pay on the door and meet the same friends in the same corner. I think it’s changed now because people are looking more about where they are spending their money. It’s more about the big moment. Almost as if you are going to a gig, buying a ticket a month in advance, and I think we are going more towards that area now.”
“I do think the days of the chains on the high street are going to have to evolve very, very quickly. You have to offer more… I do think we are going toward ticketed events.”
The Warehouse Project has seen huge successes, recently becoming the largest nightclub in Europe, and putting on huge ticketed events for the baiting public. In the Instagram era, people are looking out for the next big thing, the next feature to light up their social media channels. Because of the anticipation factor, ticketed events will surely become more widely implemented in 2023.
Live implementation of technology
We say it every year, but technology is becoming ever more entwined within our lives. In 2023 we predict technology will be implemented in all areas of running a nightclub, including ticketing, accessibility and the entertainment.
Implementing technology in the ticketing of events helps to improve both security and speed of admission. Technology; such as with entry, facial recognition and barcodes; is aimed to reduce line times, aid staff and improve security. As overall costs for nightclubs rise, implementing technology could save operators money on staffing and ticketing. Entry, exits and re-entry can remain consistent before, during and after the event.
Virtual reality (VR) has become increasingly popular over the last five years. The technology itself has come on leaps and bounds, able to be used at any event and in a range of scenarios. Very entertaining, DJs may want to implement VR to help expand their reach and interact with more listeners. Perfect for large events, virtual reality screens where an international DJ is teleported to the club, playing hit shows from another city, potentially another country, is ideal entertainment for the viewing public.
In the past few years, we’ve seen these technologies be implemented in various creative ways, and are eagerly looking forward to its progression further throughout 2023.
Buying the big names
With the increase in influencer culture, we expect nightclubs to hop onto this trend and keep inviting personalities and celebrities to spotlight at their club. Meet and greets with social media stars and reality TV stars will no doubt bring in a crowd. Hosting B-list or C-list celebrities is a great way to pack out a dancehall and also improve marketing and publicity. Any way nightclubs can provide an experience, we’ll see it grow in popularity in 2023.
DJs with a large social following will continue to prosper this year. An easy win for operator, getting in a DJ or artist that draws their own following is free publicity.
We do hope the trend for 2023 won’t be the presence of spiking, but will be a larger awareness around it, mainly on the part of the public and the authorities. It was never a huge secret on the side of the industry; the media coverage around the apparent spiking boom however, including the reported shock of the general public, was treated as a dirty secret that the nightlife industry propagates. Instead we envisage 2023 as a time where spiking and our longstanding anti-spiking measures are addressed and acknowledged.
At NDML, we’ve written extensively on the effect the drink spiking inquiry had upon the nightclub sector. We hope people are made more vigilant; we have created posters for nightclubs to highlight to the public that they are spike-aware.
See our information here:
Popularise by the late-2022 hit-show, Glass Onion, hard kombucha is popular health-kick drink yet which has the same alcohol content and calories as beer or wine. Similar to tea, kombucha often contains water-soluble CBD, a hemp-based chemical known for its calming effect.
Similar to last year’s hard seltzer craze, hard kombucha is vegan friendly and is designed to be drank anywhere, at parties, at clubs. A typically Californian version of cocktail-in-a-can, kombucha has less sugars therefore less of an effect on your gut, and is gluten-free. Popular to high street stores, we expect our local nightclubs to soon be stocking up on the kombucha craze.
No phones in nightclubs
While we’ve discussed the adoption of the Instagram reel from nightlife venues, the inversion is that many operators are pushing customers to put away their phones. Fabric, London’s iconic nightclub in Farringdon, has a strict no photo policy, asking customers to stay in the moment and enjoy their night. It was introduced in June 2021, aiming to produce a hands-free dance scene.
We spoke to Cameron Leslie, Fabric’s co-founder, about the posters highlighting the action. He said its part of the business’s mission to have people stay in the moment: – ‘The public need not worry about documentation of an event, Fabric records sets and audience reaction, we have our active media team. Remove the distraction, just for a few hours.’
The anti-screen movement is building speed and we believe 2023 we’ll see more publicity around putting our phones away and living in the moment. And Fabric are the ones riding a bit ahead of the peloton, many nightclubs will adopt an attitude to encourage and immersive experience.
Sports and games have completely taken over the nightlife scene post-pandemic. The term ‘competitive socialising’ has been batted around for decades with pubs and bars always housing pool tables and quiz juke boxes – however a new breed of entrepreneurs have adopted a more eclectic mix of sports to help entertain and sell drinks. Be it mini-golf, bowling, darts, axe-throwing, table tennis, even cricket and curling have been thrown into the mix.
We expect this to only grow, with more and more nightclubs going down the route of Roxy Ball Room or Flight Club, adopting games to diversify their business.
Food courts are in fashion
Way back in 2019, BigHospitality called it that food halls would be heralded as a major part of the eating-out experience. Four years on and, despite a pandemic, it’s only gone form strength the strength.
Whether it’s Liverpool’s Dockside Dining Club, London’s Arcade Food Hall, Manchester’s Hatch, Leeds’ Trinity Kitchen, or York’s Spark – independent retailers have continued to make waves in the nightlife scene. Pop-up “food villages” are in fashion, working in tandem with local breweries and community event organisers.
Various nightlife establishments have successfully adopted this new craze into their business offering. Chow Down, a Yorkshire based brand, have included a summer and winter village into their outdoor space. They offer various foods from pop-up vendors in combination with live DJ sets, competitive socialising such as curling, and heated outdoor bar areas.
Looking to renew in 2023?
With energy bills and daily costs piling up due to inflation, many venue operators are looking at where they can get a cheaper, better insurance deal. NDML are best placed to navigate the hard market and get you the best deal for your nightclub. We have been awarded Insurance Times Customer Champion of the Year in recurring years. We believe this is because we work hard to build a genuine relationship with our customers with trust and respect at its core – that’s why so many of our nightclub insurance clients have been with us for years.