By Adam Stewart and Sam Hendrick
This past weekend, trance music made its grand return to New York City with a celebration of the 450th episode of Armin Van Buuren's global weekly radio smash "A State Of Trance." The radio show boasts over 10 million weekly listeners in over 40 countries worldwide, making it one of the most listened to broadcasts in the world.
The celebration kicked off last Thursday (April 1) in Toronto, followed by back-to-back nights at the famed Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan. We were fortunate enough to catch the Friday night (April 2) set, where Armin and his incredible support DJs did everything but physically tear the roof of the building to keep the energy at an insane level. Aside from the enormous set, Armin's DJ booth was a visual delight, backed by an enormous video display that provided incredible visuals throughout the night.
"We did it last year for 400 and we did it for England, Germany and Holland, and we had 230,000 people tune in online with an average listening time of three hours and 23 minutes," Van Buuren told us during an interview at last month's Winter Music Conference in Miami. Numbers like that are staggering in any context, but they're not the driving force behind the coy Dutchman, who two weeks ago played to a crowd of 100,000 on the main stage of Ultra Music Festival at WMC.
Van Buuren has managed to convert fans who would otherwise not embrace dance music, perhaps because he has such a wide palette of inspirations. "I'm really a big fan of Coldplay and Snow Patrol, Linkin Park, Lenny Kravitz, Seal. I'm a big Pink Floyd fan, a big Beatles fan. All kinds of music inspires me," Van Buuren told MTV News. "I'm a trance artist first and foremost, there are some good things about every kind of music. Never be a prisoner of your own style, — that's my motto."
Technology helps too. Though many musicians lose sleep over piracy, it has helped Van Buuren turn the virtual world into a club that never closes. "Thanks to the Internet and thanks to the illegal downloads, my name became known all over the world. I think it’s really important to use all of that technology to interact with your fans," Van Buuren said. "People ask me what my favorite club is to play. There is no favorite club to play because it has become a global audience. There's no more countries they're no more borders, we're all in the same country because of the Internet. People in Australia, people in India, people all over the world can listen to my latest track within a few seconds, which is amazing."