Let’s be honest- I love going to conferences. I love meeting new people, showing off what we do at Section 101 and learning about what is interesting to - and about - people. So when we were offered the chance to participate at the ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO in April, less than a month after our amazing and intense week at SXSW, I was ready to pack up my gear and head over to the West Coast.
80 degrees, sunshine, happy faces – you know you’re in Southern California! However, once you walked in to the Loews Hollywood hotel, which was hosting the EXPO, you could tell every one was there to network and study more about the music industry. It didn’t matter how gorgeous the weather, they were there to focus. I was amazed at seeing the serious professional music community that was represented at this year’s conference. Every one came to learn and participate so they could move their career forward.
Section 101 was busy! I was part of the “How To Earn Revenue & Fund Your Project” panel (presented by Berklee Music). Moderated by Berklee Online’s CMO Mike King, other panelists included songwriter/producer Bleu McAuley, Topspin VP of Product Bob Moczydlowsky and PledgeMusic’s Benji Rogers (read more about the topic here). The discussion was about funding your career and the steps to take to launch, manage and maintain your career. The key take away from this panel was that there is now a more detailed roadmap. Which also means you have to work harder than ever before. There is a clearer trail blazed by other people, and more anecdotal information available then ever before.
This is our 3rd year at ASCAP and we noticed a shift in how artists feel about going direct to fans. A few years ago, the music community didn’t realize how real the opportunity was – and also how challenging it could be. Today there is so much opportunity that if you work hard, people will take notice and embrace what you’re offering. At the end of the day though, the focus remains the same: it’s about making good music and making sure you understand all the facets of the business of your career.
As soon as the panel was over, I moved along to the first of our two Section 101 Special Sessions on perfecting your online presence and the room was standing room only. The hardest part about getting started is figuring out WHERE to start, and that was something we wanted to address. Akin to songwriting, you need to be dedicated, patient and work through the process. The look, vibe and feel of your site must come with time (like your music!). ASCAP actually blogged about our Special Session and you can read more about it here!
…and from there, I went to the ASCAP hosted Lunchtime Roundtables, where every 15 minutes I would rotate to a new table of 10 people who were there to ask questions and learn about both Section 101 and how to best represent yourself online. Special shout out to 17 year-old singer/songwriter Michelle Oglevie, better known as MLO, who has an EP out on iTunes. She came to the EXPO for the day, participated in the lunchtime roundtable, had a gig that night and school the next day. Check her out on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/MLO.MusicFanPage
Winding up our time at ASCAP EXPO (oh - hope you got a chance to visit with Kathleen and Steve at the Section 101 booth), we co-hosted a great cocktail party at Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill. Our other hosts included Music First, a client of ours whose main objective is to fight for fair pay for an artist’s digital and radio play, Manic Monkee, an artist and brand development company who is also our partner in the Quantum Collective, and Two Kings Songwriters, a/k/a Sean Spollen and Jim Logrando, who provide artists with fresh, interesting, and relevant new material. Between the four of us, we were a microcosm of the music industry today. This is OUR community, and Section 101 couldn’t be more proud to be a part of it.