On the 21st of November the National Music Conference of 2015 began. Held at the beautiful Double Tree Inn on a cloudy yet pleasant day. Hundreds of music lovers gathered to celebrate and discuss the art that is music. Some would call this heaven. I can agree.
Walking into the panel room we see a rocking DJ blaring some hyped up Hip Hop mixes to get us ready for the overload of knowledge we would soon be adsorbing for the next six to eight hours. Lights flowed across the room in a fast changing pattern highlighting the stage as it is prepped. The crowd gathered in anxiousness for the opening panel. A hostess appeared on stage to call out the names of five lovely ladies that live for music. The divas of the industry.
To open the panel they introduced themselves making us aware of there skill and prowess. The hostess asked a controversial and constantly talked about topic. “Does gender bias exist in the music industry?” With a resounding yes the group of woman give a perfect example that happened just that morning of a man (what else) saying that all woman do is stand around talking about men. Though they agree that the music industry is skewed, they claim it to be skewed in there favor. Woman are strong. They must try ten times harder to be recognized for what they accomplish. It is that reason woman work harder than any man. Roadblocks are many, but this does not stop them, keeping a serious connection with clients can be hard to get past but they do it fine, because they are woman. There is also a benefit to be the outliers, the ones that are different, the gems, that shine bright in the sea of boring rocks. There is always change, so a plan is needed. Sometimes plans are not always fully fleshed, so you must be ready to move through the motions as you plan your route to treasure. To make this treasure usable you need connections. Friends, co-workers, and rivals but not enemies. Every woman should reach for a common goal to create a kingdom. No matter your race or ethnicity there will be blocks, maybe even more at times yet this can be an advantage. Again being the one that brings something new is a valuable asset to all. The best way to learn how to use your personal assets is to find a mentor. As many as possible even if they do not know that they are mentoring you. A fact of a woman that works is roadblocks but if you reach one and fall then you must learn to try to learn and then get back up until you get over that ridge. Don’t stop there though. You are never at the top of the mountain, but only ever climbing. “Today may be a bad day but tomorrow will be great.” The woman finish off their enlightening panel strong with a group photo and then their respective interviews for all who ask.
The first panel alone was enough to fill two minds and the speakers, such as Davey Jay, were amazing. I had the chance to interview Jay after the panel and she was so happy with how the panel went and how much everyone supported the strength these women possess. Moving quickly onto the next panel industry professionals revealed the secrets of social media marketing.
To gather a true fan base what you must do is create connections. You want to get close to your listeners you want to know them and make sure they certainly know you. Whether you’re using Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Email, even periscope can grant you those connections that are just as valuable as having good content. If you have great music, then people will listen but that won’t give you revenue these days. We live in a world of streaming and it is not going away anytime soon. To really turn those simple plays into solid revenue you need to create the connection. A good spot to reach is 1000 people not only listening, but also buying and supporting you. This number is a sign that you can do things by yourself that makes getting on a label much easier and attracting to someone that is going to invest in you. Today you may not even want a label. You could use apps like Toon Core and Cobalt to spread your music around the world. Royalties as well are something that are a very strong source of revenue that everyone can do. Even with all this being about a way to earn money don’t do it to get money. Do it for art. If you love your art and you love to share your art, then this is easy. Money will come after the work has been done.
Learning the secrets to success from the professionals in the industry was an incredible chance that most will not get. I talked with an artist that was at his first big music conference and he was inspired to one day be speaking on those same panels. As the second panel ended everyone went off to lunch to refresh their minds for them to then get filled with information again in less than thirty minutes. The third panel began with a video showing off, Revolt, a new and highly successful music channel dedicated to showing off the art that is music. The anticipation was building throughout the whole video.
Clinkscales the CEO of Revolt gave a truly inspiring speech that increased the drive and determination of everyone in the room. He and his company promote the passion and love for music through their network. He reminds us that the industry has dramatically changed and gives artist trying to make it big the advice they need to do just that. Everyone today can create themselves as artist without the help of a label. Hours of work will get it done. A crew can help you do it. “Passion, but passion applied,” he states. Everyone can become the artist they want to be and Revolt will make sure your accomplishments are shown and given respect. The generation of this time is radical and influence more than any generation before. Create something revolutionary.
This particular panel was an influence on me. It made me think and look at what accomplishments have been reached by this generation in music. It inspired me to be a part of that creative revolution. It made me excited to share this experience with everyone so that they may also be inspired and kick started with drive towards their goals. After the motivating speech and Q&A by Clinkscales, everyone is even more excited for the fourth and final panel centered around the creation of a professional product. Multiple experts of their musical fields tell us what they are looking for in an artist.
What is expected for someone to get signed changes everyday but in this age artist have the ability to show their creation properly. A decent mix is a huge improvement to a song and should be used as so. Getting on a label is just the beginning so after you get signed you need to be ready to work and know what you’re doing. Taking your art seriously is serious to the people that hear it. You need to put your best foot forward. “A quarter inch speaker is not selling it.” As long as you present appropriately and have the skill to back it up then success will come. Even if you do something wrong and you are told no, then remember that as criticism and grow from it. Streaming is now the main source of music for consumers. It is much more difficult to make a living off of streaming rather than hard copies but when there is a demand for an artist if it is not supplied then that artist will be forgotten. The industry will label you for every action, and quickly, so make a good image the first time. You have the ability to build your creation alone so do it. No one can do everything alone so also find people that will support you. The real money makers for artist are concerts and tours, but these take planning. You need to know the audience and plan for it. Any media out there about an artist is good media. Anything from a full interview to a 15 second Instagram video is an equal opportunity for exposure.
Finishing off the conference with strong advice answering tons of questions the speakers step off the panel as we contemplate the incredible knowledge everyone has gained. I managed to get the chance to talk to the person that organized the panels, Ethan Curtis. He tells me that this is only one thing in his life he is doing. It is a lucky opportunity to be part of such an event no matter how intense it is. The speakers were all happy to be apart of it as well giving a bit of a break to the madness of choosing topics and organizing the schedule. The hype did not lower with the end of the conference though.
The after-party begins and everyone grouped together to talk about the inspiring words that have been said. Creating connections, sharing insights and enjoying music. Being one of the best national music events TNMC creates an experience through sharing the knowledge of the experienced, solidifying a valuable asset to everyone in the industry. It is as well a joy to be a part of as a viewer, press, employee, or speaker.