I went to this thing called New Music Seminar 2011 in Los Angeles, CA. from February 14-16th. Got a good overview of what I already know to be true about the business of music, but it was great to meet label people, marketing people, licensing people, technology companies and forward thinking entrepreneurs. It took place at the Sheraton Universal near Universal Studios & Citywalk.
There was interesting new artists to check out who did performances each night at The Roxy and a red carpet opening event at The Music Box in Hollywood. The revolution will not be televised… :)
On the 1st day there was a panel of record label executives, presidents and chairmans (sometimes I can’t tell the difference between CEO/President/Chairman since so many of them seem to be given all three titles in this industry.)
Up on stage: Jay Frank (Sr. VP Music Strategies, CMT), Courtney Holt (President, Myspace Music), Pete Edge (President A&R, J Records), Craig Kallman (Chairman/CEO, Atlantic Records), James Diener (CEO/President, A&M/Octone Records, Universal Music Group), Cal Nyantakyi (A&R, RocNation), Ron Fair (Chairman, Geffen Records).
It was interesting to hear their insights about music, past and present and the direction they are taking their labels into the future. To be in the same room with the people that brought us artists like Maroon 5, Alecia Keys, Lady GaGa, Paramore, etc. etc. and told us different things about their process of artist development and why record labels are still needed. I really liked Ron Fair’s thoughts that artists can be independent but they still need “spirit guides” and “village elders” to show them the way and that it’s important to have good people around you. That was true wisdom. I agree that the old guard is responsible for helping the new guard into the fold.
What was really great about seeing them live in person, was that they were real humans and not the legendary characters we read about, but they really had an air of authenticity about them but years and years of experience that we can all learn from. There was also tons of other great talks and one-on-one quick mentoring sessions with some knowledgable folks.