As a music town, San Diego is clearly a city that wants to be heard. America's Finest City is quickly climbing the ranks as an independent hot bed of local music. San Diego is still in recovery mode after the recent resignation of former Mayor Bob Filner who lost his job due to "serial groping". Irregardless of that The San Diego Music Thing just keeps getting bigger and better.
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The 6th Annual San Diego Music Thing (SDMT) took place this past weekend with 150 bands, 90 speakers, 15 venues and 1 ticket. It's part music festival, part business conference and 100% jamming. SDMT is educational as well as entertaining and the networking is off the hizzzzzzzay. SDMT was an awesome experience and is a "must attend" event for anyone looking to get their foot in the door of the music business. The speakers were all music industry vets (many from L.A.) with solid experience in the biz. The artists were everywhere at SDMT...on-stage and off. For the most part the panelists and talent were friendly and very accessible.
Despite a scheduling conflict with Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews, AspenSpin managed to pack in about 20 shows in a 24 hour period. Are there Jews in music? Maybe not in San diego. The performances were mostly local, up and coming bands...but their passion and desire was evident. SDMT is a great way to break out as an artist. Plenty of promotors, venue owners, publicists, managers and A & R folks and journo's were in the house.
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A few take home points from SDMT (according to AspenSpin).
* The music business has changed drastically in the past 5 years, but talent is still the key.
* There is a HUGE disconnect between the business side and the creative side...especially at the "breaking in" stage of an artists career. This is not a new revelation...just an observation. Artist's who are not interested in the business aspects need to find good people they can really trust to represent them. Finding those trustworthy types, waaaaay easier said than done.
*Artist's have a vast array of new channels with which to control their own careers. Production, recording , video, distribution are all easier and more affordable then ever before. In my opinion, the DIY (do it yourself) model is the best way to get started. But it a'int easy...and again, talent rises to the top, on paper (writing), in the studio and on stage.
*If you're doing it for the money (artists)...don't do it. For most artists the odds of true commercial success are truly formidable. The passion must be the driving force. Persistence, hard work and stamina are required. Good looks won't hurt you...and an incredible voice or sick musical skills will make you. For music business people...again, don't do it for the money...do it for the love. I'm under the impression that high paying jobs in music are hard to come by and that music is a tough business. So you better love it...and you better like to go out.
*You Tube is the #1 place for music...in the entire universe.
*Social Media is an incredible tool for the music industry...if done correctly using truth and authenticity. The analytics are a gold mine. Bands need to control their own e-mail lists...because thats the only thing they can control. Facebook fans & twitter & instagram followers do not belong to them. Yup, it's old fashioned...but keep collecting those e-mails and phone #'s if fans are willing to give'em up. Mobile is huge...but be careful with that, not everyone wants you on their phone.
*Touring and playing gigs is still and will remain the absolute best way to build your audience. Also, know your audience. Do stuff that appeals to them. Meet them at the shows...tell'em to bring their friends. Word of mouth is still the best way to get your message out.
*There are a lot of hipsters in San Diego.
*Live music is still the best. Seeing 9 bands in 8 venues in 3 hours. Not bad.
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