[Photo Credit: Marc Millman]
Earlier this week, Brooklyn Bowl hosted the Relix Live Music Conference, where industry professionals gathered together to discuss the ever-changing industry. From an attendee's perspective, it was compelling and educational while also fun (free food, anyone?). Getting to not only listen to the best of the industry speak, but also interact with them was a unique experience unlike any other.
There were several different presentations and panels covering all types of topics which ranged from festivals and ticketing to talent buying and technology. A particular highlight of the day was the publicity panel with speakers Ken Weinstein (Big Hassle Media), Emma Matthieson (Dayglo Ventures), Kevin Calabro (Calabro Music Media & Royal Potato Family), Rebecca Shapiro (Shore Fire Media), and Jonathan Azu (Red Light Management), moderated by Mike Greenhaus of Relix. Personally, as a former publicist-turned-journalist, watching a journalist interview a group of publicists felt oddly familiar. Shapiro explained the importance of a three month lead time, Weinstein kept things entertaining with his upbeat sense of humor, and Azu brought a bit of a management perspective to the table. A lot agreed that keeping an artist relevant - especially an emerging artist - while they're not in the midst of an album cycle is sometimes one of the biggest challenges. But along with the big challenge comes with an opportunity for the publicists to get creative with social media, special events, and more. Publicity is hard, but these five made it look easy, and when it came down to it, like Weinstein briefly mentioned, the artists have to be interesting.
Another important panel was "Agenting - Offering Alternate Routes" with speakers Seth Seigle (William Morris Endeavor Management), Lee Anderson (Paradigm), Joshua Knight (Monterey International, INC), Jordan Wolowitz (Founders Entertainment), Kyle Wilensky (CAA) and moderator Lucas Sacks (Brooklyn Bowl). Right off the bat, Anderson led with an interesting point and said that, although there are exceptions, he usually doesn't take on an artist who doesn't already have a team - even a team as small as a manager can be better than nothing. Wolowitz gave us all the booking deets behind Governors Ball, saying that sometimes he loses an artist just because he couldn't put their name on the second or third line of the lineup poster. Yes, that is
a real thing. During the "Managment - Amplifiers and Emissaries" panel, speakers Mike Martinovich (Red Light Management), Patrick Jordan (Red Light Management), Mike Luba (Madison House Presents), Stef Scamardo (Hard Head MGMT), and Vince Iwinski (UMGMT) talked to us all about what it means to be a successful manager, and some of the worst ideas they've ever had (like Luba making a not-so-tasteful show flyer for String Cheese Incident).
Then of course was the keynote with Ron Delsener and Peter Shapiro, moderated by David Fricke of Rolling Stone. Ron, aka the biggest concert promoter ever, came out and knocked every expectation out of the water - he was so witty and... edgy?
edgy, and at first that may have caught me off guard but then I realized that he can say whatever he wants. I mean, who's going to fire Ron Delsener?
He talked about his experience with The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, and more, and when Fricke asked what's one artist he wish he could have worked with, his answer? Elvis Presley. It was interesting to watch the three on stage swap stories, especially when it's personal anecdotes about legendary artists like Pink Floyd (Fricke's first concert as a young teen, which we later learned) that we could never know on our own. Because let's face it, that's just not something you can find on Wikipedia.
Learn more about the conference here.