On June 21, 2015 – June 23, 2015, once again the New Music Seminar took over NYC. This year like every other year before since its inception back in 1980, the music event continues to prove itself in being a worthy cause, for anybody with aspirations of making it in the music business.
As usual industry veteran and NMS Executive Director Tom Silverman came off as not only approachable but also well informed. During the three day event, there was a lot to be hopeful for; but also a bit of skepticism….
What were this year’s: Highlights? Pros & Cons?
- Digital sales are up 7% this year.
- Music sales is up 2.1% as a whole in 2014
- Sound Exchange continues to grow in its fight to ensure that artist get paid for the product.
- There has been an 8% growth in the music industry as a whole; which is the biggest growth since 1998.
But what would be the cause of skepticism?
The fact that music is evolving so quickly, it now has a feeling of getting too lost in the moment… and a moment that keeps evolving without any clear direction.
As an independent artist there has never better a better time to get into the music business because distributing your own music has never been easier. The event held panel discussions on: streaming, subscription services (Spotify, Pandora, Youtube, Soundcloud, Apple, Tidal) and the accessibility of getting your music onto those platforms;
But being that one artist out of a million may not be easy. It’s a DIY business and the benefit of the seminar was that by the time you left the event, you left a little better off equipped to deal with the questionable music industry, than when you walked through New Yorker Wyndham Hotel’s revolving glass doors; no pun.
There were plenty of talk surrounding the growth of vinyl in the US; but is it a trend? Is vinyl here to stay or just the latest niche item for an ever changing consumer? Who’s to say? But at least for now it’s in vogue.
I got the opportunity to sit in on A&R panels as the attendee were able to get their music peer reviewed by industry insiders; but I honestly left feeling like the A&R personnel spent more time trying to find something that they didn’t like rather than something that they actually liked.
I just got the feeling that even the A&R people working in the industry don’t really know what direction the music industry is moving so they rely on who & what’s trending; and that’s apparently Fetty Wap but what if you’re not Fetty Wap and you’re not interested in becoming another Trap Queen?
Or the other A&R tactic (and booker, agent manager, label) seemed to be following an artist’s traction on social media (Soundcloud plays, Youtube views, Twitter followers) to dictate their next signee; something else the caused a bit of skepticism in me personally. How many Justin Beiber’s does the world really need. He’s only LOVED in America…..
I got to see three ‘Artist on the Verge’ winners and when confronted by the A&R reps to evaluate they didn’t really seem to like any of them – yet they were all amazing…
The “Artist on the Verge’ overall winner by the end of the event was a singer by the name of Grace Weber & I felt it was well deserved; but they were all winners that night & they all turned in great performances throughout their showcase performances.
Music has become more about business and less about art. Why does it take twenty plus people to write one song nowadays, when it once took only one, or occasionally two people?
Music has become a machine – a subway train that has either missed or bypassed a few stops. Music shouldn’t be about trends it should be about talent & if you don’t like anything you hear when you listen to new music, then maybe you should be a pencil pusher and not working in A&R.
For me was just simply being there. There were so many panels from: A&R forums to Songwriting workshops to video panels to panels on the rise of the Independent label & why as an artist you should consider being signed to one (independent label), the new management movement that have become an entity beyond just management; they have become: agent, label, booker, publicist, etc…. A&R movement but two of the biggest highlights for me Freddie Demann & Gunnar Nelson was there
That it was all crammed into only three days.
To be in the music business these days it’s easier to fail than it is to make it but if at least you’re informed about publishing, synch placements, how A&R operates & the likelihood that they will not ever open an unsolicited demo sent in an email needs to be heard. Why go into any business disillusioned? You should always be well informed & for better or worse by June 23rd at the close of the event I was. The industry needs more New Music Seminars.
*-article written by Kenny Fame