You may wonder why these wrapups are just now being posted. The answer is that after a full day schedule, I was finding myself falling asleep at the laptop and spitting out nonsense. Rather than updating daily, I took copius notes and am posting after the face.
Thursday was a full day. I was up the night before until 5am at Let the Singer Be Heard and stayed up another hour to do the wrap ups and email from the day. I was up at 11am to run to the host hotel for lunch and the panel.
Arriving at the hotel, I noticed singer Neil Cohen hanging out at the DJ booth near registration. Mainly known as a jazz singer, fashionista Neil is stepping into clubland with the song "Day Off" which has been remixed by Tank Martinez, Brutal Bill, Carmine Gonzalez, Sir Davealot and Sin Morera. Neil was hanging out in the booth Sin Morera who was greeting registrants with some good tribal house - always a good way to start the day and get the blood flowing.
Sitewriter Dewight Barkeley and DJ Rob Reum from Atlanta joined me for lunch where I saw some interesting meetings taking place. Not that I am one to gossip, but there will be probably be an interesting label deal coming soon. Aussie princess Jacinta popped by and showed us a rough cut for the video to "Can't Keep a Secret." The video was cut to the Dave Aude mix which sounded just as hot as the Josh Harris mix she had performed two nights previous. This sounds like a mega hit, I love the double part chorus. Obviously one of the strongest new records of the conference.
This was the first time I had ever moderated a panel and I was a little nervous. The panel description was quite playful - "PR and Press can be a worthy ally or a deadly enemy. Hear from popular music journalists and PR consultants discuss realities and benefits to developing healthy relationships with the press." Wanting to take the side of worthy ally, I organized the panel as a chain of events - starting with the artists, then PR people, then print media, web media, and ending with TV. I work regularly with many of the panelists and made good contacts with the new people.
I have to be honest - I was originally wary about the artist DJ Shortee. All I was told was the she was the DJ on the Playboy tour. I had in mind one of those "Girls Next Door" from the ETV show with little talent and passing on looks. Needless to say, I was blown away by Miss Shortee. She entered the ready room with a stack of folders and demos. She went up to each person, handed them a press kit and cd and did a complete introduction. Not I know why she was on the panel, she knows how to work it. If you are going to be successful in the music industry, not only do you need talent, you need to know how to work people and get them on your side. Knowing how to get people interested in your story is what seperates a local dj from the international superstars.
Before the conference, I had never heard of Tilllate either. The site is primarily European based and focuses more on the consumer/fan side of dancemusic lifestyle partying rather than industry. TillLate showcases pictures and builds communities around events from the past and present. Darryl von Daniken was quite a good speaker and inspired many to take the approach to appeal to a mass audience to build recognition.
The PR people Derek Scott Graves (Star 69) and Betty Kang (PLexi) explained when it was time to hire a publicist and what services they provide - building a press kit, managing contacts, keeping up with everything, pitching stories by market. Many PR people assume that dance music is dance music and work the same release to everyone. Dancemusic writers are often genre focused - so sending a poptrance cd to an underground breaks guy is often a waste.
Billboard Dance Music writer and Club World editor Kerri Mason was quite good as well - making the point that artists need to pitch stories and angles rather than the standard features and reviews. As writers and editors, we get FLOODED with releases - the ones with unique angles and stories step to the front of the line. It was also an honor to be on the panel with Jim Tremayne as I have been reading DJ Times for years. He spoke of writers like Dave "the Wave" Dresden and Joe Bermudez who started as DJs who write and were able to make contacts to build their career. Kylee Swenson of Remix chimed in with stories from both sides as an editor and as an artist (she's a member of indiepop/electronica group Loquat.)
Finding words to describe Buster is a challenge - his personality is almost as big as his contribution to the Miami club scene. A3tv launched as a late night cable channel and has grown into an international website with multiple audiovisual streams covering lifestyle, fashion, music and nightlife. Buster stressed the importance of creating cool video content and how A3tv will play anything thats cool. Alan Freed (formerly of XM) shared stories of breaking artists through satellite radio and how XM covered dance artists.
The panel went really well and I was quite proud of how it turned out.