PERFORMER MAGAZINE – SF MusicTech Summit (12.06.10)

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Networking Hotspot Invades the Bay

The SF MusicTech Summit opened for its seventh year on December 6. The conference, focused on the convergence of music and related technologies, featured a total of 19 expert panels and new product demonstrations. The list of speakers included notables from both the music and tech worlds: reps from Universal, Avid, MOG, SoundCloud, RootMusic, Talenthouse, Gracenote and Blip.fm, to name a few; and musicians like Del the Funky Homosapien, Evan Lowenstein and Rana Sobhany, New York City’s iPad DJ. Attendees flew in from all around the world, making SF MusicTech a hot networking spot for both up-and-coming musicians and app developers.

In the opening panel, “Engaging Your Community,” moderator Brenden Mulligan from Sonicbids led a discussion on how independent musicians could tap into the vast resource of social media platforms, including tips on uniting online fans. The panel recommended an online hub, such as the band web page, linking an artist’s various profiles to one location. Author David Meerman offered tips from his book, Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead, such as involving fans by providing items of value for free. He suggested artists ask themselves not only what fans are going to like, but rather what fans are likely to share.

The afternoon’s “Live Electronic Musicianship” panel focused on the future of the live “controllerist.” Featuring artists from LoveTech SF, an amazing electronica troupe, they acknowledged that innovations arise when artists test the limitations of their gear. Similarly, the speakers in “Tour Secrets from the Pros” recommended working with the restrictions of live surroundings and listening to your best friend: the sound guy.

Closing the day, “The Artist Panel” offered tips from a list of successful musicians. “Good music. Product. That’s where it all starts,” advised Del, “Bring back the mystery between artists and fans.” The panel closed with an uplifting nod to indie musicianship from recording artist Raul Malo: “This is the most promising time for the young artist,” he said, “We don’t need the wizard behind the curtain anymore. We’ve seen the wizard, and he’s an idiot.”

The next SF MusicTech Summit is scheduled for May 9, 2011.

-Keane Li