Next BIG Nashville Conference, Day 2: What You Need To Know

Videos by American Songwriter

The NBN Summit conference will reconvene at The Curb Event Center at Belmont University on Thursday, September 30.

Read the Wednesday conference preview here.

While Wednesday’s conference looks closely at technology, copyright and media, Thursday brings a stronger emphasis on the live market, with several panels devoted entirely to touring.

Significantly, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, also known as “Music City’s Greatest Asset,” will commence the day’s panels with brief opening remarks. The Mayor has been instrumental in re-branding Nashville as “not-just” country music, so his support of Next BIG Nashville is a good omen for the budding festival.

Interestingly, Thursday begins with a look to the past – “developing artists the old way in the new world” – but brings insight from heavyweight manager, Troy Carter (Lady Gaga). The focus will be on using technology to build fan relationships, of which there are ample discussion points.

The tricky concept of net neutrality will surely rear its ugly head in the 10:35 a.m. meeting on “Pipes, Capitalism and Creativity.” Mitch Bainwol, the savvy Chairman and CEO of the RIAA, will moderate with representatives from Verizon and Google. While this panel may present complex issues, it might be the most important thing you learn all day.

Following lunch, at 12:35 p.m., Bryan Calhoun, who we recently spoke with, will give a presentation about SoundExchange, a company that collects royalties for artists from digital plays.

At 12:50 p.m., Seth Hurwitz, the owner of I.M.P. (“It’s My Party”) and the cheekily-named I.M.A. (It’s My Amphitheater”) companies, which control the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., and Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland, will speak with Ray Waddell of Billboard. Hurwitz, who recently appeared in an episode of Treme, filed a lawsuit against Live Nation last year, and contends that the company is monopolistic. While the conversation will certainly touch on the recent decline in sales at amphitheaters – or “sheds” in industry lingo – it should also broadly focus on the current state and future of touring.

Another timely topic – sponsorships – will take an indie approach for the 1:10 p.m. case study on the Mountain Dew brand-extension Green Label Sound, a singles label that releases top-notch music for free. It’s fascinating to see how indie artists – typically averse to overt commercial interests – have embraced GLS. It no doubt has to do with the PR and branding skills of Jon Cohen, co-CEO of Cornerstone Promotions, a marketing company affiliated with The Fader magazine and Fader Label, who will be interviewed for this panel again by Ray Waddell.

Waddell will stay on the mic to moderate a ticketing panel at 1:40 p.m., with representatives from Mozes, Ticketfly, Eventbrite, Sonicbids and Topspin. Each company has a slightly different slice of the live pie, and it will be interesting to see who brings the most innovative perspectives to the paramount topic.

A major panel with Pandora’s founder Tim Westergren, along with Nashville rainmaker Tim DuBois (see our “On The Money” profile with DuBois here), and execs from Vevo, SoundExchange and Rightsflow’s Patrick Sullivan, who we recently spoke with, will take place at 2:20 p.m., and will be moderated by Eric Garland. The broad topic will be “new technologies,” and you can count on there being a strong focus on innovation from these experts.

Following a panel with various A&R record company execs, Ray Waddell will take the floor again, hosting several prominent booking agents to discuss the ups and downs of the touring market in 2010.


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