Next BIG Nashville Conference: What You Need To Know

Videos by American Songwriter

A heated panel from the 2009 conference, including John “JT” Turner of Thirty Tigers, Larry Little of Future Sounds, Ben Swank of Third Man Records and Sean O’Connell of Music Allies.

It’s harder and harder these days to make a dent in the music conference, panel and seminar worlds – it’s an over-saturated market. With the industry fumbling left and right for ideas, it’s no surprise, though, that the keenest minds want to keep getting together to collectively flail for answers.

Luckily, Next BIG Nashville has been putting together a stellar conference for a couple of years now, and with the help of the heavy-hitting Leadership Music – an organization that educates and connects industry execs – this year’s collaborative “NBN Summit” will surely be a strength-in-numbers affair. What follows is a look at the action-packed programming: a “who’s who,” what’s “Last Big Nashville,” and what’s not to miss about this year’s conference.

Wednesday, September 29
The Curb Event Center at Belmont University

After Karen Oertley, the Executive Director of Leadership Music, addresses the audience, Mark Montgomery will give a brief welcome prior to Russ Crupnick’s keynote at 9:00 a.m. That’s a lot happening in a short stretch, and it’s important to know that Montgomery, founder of Echo Music, is an important guy in Nashville. He presented a strong contrarian view at the recent conference with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, and alienated certain old-timers in the room. It will be interesting to see how Montgomery kicks off the newly combined event.

Russ Crupnick’s NPD Group, a research and analytics company, released a widely publicized report earlier this year with predictions about Apple and the iTunes-Lala cloud. His keynote will surely speak to some of those ideas, and should not be missed.

Another important event on Wednesday will be the dialogue between Scott Borchetta, founder of mega-successful Big Machine Records, and Jay Frank, a Sr. Vice President at CMT. Though no one doubts Borchetta’s clout, whether Taylor Swift’s success is a freakish, once-a-lifetime occurrence or a direct result of savvy digital promotion on the label’s part, is still anyone’s guess. The discussion will surely side heavily with the latter.

Two panels at 10:05 a.m., on the 360 deal, and 10:50 a.m., on audience metrics, round out the morning. The second will be the first of several panels moderated by Eric Garland, founder of Big Champagne, who made a significant splash this summer when he unveiled the Ultimate Chart at the New Music Seminar in New York. The panel also includes former American Songwriter digital collaborator and current CTO of Moontoast, Marcus Whitney, as well as Darren Briggs, CTO of Landmark Digital Services, which we previously reported on. This panel should be a good chance to see the top data-heads spar off on important technology issues.

After lunch, NBN revives the “Site Doctor Is In” panel from previous years.

At 12:30 p.m., a discussion on the consumer will take place, moderated by Russ Crupnick, with representatives from RootMusic, a popular new app for Facebook, as well as “great hope” Spotify and perennial dog MySpace. Following the look at the consumer, the conference will address new models for the industry at 1:10 p.m., with Richard Gottehrer of The Orchard and Jeff Price of Tunecore, among others. These two panels will ideally build off each other and look promisingly to the future options for selling music to consumers.

At 1:50 p.m. and 2:25 p.m., NBN Summit brings us a pair of panels that copyright-hotshots will want to stick around for. It will be a good chance to get in touch with your ones and zeros, or to skip and give your left brain a rest. Jim Griffin will discuss rights in the cloud, and David Israelite will discuss the publishing biz.

Founder and CEO Jason Moon Wilkins will take the mic to moderate the 2:55 p.m. panel, which will cover the conference-obligatory “music and advertising.” The panelists will reveal the hive mind of Search Party Music, which places music in film and commercials. Following the Search Party panel, another TV/media-themed panel will more closely look at specific artists, with panelists like songwriter Rivers Rutherford and Nashville artist Mathew Perryman Jones. This panel will look at networking and insider trading with music supervising companies.

Legal buffs will want to hang out for the day’s final panel, which brings a number of top attorneys to the podium to weigh in new technologies. It’s an interesting – and essential – look into the issues.

Stay tuned for more reporting from the NBN Summit.


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