Musexpo: This Is the Conference That Could Change Your Career

Musexpo 2016
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Musexpo 2016
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Musexpo 2016, Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood

Musexpo wants to answer a simple question.  What if you put everyone that matters in the same room?

As the music industry rapidly rebuilds itself, a couple of key conferences are returning with a vengeance.  But what’s the formula for remaining a relevant event over the next five years?

More importantly: what are the critical industry events that you — as an artist, company, or investor — must attend?

Easily making the short list is A&R Worldwide’s Musexpo, a longtime industry confab that pulls people from all over the world.  But a serious focus on a&r and relevant industry folk is likely to make this a must attend conference for years.

Talk to Musexpo founder Sat Bisla, and you’ll meet a guy who’s putting the so-called ‘power-players’ back into one space.  Bisla’s a brand-name in the talent and artist discovery worlds, and a respected ‘music guy’ (to use industry parlance).  Accordingly, there’s actually less focus on flashy tech and startup slams, and way more emphasis on the music itself.

That’s turning out to be a competitive advantage, with humans still picking the winning musicians ten years later (imagine that).  Now, Bisla is doubling down on the creativity focused, quality-over-quantity approach, and reaping some interesting results.  Starting with the attendees.

Who’s there?

Some of the ‘very important people’ showing up this year will be glaringly obvious, like the chairman of Universal Music Group.  Others are grooming artists and technologies that will conquer the world in five years.  Put the right artists into the mix, and you’re looking at Musexpo’s formula.

Bisla seems to be going for meaningful dealmaking, talent discovery, and lower-pressure networking.  And these are some of the people responding to that approach for the upcoming LA event:

  • Sir Lucian Grainge (Chairman/CEO, Universal Music Group)
  • David Massey (President/CEO, Island Records)
  • Alexandra Patsavas (Founder, Chop Shop Music Supervision)
  • Alex da Kid (Grammy-winning producer)
  • Joe Belliotti (Head of Global Music Marketing, Coca-Cola)
  • Savan Kotecha (Writer/producer for The Weeknd, One Direction, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry)
  • Craig Kallman (Chairman/CEO, Atlantic Records)
  • John Amato (President, The Hollywood Reporter/Billboard Media Group)
  • Greg Hammer (Managing Director, Red Bull Records)
  • Ben Cooper (Controller, BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra & BBC Asian Network)
  • Mandar Thakur (COO, Times Music India)
  • Mamie Coleman (VP, Music & Production, Fox Broadcasting Company)
  • Aton Ben-Horin (Global VP of A&R, Warner Music Group)
  • Monte Lipman (Co-Founder/CEO Republic Records)
  • Avery Lipman (Co-founder/CEO, Republic Records)
  • Mike Fink (Sr. Director Industry Relations, Pandora)
  • Luke Mitzman (Founder 100 Management; Manager of Apple/Beats 1’s Zane Lowe)
  • Mio Vukovic (Sr. VP A&R/Head Of Creative, Disney Music Group)
  • Pete Ganbarg (Head Of A&R, Atlantic Records Group)
  • Ron Bension (President, House of Blues Entertainment/Live Nation)
  • Jason Flom (CEO, Lava Records/Music Publishing)

There are about 100 more people of that caliber attending this thing, which kicks of April 30th at the W Hotel in Hollywood.   But that’s not to say that this is a mob/party scene.  Because it turns out that’s great for festivals, but not so great for serious music business events.

Yet another reason DMN has started seriously partnering with this conference.  We want to cover what these people are saying, on-stage and off.  But we also want to get a sense for what artists are performing and making connections, because we might just be looking at the next Ed Sheeran.

There’s also the location factor.

Sure, digital helped to decentralize the music industry away from New York and LA.  But it only did it halfway.  These days, influential companies can hail from places like Portland, San Diego, Austin, Stockholm, wherever.  But executives are still passing through Los Angeles multiple times a year, if they’re not ultimately deciding to relocate there.

And the broader location shift for music companies — tech or otherwise — has been towards LA.  Turns out location mattered a little more than we thought.  At least that’s been our experience (we’re based in Santa Monica).

That makes Musexpo’s job a lot easier, and explains why so many global companies and artists attend this event.  Let’s just say you’ll hear a lot of different accents here, native English or otherwise.  Indeed, some of these people are flying thousands of miles, and year-after-year regulars.

Artists: ‘Get Signed!’

Yeah, it’s a tired cliché.  Because artists that just want to ‘get signed’ are doing it wrong.  But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be meeting the people who do the signing when you’re ready to be signed.  And that goes for major label deals, publishing deals, management deals, and everything in-between.  Basically, any ‘major’ deal, label or otherwise.

Anyway, to sum it all up: I’ve been highly recommending this event for serious artists, their managers, and their labels, regardless of their exact stage.  If you can scrape together the funds, this might just change your career.

See you there.

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