In 2017, CDBaby Artist and SoundPress.net founder Rockin' Rich Lynch attended his first DIY Musician Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. While there on the scene with hundreds of other individuals all pursuing a similar dream Lynch found a welcoming and inspiring creative community. So, it was fitting that this year's Fourth Annual event returned to the Omni Hotel from August 24 to 26, 2018 with a related underlying theme to match.
Once again, Music City made room for an additional 1500 independent artists who were converging on Tennessee in the hopes of taking their career to the next level. CD Baby states that their DIY Musician Conference is the only event of its type that focuses solely on the needs of today's independent artist. It is true that it does elicit extreme excitement from the attendees as they move from special industry panels, insightful seminars and mentoring sessions throughout the action packed three days in the heart of the downtown.
It all kicked off on Thursday night with a V.I.P. party hosted by H.O.M.E. on Main Street. DIY Musician Conference speakers, industry leaders and some of Nashville's most interesting people gathered for bites, drinks and networking at one of this town's newest collaborative spaces complete with all the bells and whistles needed to start making a big noise with your music career.
The acronym H.O.M.E. stands for "Helping Our Music Evolve" and the complex just outside of the city center boasts a recording studio, a live performance space with global streaming capabilities, meet-up rooms and plenty of space to be creative or just relax. The brainchild and founder of the facility is Logan Crowell - a featured panelist at Day One's "Creating Music Communities" session. He explained that the idea grew out of frustration that in his experience when he asked around about where to find and mingle with other musicians in this town - the answer usually was "go to a bar".
At the DIY Musician Conference musicians had no trouble finding other like minded peers as Day One and Day Two both offered opportunities to gather in pre-show "genre meet up rooms". Here it was common to see artists exchanging business cards and CDs while making plans to possibly meet up later on at the popular Jam room set-up with stage, P.A. and loaner instruments in a variety of genres including rock, pop, rap, country, R&B and even Native American smooth jazz. These categories and many more were all enthusiastically represented in Nashville.
Once artists find their community it's imperative that they get a release ready for their new found audience and marketplace. Be it a single, EP or full album project we learned at the "Preparing Your Music For Successful Release" panel that it's always important to give yourself enough time to get everything ready - your music, masters, press photos, artwork, t-shirts and anything else - all in order to make the biggest splash possible. Attendees were advised to hit all the mile markers along the way in order to build bold anticipation for their product and to make it as easy as possible for bloggers and writers to tell their story.
In the hallway of the Omni's second floor we caught up with two of our favorite people at the Conference - CDBaby's Kevin Breuner and their publicist Dmitri "Crazy Pants" Vietze of Rock Paper Scissors. We interviewed Kevin back in the Spring at the Music Biz undertaking where he confirmed the near death of the "MP3 download". Still, that doesn't mean artists can't earn a living making music and focus groups such as "Get Your Music on Spotify Playlists" and "Successful Release Strategies in a Streaming World" addressed the new - and sometimes daunting - realities facing musicians today.
This year - CDBaby Artist and SoundPress.net founder Rockin' Rich Lynch - went into the event with a burst of inspiration and a goal to talk with as many of the conference attendees as possible. For several hours he conducted an impromptu meet and greet with a variety of talent from all over the globe where he promised to listen to their music. Check out this list to discover the ones he liked the best from the Fourth Annual gathering of do-it-yourselfers.
After two years in the Windy City followed by a pair of events in Nashville the DIY Musician Conference closed with the announcement that the 2019 host city will be the "Live Music Capitol of the World" - Austin. The video clip promised that everything is bigger in the Lone Star State and that applies to the DIY, too. While we're sad to see it go it's guaranteed that a good time will be had by all as CDBABY et al head west. If you are an independent artist the Fifth Annual DIY Music Conference will be one to remember and should sell out fast. So, book that trip now and get ready to commune with your tribe in Texas.