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CD Baby Hosts First Austin Conference

After years in Nashville, independent music distributor CD Baby debuted its DIY Musician Conference in Austin last weekend. Roots drummer Questlove, founding Run-DMC member Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, and NPR All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen headlined three days of advice for independent artists. The halls of the Hilton Austin echoed with covers from open mic and jam rooms, hosting sessions spanning from fundamentals ("Prepare for Your Successful Release") to modern takes ("Making a Living Selling Beats Online").

The lineup integrated a solid standing of locals, including Alejandro Escovedo, Jackie Venson, and local show series Comedians Interviewing Musicians. Latina force Gina Chavez, a CD Baby user, packed hundreds of attendees into an opening session. The bilingual songwriter recapped her coming out as a lesbian and traveling as a cultural ambassador with the U.S. State Department.

Many conference attendees traveled from small music scenes, like a group from Juneau, Alaska, supported by hometown nonprofit Alaska Independent Music Initiative. Saturday evening, Questlove offered advice applicable to creatives anywhere:

"At the end of the day, real quality takes time. The first thing I always tell someone is to embrace boredom. That's where the best ideas come from, that silence and waiting."