So this year I had the opportunity to go to Toronto for a week to help out with Canadian Music Week. This week in Toronto is a combination of different conferences (digital media, music) and multiple festivals (music, film, comedy). Being someone interested in working within the music industry, I was pretty excited. I would be attending difference conference panels and music events as social media correspondence on behalf of Audio Blood.
(Me with my credentials!)
There were a couple days where a few of us got together and just put together promotional materials and did some postering, and I was also able to catch a show on the Tuesday.
At an unlikely venue in the form of Goorin Brothers Hat Shop… I caught the first ever acoustic performance from ATTAGIRL. The boys sounded great, I was joined by other Audio Blood people, and beers were passed around. I took a short video which can be viewed HERE. I ended up buying their album off of them (even though they offered it to me for free) — the album art is gorgeous.
But when Wednesday came around, it was time to head to the Digital Media Summit Conference to do some live tweeting for the Canadian Music Week account. Jay Samit‘s panel (Founder of ooVoo, former CEO of Universal Studios Media, Sony, EMI Music…) , “The Next Wave Of Social Network Trends” stuck out to me that day; he’s a great speaker and was talking about some pretty interesting stuff. Some people don’t quite take YouTube seriously, but apparently Music accounts for 40% of the videos played on YouTube. A basic summary of what I took away from the Digital Media conference was tv=meh, mobile applications = good. Being in a room full of people on average at least 10 years older than me talking about what my generation is now into was interesting to say the least…It was a great experience though, and I felt pretty at home with everyone using their social media applications to report on the information they were receiving. Oh Yea, and I creeped a little bit on Massari ( Lebanese/Canadian hip hop/pop singer) getting interviewed in the lobby. I felt like I should have recognized more people. It’s just a little awkward feeling like you should know who the person next to you is, but you just can’t figure it out. The lobby of the Marriott (where the conferences were held) were filled my musicians and music industry people all week.
Thursday was the day for me to attend and tweet from the Music Summit Conference.After all of that sitting around, I was able to check into my room for a quick nap before heading out to The Sound Academy to see Coheed and Cambria to snap a couple pictures for CMW’s instagram (yup, this was my job). I had been a fan of Coheed for a few years, so I was was more than happy to do this. I got as close as I could, but the pictures still came out blurry. Still, you can’t deny it’s them because of Claudio’s impressive hair. The band sounds great live, and I regret only being able to make it half way through their set. I’m still just a little confused as to why an American band was playing Canadian music week….but hey, I’m not complaining. I meant to head out to some more shows after the show was over, but I unfortunately was hit by a massive migraine. So off to bed I went in preparation for Day 3!
While sitting in on Jason Silva’s panel, Alan Cross walked in and found a seat (which happened to be next to me). I’d be lying if I said I didn’t fan-girl a little bit. Next up was a panel on music industry trends. I was not surprised to find out that Buble, Bieber, Nickelback, and Dion were leading with the highest percentage in Canada’s album sales. Some interesting notes:
- Canadian artists owned 24% of Canadian music sales (down since 2011)
- Digital sales now accounts for more than 50% of the market.
- Physical albums down 12%
Nothing overly surprising, but it was interesting to hear the actual statistics, as well as learning that in terms of percentages, the Canadian music industry outperformed the US.
Next up, I attended a panel on “The Power of Blogs” mediated by Bob Lefsetz, and featuring Alan Cross, Broadcaster/Journalist; Nate Auerbach, Music & Strategy Outreach, Tumblr; Chris Budd, blogger at Indie Music Filter; Catherine Lacbay, blogger at Buying Shots for Bands; Chad Hutchings, Editor-In-Chief/Write at Sticky Magazine, and Rob Figarola, A&R, Wind up Records and owner of dailyunsigned.com. First of all, I know Bob Lefsetz has accomplished a lot with his blog, The Lefsetz Letter, but he was SO condescending to the panelists, which began to get a tad annoying. We honestly didn’t get the opportunity to hear from a majority on the panel. Rob Figarola, having a fairly strong personality himself, did manage to get a few words in, although most of this panel sounded like an interrogation (which is unfortunate). Figarola touched on that there is profit to be made in blogs (dailyunsigned.com charging $3 per submission, but costing $5000 a month for bandwidth)…given that he recieves 11000 a month and claims to listen to them all. He does note, which is admirable, that he doesn’t consider the production or audio quality of submissions, but only the quality of the music. Lefsetz completely dismissed Nate Auerbach, and it seemed that Lefsetz did not see the value in Tumblr (also unfortunate, given that a huge demographic now heavily uses Tumblr over Facebook). *Sigh* another instance of industry pros who sometimes miss the point. Though something that was new to me was that Tumblr launched a new initiative about a month ago that reaches out to artists and music blogs to help them build and improve their Tumblr presence.
I then sat in on an interview with Steve Lillywhite music producer (5 time Grammy Award Winner, who has worked with some great artists. He had some interesting stories: “The Smiths broke up for reasons I won’t say if this is being filmed”, Steve Lillywhite talking about working with Morrissey. I also attended panels on Mobile & Social Media Strategies…which I admit on walking out on due the ignorant comments made by Jonathan Block, Founder/Chairman, TheHub.fm (I wish I hadn’t, but I had a long day!). A basic summary is that he believes that they can eliminate online music piracy (do you know how the internet works, Mr. Block?), and he stated that young people and those who download music don’t appreciate art or culture (a bold statement). I believe I wasn’t the only one that walked out while he was talking.
The first panel of the next day was on Toronto’s Music City Initiative (which I think will warrent it’s own blog that I will link to here when ready). I’m actually very excited about this initiative that Music Canada is launching. I also appreciate that they retweeted a couple of my live posts during the panel!
Next I was off to the Church of the Holy Trinity that was directly behind the the Marriott to catch the CBC 3 Nooner performances. This was my first time attending a concert inside a church, and it sounded BEAUTIFUL. I was able to catch Folly and the Hunter (from Montreal) before I had to head out to some record store shows. The indie folk group sounded amazing with the church’s acoustics– great experience. I took a short video that can be viewed HERE.
I walked around Toronto quite a bit until I found my way to June Records to see an acoustic set by Miesha and The Spanks (minus The Spanks). I had written an album review for their release, Gods of Love, when I had been working at 94.9 CHRW. I was then off to another store when I was called back to the Marriott to help out with some promotion.
Maybe I’m just getting old (at the ripe age of 22), but I then needed another nap before heading out to the evening shows. My original plan was to head out to The Horseshoe Tavern to see The Zolas, before peeking in to Rivola to see Ben Caplen (which I had missed out on the night before due to my migraine), then onto The Hoxton to tweet about Protest the Hero (another band I’m a fan of), finishing off at Cherry Cola’s to see a few others. Things don’t always go as planned: I caught The Zola’s final song, Ben Caplen’s show was starting late, so I left to The Hoxten where I arrived JUST in time for Protest the Hero. The place was of course packed, but due to my short stature, I was able to sneak up close enough to see the stage, and other things: Yup, that was me.
I leave you with the one photo I caught of Protest the Hero that wasn’t a complete blur. I then was going to Cherry Cola’s, when I noticed I had a “follower”. Oh the joys of trying to enjoy Toronto’s night life as a solo female. I tried! So off back to my room I went, and thus concluded my CMW experience. Honestly I was exhausted either way, and I was able to pick up some delicious Thai food and catch up on all that happened on the Internet that day. I had really wanted to make more shorter blogs each day I was in Toronto, but there was always so much going on, and I only had my smartphone: so micro blogging it was. If you’re interested, my twitter handle is @pixxistixxx . Overall I really enjoyed my week at Canadian Music Week. I lived and breathed music, and although somewhat relieved to head back home, it was a bittersweet departure. It was great being around so many people in the music industry, a place I hope to find myself someday. Many of the panels were very inspiring, and it was a great opportunity. I’ll be posting more about Music Canada’s Toronto Music Initiative later this week. Talk soon!