Last weekend, I had the immense privilege of being invited to cover the San Diego Music Thing. Bringing together a host of noteworthy music industry professionals and accomplished songwriter veterans, SDMT was a major success. Joined by photographer James Gutierrez, I have experienced one of the coveted moments as a journalist when you realize how very fortunate you are.
The first day was composed of panels including “Music Industry 101,” “Shout It Out: PR & Promoting Your Music,” and “Secrets of Synchronization.” The latter and largest panel included speakers Brett Andersen of The Donnas, as well as various industry vets including Jeff Gray and John Anderson of Hunnypot Unlimited. Hunnypot has established itself as a leading independent music publishing/placement company representing the catalogues of Far East Movement, The Robotanists, Das Tapes, Peachcake, Teenage Bottlerocket, Bonhom, Seven Saturdays and more. The panel explained, in explicit detail, why it’s no longer taboo or “selling out” for bands to seek synchronizations.
Kim Gordon gave the keynote that afternoon, beginning with a storm of prose and wrapping with her sardonic and witty (and obviously obligatory) Q&A. Full coverage of Day One can be found here.
Day Two of the SDMT began on the more responsible side of things. With panels like “Lawyers, Guns and Money” and Every Artist Insured, Finding Affordable Healthcare under Covered California,” aspiring and working musicians could ask advice of top experts in the field on issues of copyright, trademark and medical insurance.
Followed by the “Producers Roundtable,” “Website Demolition Derby” and panel entitled “Bands and Brands,” the conference shifted to some heavy-hitting PR. With the theme notably focusing on cross-marketing and collaboration, more than ever it seems musicians are being asked to take on roles they could never have imaged twenty years ago.
With the afternoon providing a honest and intimate talk with The Cure’s Lol Tolhurst, a very apparent thesis became a constant throughout the conference. Mike Herrera (MxPx, Tumbledown) spoke last, and proved no different. Success, failure and plans within plans proved the premise of the weekend, and each artist lent to this subject matter in their own unique and brilliant way. Check out full coverage of day two.
In summary, aspiring musicians were able to take away some very valuable and pragmatic ideals for action. In the closing talk, Herrera states the following:
“Maybe you didn’t start out executing exactly what you thought you would, and arrive at the conclusion you thought you would, but you’re always going to end up somewhere, and you need to make that your success. You can’t always dictate where life takes you. You can’t plan everything. So Plans Within Plans being my idea…the big plan shouldn’t change too often, but the little plans change every day; constantly. It’s a matter of tackling each thing, and making it happen. Defining success for yourself is so important because you can’t say that what’s good for you is good for everybody. You’ve just got to define for you what it is you’re looking for, what it is you’re going for, and that’s what you work on. How you get there is the most important thing. It’s not where you are; it’s how you’re getting there, and it’s where you’re going.”
Check out my final post and comprehensive highlights here.
Photo credit: James A. W. Gutierrez