On June 17-19, before all the madness of EDC Las Vegas began, the third annual EDMbiz Conference was held at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. This was also the first year it featured an expo along with two days of speakers and panels from the best and brightest in the music business. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love electronic music and I’m even more fascinated by the business behind it. To be able to share a floor with some of the most intelligent minds in the industry, is a dream come true.
The organization of the event was a bit disappointing, especially for an Insomniac event. The first day, the speakers started 30 minutes late, and they were still setting up at the time it was supposed to start. Further, all the information leading up to the event was released much later than I expected (i.e.- event schedule, names of speakers, exhibitors, etc.). However, it was still an enlightening experience nonetheless. After all, I got to listen to and meet legends such as Tommie Sunshine, Carl Cox, Above & Beyond, Bob Lefsetz (author of ‘The Lefsetz Letter’), and Skip Page (creator of Coachella Music Festival), along with up and comers like the entire #20Something panel (including Krewella Manager, Jake Udell, and Martin Garrix manager, Michael George), Hardwell, Arty, Danny Avila, and many more.
Being a big marketing guy, I really found the presentation by Tatiana Simonian (“Engaging the Electronic Music Listener”) to be very intriguing. She went through a new study that her company, Nielsen Group, had just completed about how brands can effectively become involved in the electronic music industry. The results her and her team came up with were fantastic and any business would easily be able to come up with a new marketing strategy simply based on the facts she presented.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the hour we shared with Bob Lefsetz. For those of you who don’t know, Lefsetz is one of the most outspoken people in the music climate, and has been that way for a long time. He started writing a blog before blogs were even a thing, kids! That’s right… He would write his take on certain subjects surrounding the music industry (and other facets of entertainment) and print them on actual paper, which would be mailed to his subscribers. He is an extremely smart man even when it comes to electronic music, seeing as he was a music attorney prior to becoming a figure in the industry at large. I also got one of the best pieces of advice from him during the two days of the conference, “If you’re not willing to starve, then get out now.”
Moderator John Boyle had asked one final question of Lefsetz when the presentation was wrapping up, which was, “What is one piece of advice you would give all the young aspiring minds who want to break into this industry?” His answer was frighteningly accurate. If you were like me, a starry-eyed, 22-year old, recent college graduate, who had spent his last $1,000 to come to this conference in Vegas in hopes of landing a job in an industry that is extremely difficult to enter, this would just about make your stomach drop out from under you. I couldn’t help but take a few minutes after he left the stage to lean back in my chair and take those words in. I first thought that he meant that this business wasn’t for anyone. That anyone here who doesn’t already have a job should turn around and run out of the room as fast as they could and catch the next plane back to their hometown where they should start hunting for a more conventional 9-to-5 job. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized what he was actually saying. That if you’re really serious about it, and you actually want to pursue a career in music—whether it be in the creative side or the business side—that you have to dedicate your life to it, and you have to be willing to sacrifice everything you have for it.
In those five to ten minutes between panels, I sorted through all the thoughts running through my mind. The answer wasn’t meant to take a lot of thought, but I saw it as more of a challenge than anything else. Where others may have seen it as discouragement. Whatever your interpretation of that quote might be, you will do great in whatever you put your mind to, but in this day and age, it’s not enough to have just your mind in it, you have to throw your life and body into it as well. You can achieve whatever you set your mind to. Just take Lefsetz’ words and go out and apply that to anything you might aspire to accomplish. If you are not willing to starve to accomplish your goals, then they are not the goals you truly strive to accomplish.
Photo Source: EDMbiz