ASCAP EXPO and Musexpo; both excellent LA music conferences, although extremely different from each other!

24 May, 2011 | Coluna do Robert Singerman

Just returned from two excellent music conferences; (ASCAP EXPO schedule) and (Musexpo schedule) which truly are opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to music conferences. However, both ends meet in peak professionalism, high level panels, VIP attendees and execs, meeting new and old friends, dealmaking, learning, concentrated music showcases and, personally, great fun.

ASCAP EXPO was first and the Brasil Music Exchange had some table space through the generosity of Gigmaven, who were reciprocating from having been offered space at the BM&A SXSW booth. Coincidentally, while on email at the table, I learned that Gigmaven, through their partnership with Toque No Brasil, are starting to sell online tickets to the Sampa Music Festival in Brazil, the beginning of the TNB/GM business (brasil music) exchange.

The “leftover” APAP/Womex Scubidu brochures + cd samplers, Porto Musical postcards, New Brazilian Music, Brazil New Series, Redemotiva cds, imusica digital download cards etc. have now been distributed at Midem, Porto Musical, Canadian Music WeekJazzahead (through Dirk, bringing them over from CMW), SXSW, ASCAP EXPO and Musexpo, nice way to reduce baggage costs back to Brazil and have space to buy things in NYC! If they haven’t run out first, they’ll also be going to the Western Australian Music Industry festival in Perth, Australia  Digital and Music Matters in Singapore and Trigger Creative Conference @ The Peace + Love Festival in Sweden. So, producers of Brazilian music, please get me, (if not Dirk and Jody), your samples, although we favor the B,M&A official compilations in this less and less “physical” world.

ASCAP EXPO is also one of two national membership meetings, so all ASCAP members have very low prices to attend and attend they do; probably 2,000+ publishers, songwriters attended the Expo in LA. ASCAP is one of the three performing rights organizations in the US, the only one owned and controlled by it’s members; publishers and songwriters, and is run as a not-for-profit, the other two are BMI and SESAC. The other ASCAP national membership meeting and conference is a one day event in NYC, called New York  Sessions, which I missed, as I was coaching in an incredible international collaborative songwriting camp in Seefeld, Austria.

I had attended the 2010 ASCAP EXPO and loved the speeches by Bill Withers, Quincy Jones, Justin Timberlake and Ludacris, as well as the spirit and enthusiasm of all the songwriters, learning the craft and the business and tools of songwriting and publishing. It was also an excellent opportunity to do business, as the companies exhibiting were open, had their top people, founders and CEO’s presenting, were easily reached, with time to discuss their various opportunities. They also had high level panels and corporate presentations, which allowed companies to actually present clearly all the functions and intricacies of their business. For example, Nimbit in 2010 had me convinced of their direct to fan management services and tools as a needed proponent of any artist’s tools.

This year, I was more “tied” to the table, although I did leave from time to time to visit other tables, executives and caught a few excellent panels, one on global publishing, with Sean Devine, international membership director moderating with p.r.o. membership directors from Holland, Sweden, the UK and the successful international songwriter, AM. For those who are interested, (me included), the panels are available to stream at home, over 50 panels, with over 60 hours of content, for $149. While ASCAP EXPO is certainly not as international in scope as Musexpo, the businesses there, from Ariel Hyatt’s Cyber PR, to BandzoogleYoubloomNimbitBroadjamDitto MusicGigmaven,  Music 18088tc88 and many others who exhibited are well worth checking out, meeting and doing business with, as possible. There were some Brazilian songwriters, based in the US and DJ’s and radio stations interested in playing Brazilian music and the Brazilian cds I did occasionally offer the “right” profile attendee were very well received. One singer of Brazilian and Japanese descent, Kana, singing traditional and original songs, in Portuguese, through her music’s presence playing in the background, at the John of God (Brazilian Healer’s), spiritus movement’s first European gathering, had sold thousands of her cds as her producer told me the incredible story. I heard the Dr. Luke speech was “brilliant”, (Neill Dixon, owner CMW) and Pharrell Williams was also a “hit’”, according to others.

The parties, showcases, panels, speeches, prizes awarded by many exhibitors, all really good! A new friend, singer-songwriter Rahe, who also sings in Portuguese, won a beautiful ukulele and got to perform at the ASCAP Playback Stage, just before Ariel Hyatt’s presentation of her new book on working social media, two highlights I watched. Attendee prizes, raffled off by the exhibitors included a full registration pass to next March’s Canadian Music Week, where the focus will be on Brazil, Latin America, Sapin and Portugal and a free album release for 3 years on over 800 Million mobile phones in China, by 88TC88 and software, headphones, premium memberships, etc.

Special personal thanks and admiration goes to Lauren Iossa, SVP of marketing @ ASCAP, a long-time friend who produces the event, with all the great ASCAP staff, since and before it’s inception.

Oh, and did I say PRINCE was in town, for only $25 a seat at the Forum, one of the best sounding indoor amphitheaters in the world (ex-home of the LA Lakers), and of course, we had to catch two nights! Purple thanks to the Prince lighting designer, Matt Schneider, very good friend of a good friend, who got us VIP seating for both shows! (Whitney Houston smiled and winked at me after I smiled at her, at the party backstage….really hope she’s ok now!)

After Prince and Whitney, the very next evening after early morning! meetings, Musexpo  opened, after a very nice Swedish music export and Embassy schmooze event, (thanks Patrick and Anders!), where I brought some LA musician, writer producer friends, Wayne Vaughn (ASCAP member), who co-wrote Let’s Groove and works, produces and/or is friends with with many Brazilian artists, (Jovan, Ed MottaSandra de Sa, among others. Wayne got his good friends Stevie Wonder and Maurice White to perform on an album he produced of noJazz, a great French band I still manage, as they all really liked the band. When noJazz played Recife Jazz Festival and met Ademir Araujo, the maestro of Frevo music, they fell in love with his music and cut their own version of one of his songs with Ademir the next evening, a very empassioned song, with Ademir “slamming” in Portuguese. Also with us was Antonia Bennett, wonderful singer, artist, (sound familiar, yes…Tony’s her Dad and she still tours with him, while launching her solo career.) And, from France, Abaji, a multi-instrumentalist, singing in 5 languages, amazing artist, just back from Chinese and Ukraine festivals and working on music for films, tv, trailers, advertising, with over 300 different instruments. Wayne’s headed down to Sao Paolo, Brazil this week to play as special guest with Victor Brooks’ group @ Bourbon St., May 19-22 and then a SP festival, and afterwards will move to Rio to get in the studio cutting tracks for BRita BRazil. Brasil Music Exchange!


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