Last weekend, Creative Production Partners general manager, Karen Sanchez attended Revolt’s first annual music conference (RMC) in Miami, FL. As Karen mentions below, it’s been a while since there’s been a major music conference like RMC, but at a time when not one album has gone platinum this year, it seems to be needed more than ever!
Karen’s been in and around the music industry for decades and has a ton of knowledge about the business. After two days soaking up learnings from some of the industry’s most influential figures, Karen typed up a few takeaways so we could share with our CPP family. Enjoy!
Most of the conferences I attended early on in my career were built around black and urban music. And most of those big conferences have long gone away. I think the last music conference I attended was before 2000. I would imagine it would be due in part to the music business changing and the money from both labels and sponsors not being as easily accessible as it once was. I can’t say that I missed them per say, however, being at RMC made me miss SOMETHING about them. When I saw the lineup for RMC, I was impressed and instantly knew I wanted to attend. The panelists and topics impressed me most. My boss approved my request to head to Miami for the weekend, and I was on my way!
I’m so glad I went because I appreciated every moment of the conference. To have a music conference in a city like Miami Beach is like having a bunch of five-year-olds at the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory. It’s very easy to get distracted by the beach, the beautiful people, and the…ahem…alchohol, lol. And yet, the 8am breakfasts and sessions were packed both mornings. It was nuts! That’s usually unheard of at most conferences, especially in the music industry, but trust me the early morning wake up calls were worth it.
The panel topics and panelists exceeded all of my expectations, more than validating the high price tag. For someone like myself who is a bit of a hybrid when it comes to exactly what I do, and exactly for who and where I do what I do, I can honestly say, I walked away from each panel with a little nugget of information and knowledge. Something that I either I didn’t already know or something I needed to hear again.
The panelists were diverse – race, gender, positions, experience and entertainment expertise. They were engaging, likable and smart. They kept it real and right, and spoke their truth from what they knew and experienced.
Truth and experiences are two things I strongly believe in sharing.
I think it’s important, not only for the younger generation who need to hear it like it is, but it’s also important for vets like myself. It helps you get a different perspective and sometimes makes things a little more clear. Sharing, while being honest and forthright can only bring about change and growth. Both are great in business and in life.
Guy Oseary, Madonna’s long-time manager, really spoke to me when he discussed his new endeavor, Maverick Management, that includes a very eclectic and varied group of mangers in the music industry. They could be viewed on some levels as competitors. However, his take on that, and of so many of the other speakers over the weekend, was, if you are always worried about the competition, looking over your shoulder and across the room at what the next person is doing and how they are doing it, you are already losing. You are losing because you are operating from the belief that there is not enough to go around. And if you act from that place, then there WON’T be enough to go around. It’s the simple law of attraction.
Guy’s feeling is that there is more than enough space for everyone to win. He said, the amount of things we can achieve together (speaking of the folks he put together) are so much more than we can do and achieve separately. The idea is about putting like-minded people together to have a power base to effect change. There are a lot of things going on in the music business, a lot of division –an idea of divide and conquer. But if the music industry is a unit, and people come together to build on the unit, it will be hard to be overtaken.
Sticking with the positive attraction theme was Russell Simmons. He had a ballroom filled with folks on a Saturday at 830am. In silence…meditating! That is all I will say about that. #Brilliant
The Brands and Strategy panel had some big dawgs with a TON of experience on it. None were very eager to share the places where they had to “pivot” (new word for failing or messing up), but they were all very clear on how important the collaboration, and exchange of energy across the board is for brands and artists.
That although the money is there, it needs to be beneficial to both parties. Chasing the check or taking all the money at the door doesn’t guarantee your longevity in the business, and ultimately that is what will KEEP you getting checks! My mother always says, “less is more,” and that’s the story here too. In other words, don’t be greedy. Build a lasting relationship where both parties benefit for the long haul, and everyone wins!
I can honestly say, now I get and understand the whole “BRAND” thing. It is the new buzz word. It’s a word that for some reason continues to irk me. But I do better understand why building a brand, being a brand, and protecting a brand is the new focus. I think I am going to start talking to my 11-year-old daughter about her brand as a black, smart, and creative young woman in 2014. Being real and clear on what her brand is and looks like, and what she wants to convey and share with others interested in her brand. Forging relationships that are authentic and real! Working hard for herself, so others will want to do the same for her. I feel like those things above can totally be applied to parenting, not just artist development and the music industry.
I didn’t see any of the artist showcases, but truth be told, I wasn’t that interested. However, I did attend the lovely gala honoring music industry legend and Beats by Dre co-founder Jimmy Iovine. There was an open bar with flowing cocktails (not all Ciroc either!) outside on the ballroom terrace that was followed by a yummy sit down of surf and turf dinner. The dinner was finished off with some fancy filled chocolate dessert that burst and bled all over the plate when the waiters poured some steamy liquid on top. It was cute.
Speeches were delivered by the mayor of Miami Beach, Puff, Revolt’s CEO Keith Clinkscale, Andre Harrell and of course the man of the evening, Jimmy Iovine.
They were all proud and thankful as they commented on how hard people worked to put together an amazing weekend. They were also humbled and grateful to all the conference attendees, who spent a lot of money to travel, attend the conference and support Revolt. Puff, Keith and Andre all got keys to the city, which I thought was extra fun!
Overall, it was definitely a feel good moment. As someone who’s been in and around the business for decades, it was especially fun to see so many of the same faces still in the mix from all of those years ago, and still making money. They are just a bit older, a bit chubbier, and are talking about social media instead of street teams, and brands instead of image.
Also, the hospitality of the Revolt Team was amazing. Their level of professionalism, from the interns/volunteers up to the executives, was top notch. Revolt and everyone who had anything to do with the conference knocked it out of the park. The only I suggestion I have is to invite some sports execs going forward. Sports and music are so interconnected these days that sports was discussed at almost every panel. Yet, there wasn’t anyone from the sports industry on hand to lend real insight. But overall, it was a wonderful conference and I was happy to have participated. I will be back next year for sure!
Ne-Yo fans, if you’ve been begging Ne-Yo to stay stateside and give you the show of a lifetime, your prayers have been answered.
On Sunday in San Francisco, the singer, songwriter and dancer kicked off The Prelude Tour, where he will be playing House of Blues venues nationally. And tonight the tour continues in Anaheim with some future stops including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Washington DC, and finally Chicago.
As you await Ne-Yo’s sixth studio album, NONFICTION, to drop in early 2015, don’t miss a chance to see the multi-Grammy winning singer perform the hits you love – “So Sick,” “Give Me Everything,” “Miss Independent,” “Closer,” and of course his new smash, “She Knows,” in an up close and personal setting. Click here to buy your tickets today!
photo via Instagram/NeYo