The MEGAPHONO music conference and showcase event is growing up so fast. From February 8-10, The Metcalfe Hotel in downtown Ottawa was full of industry professionals and artists, learning from each other during the day, and having a good time at local venues on both sides of the river at night.
One of the really special features about MEGAPHONO in Ottawa, I find, is how much genuine, direct access is offered (something hard to cultivate at really big events, which I’ve found can be a little cliquey). International delegates and local bands could be seen eating lunch together, hanging back and continuing conversations after the panels was encouraged – hey, I even lent my winter boots to an A&R rep here from Los Angeles for the weekend!
The one downside, in my humble opinion, to the expansion of this conference, is that they more than doubled the amount of panels and events taking place, forcing me to make difficult decisions on what I should attend. In the end, I spent Thursday and Friday in the Edwards room of the hotel (and spoke on the social media panel), and Saturday running my trade show booth at Capital Rehearsal Studios.
Since I was not able to be everywhere at once, I will not claim this article as a “Top 10” list. Rather, these are ten quotes I captured throughout the weekend, ranging from insider music business strategies to accidental poetry – all of which weave the beautiful tapestry of what MEGAPHONO 2018 was to me.
“Never stop expanding your network.” – Kvesche Bijons-Ebacher (Lido Pimienta / Bésé / Spawnkiss), during Tricks From The 6ix: Breaking Into Canada’s Biggest Music City.
“I would always recommend going first to a publisher. […] What I’ve been telling a lot of artists is start by trying to reach out to publishing companies, send a few songs at a time, say ‘hey, could you send me some feedback on my songs?’ Try to build a relationship with a publisher who might bring you onto their roster or at least put you into development.” – Kim Temple (Six Shooter Publishing), during Getting A Foot In The Door: Trends In Sync Licensing And Publishing.
“When you’re in a new city, it’s really hard to put yourself out there. […]. Be the face that everyone remembers.” – Aliya Pabani (Canadaland), during Tricks From The 6ix: Breaking Into Canada’s Biggest Music City.
“We are in the entertainment business, but at the same time, it’s what we can do that is a greater good.” – Moni Saldana (NRMAL), during Looking South: What We Can Learn From The Latin American Music Explosion.
“The one way you can make sure we do get in touch is by leaving your contact info in the .mp3 metadata.” – Natalie Neri (Instinct Entertainment), during Getting A Foot In The Door: Trends In Sync Licensing And Publishing.
“Generally as an A&R person, I tend to look for artists who already have a story built in […] It’s really hard playing catch up, so it’s better to come out of the gate banging.” – Lio Kanine (Kanine Records), during National Hum: Building Buzz & Making It Last.
“I just feel like there is a natural lifecycle to DIY spaces. […] Venues will go through a trend, as much as bands or artists themselves. It’s almost just human nature that change is a part of it […]. I cherish and appreciate the transient nature of DIY spaces, and I feel like the people who come up in a DIY community have that organic element to their lives as well […] I think there’s a beauty to it.” – Aerin Fogel (Queen of Swords / Venusfest), during Tricks From The 6ix: Breaking Into Canada’s Biggest Music City.
“Border patrol will Google you.” – Liana White (American Federation of Musicians), during Coming To America: How To Get A P2 Visa.
“From an editorial perspective, nothing is more exciting than hearing about an artist who’s not from Toronto […]. It’s super exciting to rep where you’re from. That sort of becomes a special element.” – Melissa Vincent (A.Side / Pitchfork), during Tricks From The 6ix: Breaking Into Canada’s Biggest Music City.
“There’s a difference between live music, and alive music.” – Eric Landry (Artist).
See you all back at MEGAPHONO next year!