The digital revolution has forever changed how we consume music; it has become ubiquitous as we listen to a wider variety of music than ever before. Whilst record labels are still a very effective route to market, Labels, understandably in this market, are signing fewer Artists. They now frequently want Artists to have already shown initiative by building their own fan base with some level of success before they are willing to make significant investment in their careers.
In turn, there appears to be increased potential for unsigned, independent Artists to breakthrough, finding new ways to promote and manage themselves. For many years people have been able to distribute tracks themselves, via the likes of iTunes and MySpace, and, through social networks, connect more effectively than ever before. Content can now be distributed and promoted far more easily and cheaply. This presents a fantastic opportunity for Artists – anyone in theory can now turn their music into a successful business by doing it themselves, giving them more control over their career than ever before.
Or can they? There are very few examples of Artists who have done this successfully and none on any major scale. The opportunity is also the threat. Because anyone can do this, everyone does; and thus the market is crowded making it extremely difficult to achieve cut through. Additionally, many people do not fully appreciate or recognise how to position themselves and fully utilise the tools, especially digital tools, available to them. It is complex to navigate but, most of all, while the mediums and tools are changing, the principles remain the same – you need to produce outstanding music and know how to create heat around what you are doing.
Whilst, for example, technology has created the opportunity for people to make music in their bedroom, the equipment with which to do so remains rather sophisticated. Thus, you may own pro tools, but this does not make you a music producer – it is necessary to learn the skills required to use them effectively.
This is the missing link in DIY Artist careers. Consumers are currently missing out on a wealth of talent, which, with a little inspiration, encouragement and innovation, could have very successful careers, whether the ultimate goal is to be signed or to do it yourself.
The purpose of MusicConnex is to facilitate and encourage artists to take control of their career and help empower them to liberate their dreams. We aim to encourage the sharing of ideas, insight and experience to inspire each other by facilitating debate around the issues facing young and established artists alike. The idea is to create conversation and show by example amongst industry professionals and artists, as well as artist to artist, in order to get people interacting, celebrating successes and looking positively at the opportunities this new world provides.
The event takes the form of a 3 day conference incorporating panels, seminars, workshops and exhibitors, with additional evening showcase gigs. This provides the chance for aspiring Artists to learn about emerging digital platforms from industry professionals who create and use them, as well as from more established Artists who have employed these digital platforms to increase their profile and capitalize on it. Similarly, experienced Artists and professionals will have the opportunity to learn from emerging talent, and, we hope, benefit from what they have to offer. Furthermore, those coming from the digital world have an unparalleled opportunity to network, promote their product and better understand their markets’ needs.
The focus of this event is on optimism and embracing change, concentrating on the varied and enterprising wealth of opportunity available to present day artists. A new culture of self-motivated, enterprising, creative and innovative music professionals is emerging. MusicConnex wants to help facilitate, inspire and empower them to realise their ambitions and dreams.
Jon has over 20 years experience as a successful entertainment executive occupying a number of senior roles in the Music, Media and Events industries, establishing an extensive network. Starting out at Kiss as a pirate, Jon soon acquired a senior management role at EMAP where he was responsible for creating successful live events and record label business for leading brands such as Kiss, Kerrang! Smash hits and Mixmag. More recently, he took on overall responsibility for music content for BBC Worldwide, where he worked on the likes of Glastonbury Festival and the Electric Proms. Jon also co-founded Touch Magazine and remains part of the Solar Radio team today. Consistently delivering high quality content for TV, Radio, Live Events and Digital platforms, Jon’s experience covers a wide spectrum of multi-media coverage of successful large scale events.