With a growing music community and the ability to network and connect to virtually anywhere in the world, it’s easy to get locked into the digital communication world. Social media and video conferencing are great tools when used properly, but nothing measures up to a good old face-to-face conversation, especially when it comes to networking in the music industry.
Events such as: North By… and South By… festivals, Canadian Music Week, and Indie Week, allow for musicians to not only travel and learn from industry professionals, but they also provide the opportunity to showcase their music to a large audience of industry professionals, other musicians, and most importantly, to music lovers. With most of the events lasting a few days, and others lasting up to a week, musicians should always take in as much as they can when attending these festivals and conferences.
Indie403 caught up with 2 musicians and a magazine editor, all based in Calgary, who attended the 2013 Canadian Music Week in Toronto.
Curtis Butala – Vocalist for Kingdom of Few
Michael Valenzuela – Drummer for Septembryo
Shannon Ambrose – Chief Managing Editor and Founder of The Portal Magazine
Here are some comments from the musicians side of attending Canadian Music Week:
Curtis: “This trip marked the 2nd time Kingdom of Few has made the trip to Toronto, the first time being for Toronto Indie Week. The connections that we made [during] our first trip lent well to our experience at CMW, allowing us to book more shows and network more effectively…and drink for free!
What you see right away at CMW is that a vibrant and passionate music community resides in Toronto, with all styles of music well represented. Original music venues litter Queen Street, with line ups of passionate music fans out the door. Bands support one another, bouncing from showcase to showcase. You get the feeling Toronto is the mecca for independent artists. The Marriot was packed daily with people from all walks of the music and entertainment business, with eager bands and artists trying to make their mark on the scene.”
Michael: “Septembryo‘s trip to Toronto was very worthwhile and insightful. [CMW] is a massive event in which musicians and industry professionals all gather in Toronto to perform, learn, network and enlighten. We were invited to showcase and perform a set at one of the many venues that were delegated for the event. We got the gig by applying through Sonicbids.com which was followed up by many emails and a detailed registration process. Septembryo got to reach a new crowd and get our music and circle of influence spreading out to a new city.
I know the trip might not seem like a worthwhile thing from an outside perspective, but it was very worthwhile for us. It was an educational experience and the more my band and I are present at events like this, the more we can have a relevant impact on the important people in the industry.”
“The summit [portion of the festival] was based on vital information sessions going on all week with industry professionals. One of the perks of getting invited to showcase at CMW is that you get to attend the summit for free. To put things into perspective, the summit costs around $600-$900 to attend if you don’t have a free pass. We were able to sit in on these summit sessions and absorb advice and experienced outlooks on various elements regarding the music industry. We were also occasionally able to talk and network with these important people who were all gathered at the Marriot Hotel.
Some of the summit sessions we attended included: Keynote with Arthur Fogel, Chairman, Global Music and CEO, Global Touring, Live Nation, Celebrity Interview – A Conversation with METRIC, Featured Speaker Tom Jackson, Live Music Producer, OnstageSuccess.com, USA, Panel Discussion on Licensing Issues Worldwide: Where Do We Stand?, Music For The Screen – Putting Your Music In Film & TV, and Presentation – The Elements of a Hit Song.”
And here are some comments from the industry side of attending Canadian Music Week:
Shannon: “This being my third time to Canadian Music Week, I went prepared for what I was about to experience, or so I thought.
The fact that its five long days and very late nights hadn’t changed but there were some other obvious changes. First off, the hub of all things CMW moved from the Royal York as host hotel, to the Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre and that wasn’t the only change this year.
Another major change this year was moving two of the four award shows from afternoon luncheons to evening events, as well as the dates they were held on. The Indies (Independent Music Awards) moved from Saturday night to Friday, the Canadian Radio Music Awards, formally a Friday afternoon luncheon, was now held on Wednesday evening, and the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards were open to the media for the first time. Attending awards shows is always fun and exciting, though at times a little frustrating as media. It’s a great opportunity to get audio or video content with winners and guests backstage, as well as experiencing the excitement as award recipients are brought backstage.
Canadian Music Fest – a crazy six nights, with 1000 artists performing in any one of 60 venues is an original Indie music lovers delight. It’s virtually impossible to take every show in, but the best way to experience CMF is to hop from venue to venue, catching as much as possible. Most of the venues are a short walk apart, so it isn’t that difficult to hit 3 or 4 venues in one night. I’ve “discovered” several original bands I’ve never heard of before during CMF, and usually come home with a handful of CDs to review.
All that said, each year I attend Canadian Music Week, I see it as a great networking opportunity, meeting industry professionals, spreading the word of The PORTAL Magazine, attending conferences to advance my knowledge of the industry and basically being seen in the rich, creative environment.”
Michael: “Not only was I there to represent my band, I also was well represented as a graphic designer while I was there. Other than my band Septembryo, 2 other Alberta based bands (Rend and Maddison Krebs) were also showcasing at Canadian Music Week. I have done design work for these artists, so it is good to know the albums and business cards and posters I created for them were being handed out to industry professionals. These bands are both really talented and were getting a lot of attention during the week, so this could be very good if people appreciate my design work.”
In closing, here are some words of wisdom from our 3 attendees of Canadian Music Week:
“It takes a while to build dreams and to have them mature from ideas to reality, but we are on our way. Slowly but surely.”
~Michael Valenzuela | Drummer, Septembryo
“Overall the trip experience is what you make of it. Get your face seen, get your voice heard and meet some like minded artists.
It also looks great on your resume. Alberta was well represented at CMW with great acts like Oldbury, Double Fuzz and Septembryo.
I came away with the feeling that success is just around the corner for many of us here in Alberta, and that we are part of
something special here.”
~Curtis Butala | Vocalist, Kingdom of Few
“For anyone serious about a career in the music industry I recommend attending Canadian Music Week at least once. The conferences are extremely valuable, and the networking opportunities are priceless.”
~Shannon Ambrose | Â Chief Managing Editor, The Portal Magazine