As always this years Americanafest was not just a great value to fans, but to working musicians as well with helpful and informative panels. The festival included timely and relevant information for the performing artist and songwriter in today’s rapidly changing music environment. Some of the panels that discussed navigating this landscape included.
• “Music of Nashville – From script to studio” Insights from the Nashville TV show team on the music from the show & writing music for TV. Tips were provided for aspiring sync writers – if you’re writing for a specific scene, less production or production in the character’s style is better than a fully produced demo, use emotions from personal experience while keeping the details general enough to use in a variety of situations, and be persistent & patient as it’s rarely about the best song, and rather what works best for the scene (only applying to TV music of course)
• “Hot Chicken & Streaming” Streaming, and specifically Spotify, continues to grow as the dominant channel of the new music industry. Playlists are comparable to the old days of radio in that they frequently break new artists, to the point where majors like Warner are merging their radio & playlisting departments. Strategies for getting on playlists and how to leverage opportunities once you are on were provided such as Owning/controlling the masters. Also discussed were a few possible future streaming features – pre-saves (sort of like pre-orders), and the option for labels to buy ads to promote shows
“How Can the UK Americana Community Help You?” Americana is growing exponentially in popularity overseas, however working with a local artists and tour publicists can make a notable difference in touring and releasing overseas.
“Music Publishing & Performance Rights Organizations” If you’re an independent writer make sure you affiliate as a publishing company as well to receive the other half of PRO royalties. In addition, update your set lists on your PRO’s website to get a bonus for live performances of your registered material.
• “Entrepreneurship – Building a Modern Music Business” David Macias (Thirty Tigers), Scott Robinson (Dualtone) among others gave insights on running an indie music company in the modern landscape. They were optimistic on the future of streaming, and talked about the importance of a business plan & and avoiding too much outside funding in exchange for company control.
• “Booking Small & Medium Capacity Venues” Advice from small to medium sized venue’s talent buyers– the primary goal is to try to sell out the room in every stage of touring the panel suggested starting as small as you have to. Detail was provided on venue expense fees & best communication practices
• “Better Laws and a Better Future for Music” Music industry & songwriter advocate groups, along with Congresswoman Blackburn, talked about the Fair Play Fair Pay Act that would introduce an artist royalty in terrestrial radio plays, and also talked the details of the Songwriter Equity Act, intended to increase songwriter royalties in the new digital ecosystem.