Musicplus: Skill Building for Musicians

Sunday, May 16, 2010 • James Irvine Conference Center • Oakland, CA

Thanks for a great event!


Today's musicians and composers are faced with more demands on our time than ever. In addition to composing, recording and performing, we are now busy fundraising, marketing, crunching data, manufacturing CDs, booking performances, shooting videos...and tweeting about all of it to our fan base.

In one sense, this is a time of incredible opportunity. Musicians have more low-cost tools than ever to promote and distribute our work, even on a global scale. But these opportunities also breed questions: how do we participate? What are the most effective strategies, especially for my genre? Which tasks should musicians take on ourselves and where should we employ help?

Musicplus was a free seminar on Sunday, May 16, designed to sharpen your skills and give you a chance to network with other musicians and composers. The event was presented by East Bay Community Foundation, Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, The San Francisco Foundation, and Future of Music Coalition, a nonprofit musician advocacy organization. This program was made possible with the support of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, LINC (Leveraging Investments in Creativity), The James Irvine Foundation, and The Wallace Foundation.

Sessions covered:

  • emerging technologies to promote and distribute your work
  • hybrid business models and the new economy
  • arts policy under Obama
  • audience development 2.0: effective social networking and data management
  • new licensing and revenue generation opportunities
  • how to present your work to venues, audiences and funders
  • regional funding and arts resources
  • the basics of home recording
  • touring, visas, and immigration

Event included:

  • networking lunch
  • practical workshops
  • one-on-one health insurance consultations
  • handouts and materials
  • and... a cocktail party!

Event was sold out but we did live webcast  the event.

Schedule and confirmed speakers

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Registration and networking light lunch
12:00 PM – 12:15 PM Welcome
12:15 PM – 1:15 PM Plenary Session
Music 2.0: Digital Music Services for Promoting and Distributing Your Work
Main conference room

Thanks to the Internet, there are now a mind-boggling array of tools and services that have been built to help musicians promote, distribute and sell their music. With so many tools at our disposal how does one determine which services work? Which are compensating musicians, labels, and songwriters, and how? How can musicians participate? This session starts with a virtual tour of many of the existing business models and includes a conversation with experts who are involved in some of today's most exciting music-technology platforms.

Kristin Thomson Education Director, Future of Music Coalition
Ethan Diamond Founder, Bandcamp
Erica Mulkey Cellist, Unwoman

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM Plenary Session
Hybrid Business Models and the New Economy
Main conference room

It is no surprise that today's musician wears many hats. In addition to being performers and composers, we are often serving as our own managers, booking agents, publicists, and promoters. Additionally, we serve many roles as representatives of our communities – as creators, ambassadors, and catalysts for change. On what revenue streams are today's creators depending? What are the tools, networks, funding sources, and organizations that sustain our work? An artist-driven panel will discuss hybrid business models and what's working in today's economy.

Sylvia Sherman Arts and Community Development Consultant (moderator)
Paul Dresher Performer and Composer, Paul Dresher Ensemble
Marcus Shelby Jazz Performer and Composer
Francis Wong Jazz Performer and Composer, Asian Improv Arts

2:30 PM – 3:00 PM Networking break in main room
Begin Breakout Sessions, Round 1
3:00 PM – 3:45 PM Audience Development 2.0: Social Networking and Data Management

Breakout Round 1, Session 1
Main conference room


Join us for a crash course on how to develop audiences by using the various social networks available to you. Additionally, receive practical advice on strategies for managing data to keep your audiences engaged through the use of everything from your email list to online calendars and press release distribution.

Todd Tate, Web and Social Media Management (moderator)
Daniel "Danny Dee" Aguayo Digital Strategist,
Corey Denis Digital Media Strategist, Not Shocking
3:00 PM – 3:45 PM Global Sounds: Touring, Visas and Immigration

Breakout Round 1, Session 2
Bay room


There is no doubt that today's music marketplace has gone global, which means many more opportunities for cross-border collaboration and performance. But it is not as easy as booking a plane ticket and duct taping your cello case shut. This session will cover some of the new opportunities of international performances and collaboration, as well as the challenges associated with visas, work permits and logistics, both for U.S. artists going out of the country, and artists entering the U.S. for performances.

Alexandra Casazza Owner, Trouble Worldwide
Matthew Covey Owner, Tamizdat
Tim Motzer Guitarist, Composer, Touring Musician, 1K Recordings

3:00 PM – 3:45 PM Local Support: Understanding Regional Arts Resources

Breakout Round 1, Session 3

Board room

Despite the current economic conditions, there are still financial and institutional resources that today's musicians can turn to for support. This breakout will focus on programs that build artists' capacity as entrepreneurs, and how to apply for everything from space grants to fiscal sponsorships and cross-genre collaboration.

Dominique Pelletey Exec. Director, San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music
Emily Sevier Director, Bay Area Initiatives, Center for Cultural Innovation
3:45 PM – 4:00 PM Transition
Switch to breakout sessions, round 2
4:00 PM – 4:45 PM Presenting Yourself to Presenters, Funders, and Audiences

Breakout Round 2, Session 1
Main conference room


The good news is today's musicians have dozens of affordable ways to document and present our work. The bad news is we are now competing with an ever-increasing field of creators for the limited attention span of audiences, presenters, and funders. Now it is about effective presentation. This breakout will examine the nuts and bolts of presenting yourself to presenters, funders, and audiences. How to put together an effective press kit. How to attract and sustain audiences. How to prepare a strong work sample, mission statement, and project description to, then, present to funders, radio stations, venues, investors, labels, press, and other outlets.

Scott Horton Public Relations and Marketing, Scott Horton Communications
Randall Kline Executive Artistic Director, SFJazz
Lucy Lin Program Associate, San Francisco Arts Commission
Benji Rogers Founder, Pledge Music
4:00 PM – 4:45 PM Arts Policy Under Obama

Breakout Round 2, Session 2
Bay room


The 2009 inauguration of President Obama - coupled with Democratic majorities in Congress - meant a shift in the power dynamic in Washington, DC. How are creative industries faring so far in this administration? Join us for an artist-focused roundup of the major technology, copyright and policy issues in play at the federal level, and an assessment of the creative community's role in influencing the Obama administration's activity on arts, copyright, and broadband policy.

Jean Cook Director of Programs, Future of Music Coalition (moderator)
Davey D Hip Hop Journalist and Community Activist
Helen De Michiel Co-director, NAMAC
Yolanda Hippensteele Communications Consultant, Arts and Democracy Project
4:00 PM – 4:45 PM Home Recording Techniques and Gear

Breakout Round 2, Session 3
Board room


It has been almost twenty years since ProTools made its debut, ushering in the era of digital recording. More recently, we have seen explosive growth of even more affordable options from Apple's Garageband, to Logic, to Audacity, and SoundForge. Each have given creators more opportunities to record on their own. For those musicians interested in setting up a home recording studio, what are the essential pieces, from software to effects racks to mics? Studio experts will talk about how musicians should allocate limited resources to set up a workable home studio.

Fred Thomas Audio Engineering Instructor and Mentor, Youth Movement Records
Terri Winston Executive Director, Women's Audio Mission
4:45 PM – 5:00 PM Networking break in main room
5:10 PM – 6:10 PM Plenary Session
Digital Ducats: Licensing Revenue in the Networked Age
Main conference room
With technology drastically changing the music landscape, there are suddenly dozens of new ways that artists can generate revenue. In addition to money from traditional CD sales and live shows, there is now income from digital downloads, digital performance royalties from airplay on internet or satellite radio, as well as licensing for film, TV or video games, even merchandising. This session will focus on some of the technical aspects of revenue, including how music is licensed for film and TV, and will explain how you can ensure you collect all the money you are entitled to.

Kristin Thomson Education Director, Future of Music Coalition (moderator)
Michael Ashburne Attorney, Law Offices of Michael R. Ashburne
Bryan Calhoun VP New Media and External Affairs, SoundExchange
Kelleth Chinn Label Director, Rolling Jack Records
Brooke Wentz Founder, The Rights Workshop
6:10 PM – 6:15 PM Closing
6:15 PM – 7:30 PM Cocktail party at Cafe Van Kleef

James Irvine Conference Center
East Bay Community Foundation 353 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA, 94612
United States

Presented by

East Bay Community Foundation
The San Francisco Foundation
Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund
Future of Music Coalition

This program was made possible with the support of:

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
LINC (Leveraging Investments in Creativity)
The James Irvine Foundation
The Wallace Foundation