Sleeping did not happen, yet again, for any decent length of time. However, I did wake up far less tired than yesterday. Fingers crossed for tonight.
I went to 3 panels today, the first of which covered the ins and outs of making the trip across the border for tours and festivals. Having gone through this in 2012, I remember the process pretty well. In fact, I dedicated an entire blog series to the conception and execution of that U.S. tour because it was such a huge deal.
The legal end of it is pretty interesting. In a nutshell, there’s a fantastic organization called the CFM (Canadian Federation of Musicians) who act as the middle man between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the artist. The CFM provides all the documents and signatures necessary that go back and forth for approval and makes sure the artist has all their ducks in a row. They are tremendously helpful and although there is a lot of paper work and good number of fees to pay, they make it as easy and seamless as possible. Now I am excited to plan my next tour in the states! If you recall from those blogs, I initially planned to go to South by Southwest because I was chasing the Brett Dennen dream. It didn’t end up going that way but I’m thinking 2017 is the year, showcase or not. Today in the lobby I had a really great little chat with the SXSW director and in fact I just sent him an email. The connections I have made this week are truly amazing. What an incredible opportunity it is to meet all these artists and industry professionals in one place, where everyone has the time of day for each other. We are a really blessed country to have these events for the music business.
After the Visa panel, I went to “The World of Music Media Today”. Here, 5 industry delegates from various publicity organizations from Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. all talked about the dos and don’ts of creating a fruitful connection so that artists’ content can be featured in their publications.
Having a publicist makes all of this a lot easier. I was counting my blessings during that panel, but also learning what I can do on my own to pitch properly, start relationships out on the right foot, and plan in advance. Without attending these conferences, I would have such a huge gap in understanding of how the business works. There are so many players from publicists, publishers, agents, managers, journalist, directors, promotors, ad infinitum. They are all looking for different things, communicate in different ways, and use different platforms. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to cater to the diversity by having a well rounded online presence. I have to make sure that everything is up to date and laid out properly on my website, Twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud, etc. That’s a lot of work!! But every little bit counts. If someone from a company who could really benefit my career comes to any one of these sights looking for something and doesn’t find it or doesn’t like the way it’s presented, that could very likely be the end of that opportunity.
For the rest of the night I bounced around to venues with a bunch of new friends from different bands I’ve met over the weekend.
I got to see my buddies Arlo and Oozie do their second showcase. They’re a hip hop act under the name “Arlo Maverick” but they were placed in what looks like a country bar. It was not the right match at all but they made the best of it and killed it anyway. Congratulations to them for winning an award at the Western Canadian Music Awards yesterday! I also got to see Lexi Strate perform just before them, who won Pop Artist of the Year. I ended up sitting with some gals that turned out to be the directors of a music festival north of Edmonton, who I had planned on meeting tomorrow at the one-on-one sessions. Yet again, fantastic connections were made. I’ve got one more day of mentor sessions so I’m going to make the most of it!
OK. Time to try this sleep thing one more time.