After a late night, I cut into my sleeping in and headed to the Lafayette Hotel for the second in the San Diego Music Foundation free seminars. The panelists were John Pantle (United Talent), Josh Higgins (fluf), Jon Pebsworth (Side One Dummy Records/Buck-O-Nine), Petey-X (Merch Lackey/Rocket from the Crypt), and Tim Mays (The Casbah). Chris Welter of Slightly Stoopid filled in for Matt Phillips.
Most people in the audience were musicians, though there was a spattering of non musicians (like me) in the crowd, including an inquisitive guy who is studying to be a sound engineer. Overall, I found the seminar to be insightful as far as marketing and branding go. The message was just as applicable to bands as it can be for websites, promoters, etc. The biggest message for musicians was that they need to (1) decide was success means to their band, and (2) take it into their own hands to achieve it.
The only thing that kinda disappointed me was the answers given to the first question to the panel which was "What technology has been the biggest catalyst for your product and what effect as it had on your business?" Every panelist answered, "The Internet." Duh. That is the answer I expected 10 years ago. I would've liked more specific information, like what part of the Internet has affected your business most...youtube, MySpace, Google, e-mail lists, blogs, etc. At one point Pantle was talking about YouTube and I could've sworn he was talking about me, which got a little giggle out of the House Party girls behind me.
It was defintely worthwhile and the San Diego Music Foundation is really doing a good job at helping people willing to take take their fate into their own hands. Josh Higgins gave some recommended reading applicable to anyone interested in creating a brand in Made to Stick which I'll be taking a look at for sure. There was lengthy discussion about Art vs. Commerce or if art really is commerce and not one mention of 'selling out'. Josh also spoke about making a brand "memory adhesive" which is the essence of branding. Everyone got a laugh at the comment that the level of success can sometimes "depend upon the level of alcoholism in the band," which was a funny way of saying that people screw themselves by not treating their band as a serious business.
After the panel discussion ended, there were coolers of free Karl Strauss and some of us stuck around chatting. After that, Adrian (Republic of Letters), Larry Munroe (ex-Cargo records), and Al Guerra (Louspeaker) hung out in the Red Fox, having lunch and enjoying old stories of old bands and the scene back in the day. It was a good afternoon for sure, and thanks to Two Word Name for the CD, as well as Al for the advance of Ryan Ferguson's new CD. Pretty soon we all realized how late it had gotten so we all went our separate ways and called it a day.