The biannual staple of the San Francisco music and tech scenes, SFMusicTech, returned after a one year break to the Hotel Kabuki in grand fashion on Tuesday, November 10th gathering the technology developers, musicians, service providers, and entertainment lawyers to learn, talk partnerships, evaluate industry development and how the two groups will be moving forward together. While the event has traditionally been held over a two day period every spring and fall, the Zisk family, founders of the summit, took a break this spring to recoup. The most telling point of the eagerness of the attendees came at the start of the day when Brian Zisk asked the audience at the morning keynote how many of the attendees were coming for the first time. What seemed to be half the largest ballroom in use for panel discussions raised their hand; easily exceeding 100 people.
The day proceeded with sessions for every avenue of interest for someone looking to make their way in the music industry. Looking to better understand copyright law and the other hot issues in the music industry? There was panel that equated to a one hour rundown of a graduate level course. Need to understand how to reach and interact with your audience? No problem. There were social media, data analytics, visual branding, and other discussions to help artists curate and reach their audience and improve interaction throughout the day. But it wasn’t just about helping the artists reach out, with multiple new product demonstrations, including the SFMusicTech Startup Showcase winner panel, the summit also provided the opportunity for technology firms the chance to reach out to their intended audience of artists, managers, and producers to show their wares.
This summit had a different feel than those in the past. Perhaps it was the high number of new attendees scampering from room to room as they wanted to make each panel session, or maybe it was fighting through the dense crowds to get from session to session. One attendee observed that this summit appeared a little more tiered than in the past. With the seeming influx in new attendees there were a lot more people there that appeared to be attending the panels to gain advice and guidance about getting their projects and plans together. While that was happening, the more experienced attendees could be find in one on one or group sessions with the newbies post-panel, or just networking amongst themselves looking at future developments and partnerships with more established project products.
Those networking sessions littered the lobby, the hallways, the break ballroom downstairs and everywhere in between. This was the part of the conference that made it feel as though nothing had, or will ever, change. SFMusicTech is about partnerships and networking above all else. The summit brings some heavy-hitters in the music and tech industries into one spot to talk to the next generation of leaders about how to develop products, manage issues facing the industry, and look to the future of where development is heading. The intimacy of the smaller venue with ample space to just sit and chat provides attendees with the chance to build not only partnerships, but lasting friendships as well.
Whether this event goes back to being twice a year or continues as a fall tradition, if you are looking to make headway in the music industry, better understand how people are connecting with your music in the modern age, and want to get ahead of the game for what comes next with those that will be joining you in the leadership of the next generation, then make it a point to schedule some time for SFMusicTech in 2016. You will certainly learn something, meet someone new, and come away with a full head of steam to attack and achieve.