John Mayer with ASCAP's Erik Philbrook (left) - Photo by Rick Miller
It was clear from the start that this year’s “I Create Music” EXPO, held on April 22-24, was going to be different. Kicking off with ASCAP’s General Annual Membership meeting, in which ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams, ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento and ASCAP Senior VP of Domestic Membership Randy Grimmett, reported on ASCAP’s progress in the past year, the energy level of those gathered in the packed Renaissance Hollywood Hotel’s Grand Ballroom was palpable.
As the EXPO began in earnest, everyone felt it, from the attendees to the sponsors, from the panelists to the ASCAP staff. It wasn’t just the record attendance that added to the energy. It was the enthusiasm of everyone involved, who collectively realized that this was the place and these were the people; this was their community in action. The EXPO was not only going to be incredibly educational, it was going to be exciting.
On ballroom stages and in smaller panel rooms, music creators and industry experts discussed a wide range of topics on the first day. They covered social media, legal issues, TV composing, how to sell your music without a label, how to record professional demos, international markets, how to navigate the Nashville music scene and more. Some of the biggest names in music shared their knowledge onstage, including Ashley Gorley, Kuk Harrell, Jean Baptiste, Jane’t A. Sewell Ulepic, Jason Mraz, C. Tricky Stewart, Brian Tyler and Phil Vassar.
John Mayer provided a fascinating look into his craft and career in a humorous and engaging interview with ASCAP’s Erik Philbrook. Among his pearls of wisdom was his advice to not let outside forces validate who you are as an artist. He said anybody could be the next big thing, so just continue with your vision and stick to it.
After a lively opening networking reception, the night brought on two entertaining events: the “I Create Music” Center Stage showcase featuring Don Was, Natasha Bedingfield, Stephen Bishop, John Forte, Lenny Kaye and Phil Vassar; and the ASCAP EXPO iStandard Producer Showcase (Presented by MillerCoors), both held at the Highlands. It was a great start to a great EXPO – and it established a level of excellence that would be met again and again in the days to come.
The legendary Quincy Jones makes his entrance on the EXPO stage - Photo by Joshua Miller
It's not everyday that a music legend sits down for a casual conversation to reveal in very simple terms the secrets of his success or to share the words of wisdom earned from more than six decades in the music business. But that is exactly what happened on day two of the EXPO when Quincy Jones shared the EXPO stage with music superstar Ludacris for a very educational and entertaining interview.
The Quincy/Ludacris interview capped an incredible day of panels that included a wildly successful, off the cuff session that featured Linda Perry randomly selecting attendees to perform a song and receive critiques from the audience; master sessions with Loudon Wainwright III, Kenny Burrell and Don Schlitz; sessions exploring music placement, digital royalties, film composing, publishing, regional music; a look at "hardcore" orchestration with composer Ron Jones; and some of the top writers and producers in music talking about their craft, including Kerry "Krucial" Brothers, Andre "Dre" Harris, Chuck Harmony, Mike Elizondo, Aureo Baquiero, Robert Ellis Orrall, Sam Watters, Greg Wells and Louis Biancaniello.
Attendees got a chance to shine in the spotlight at the ASCAP "I Create Music" EXPO Attendee Showcase (presented by Pick the Band). Then everyone enjoyed a second night of incredible live music at the "I Create Music" Center Stage showcase, featuring performances by Gordie Sampson, Raul Midon, Chantal Kreviazuk and Allison Iraheta.
Justin Timberlake and Bill Withers in the green room - Photo by Rick Miller
With over 2,800 participants and more than 50 major sponsors sharing three days of inspiration, education and discovery, the 2010 ASCAP "I Create Music" EXPO was an unqualified success. While the number of participants can be measured, what can't be tracked is the intensity of the drive and momentum that everyone carried away with them from this year's event.
As grand finales go, the EXPO delivered one of its best yet in the special session featuring Bill Withers and Justin Timberlake, who each shared their unique perspective on their craft and career. It was a fun and altogether fresh conversation between two music luminaries.
Other topics explored on day three of the EXPO included copyright issues, production music, children's music, the benefits of ASCAP membership and more. For those attendees interested in sharpening their craft, there were master sessions with Dr. Luke and Just Blaze, a special "Writing to Track" panel with Chris "Deep" Henderson and Nate Walka, and Murphy's Laws of Songwriting with ASCAP's own Ralph Murphy.
One-on-One sessions continued for a third straight day allowing attendees to sit for a 15 minute conversation with an industry expert. The ASCAP Network Stage continued to feature interviews with authors, panelists and performers. And the exhibit area remained packed right through the end of the day.
As is tradition at the EXPO, the final session of the EXPO featured a songwriter's jam in the Grand Ballroom. This year's group of top writers included Steve Diamond, Billy Steinberg, Robert Ellis Orrall and Larry John McNally.
The sound of songwriters singing their songs and playing their instruments reverberated throughout the Grand Ballroom, reflecting the pure joy of making music. It reminded everyone that although there was much to take away from this year's EXPO about how to master the music business, it first starts with mastering the art of music.
ASCAP had more than 50 sponsors at this year's EXPO. We would like to extend a hearty "Thank you" to both our returning and new sponsors who helped make this year's event a smashing success. Here's a slideshow featuring just some of this year's sponsors.
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