Highlights From ASCAP Expo 2019
ASCAP began its 2019 "I Create Music" Expo with the announcement that total revenues for 2018 topped $1.227 billion, an increase of 7% over the previous year. $1.109 billion in royalties were paid to member songwriters, composers and publishers, up 10% year-over-year.
- Atlanta power players including producer Don Cannon (2 Chainz, Lil Uzi Vert, Jeezy), Capitol Music Group SVP of Global Creative Amber Grimes and Tunde Balogun of LVRN, the multi-faceted team behind D.R.A.M., Raury and 6LACK, discussed what Atlanta means to them, how the compelling aspects of the city has shaped a distinct sound and brand of artists.
- In the Synch Holes and Score Wars panel, discussion took a deep dive into the negotiations behind a film/TV music deal and announced the "Your Music, Your Future" education initiative during the panel, more here: https://yourmusicyourfuture.com/.
- ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President Paul Williams discussed creativity– method, inspiration and more of the golden wisdom from Questlove's newest book, NY Times best-selling and Grammy-nominated 'Creative Quest.' The drummer, DJ, producer, author and member of The Roots was also recognized with the ASCAP Creative Voice Award. During the conversation, Questlove and Paul discussed the songwriting merits of staying positive, being "as bored as possible," finding your tribe, leaving your comfort zone and always having good food around.
- Wyclef Jean, founder and guiding member of Grammy-winning trio The Fugees and solo superstar dove into blazing your own musical path, collaborating mentoring, and keeping your creative spirit alive and well throughout your career. The panel turned into party when Wyclef enthusiastically welcomed EXPO attendees to join onstage for a rousing, closing jam.
- How to Write Your Social Media Story: when it comes to social media, audiences aren’t looking for the picture perfect icon anymore. “The highlight reel of just posting the really happy moments is kind of going away,” according to Spencer Moya, Senior Director of Digital Marketing at Interscope Records. Fans want to see that you’re relatable and see your struggles and not just the illusion of perfection. There’s also the reoccurring theme of having a clear idea of what you want to do and who you want to be. Senior Communications manager of Universal Music Group Taylor Hornecker advised to “throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks” when it comes to creating content. Doing this is what creates a lot of momentum on socials and gets people to watch your content. And when it comes to choosing the right social media platform for you, Hisham Dahud has a plan for you. “There are so many platforms theses days so just try and kill it on two of them. Don’t be dormant on the others, but focus on two that would be really good for you in terms of who you’re trying to reach.“ Barbara “Babs” Szabo, the co-founder of Emo Nite, also commented on social media's purpose noting that it "should be a community rather than just shouting at everybody about announcements,” emphasizing the importance of a connected community.
- Women Behind the Music: A&R Edition: Dominique Dunn (Roc Nation), Jennifer Drake (Sony/ATV), Ericka Coulter (Epic) and Ashley Calhoun (Pulse Music Group) helped demystify the world of A&R and offered their unique perspectives on how women experience the music business. During the panel that had participants seeping out of the ballroom, the team of A&R executives covered how they work with music creators and how budding talent can catch their attention.
- The Future of Electronic Music: Artists Breaking Barriers: Electronic music has become a huge genre worldwide and artists like TOKiMONSTA and Yuna are breaking down barriers in a male centric industry. As an Asian-Muslim woman in the industry, Yuna believes you only need to worry about the music part of it. “Everyone’s trying to look perfect and cater to the male gaze. But I think it’s about growing into yourself because when you do that, you’ll grow into your music.” TOKi leads with her music first and her identity second. “During my MySpace era, I would upload my music and not have a photo of myself. I don’t want to use my identity as a crutch or a gimmick. If you’re female, it’s not a good thing or a bad thing. Just make sure your music is better than your male counterparts.” Both women also feel like conforming to current musical trend isn’t always the answer to success. TOKi says she wants “to make music that makes me happy. I’m always trying to make my music better and different than what I’ve made before. And as a fan, you need to let an artist have room to grow.” Yuna adds that “it’s really about finding a balance. If you want to follow a trend you need to be passionate about that music.”