If you are looking for quality connections and love to watch great performances, then you should have came out to the 6th annual Ocktoberfest held at Stage 48 in NYC. Red carpet on the upper level had a steady flow of artists and music industry moguls showing off their signature poses. Ticket-holders arrived slowly settling in the seats provided on the lower level. Delicious menu of chicken tenders, buffalo wings, beef sliders and fries were available for ticket-holders and VIP.
Conversations came to a halt as the Music Rocks Awards Opening Show opened with Crystal K from Trinidad singing her pop/ r&b song “I’m in Love Again”. Nikita from Barbados mouth-dropped and left the audience “wow struck” singing “Listen” by Beyonce acapella and covered “Chandelier” remix. Rock/pop artist, Rachel Lorin performed a rock solo and two techno/pop/rock songs captivating the audience with explosive energy. Dance group, The Era, had the audience glued to their unique, twisted moves. Cameras move in closer to get the perfect caption.
The moment everyone been waiting for was the panelist of music industry moguls who gave their advice for the seasoned and upcoming artists: Brian Hahn (Source Magazine), Kalvin Stevens (Sony Music), Micheline Medina (Sony Music), Cory Jones (Sony Music), Jason Swanston (Founder of Ovnio TV), Bridget O’Brian (Bridget O’Brian PR firm), Mr.Q (Rock Out Celebrity PR firm), Cal Dawson (Murder Inc), and more! Topic was “Strategies For Success” where the panelist shared tips on four key points – Having a Good Press Kit, Exposure for the Artist: how to leverage, Which one to choose – Major or Independent?, and Music Production.
Having a Good Press Kit
Mr. Q – “..How do you want yourself to reflect to others in the company [you are sending your press kit to]. You put in want you want to look like. If you come out to this event, its first impression.”
Bridget – “The first thing anyone ask for is a press kit.[Magazines, TV, Record labels is going to ask for a press kit.] They are asking 10’s and 1,000’s of publicists and managers everyday ‘send me the press kit’. If it does not catch their eye within two seconds, they aren’t going to finish reading it. If there are misspellings, incomplete information, if your pictures are not professional quality…I have seen pictures come that people have taken with their iphone, selfie in the mirror, and they think that is appropriate to send out for professional services. You need to hire a professional photographer. Once that is done, the press kit will be put together. Hire a professional publicist who is a trained copywriter who can write…and knows what people are looking for. DO NOT think you can do it all by yourself. Once your image goes out, you send it to Sony or Source Magazine and they saw you already, they will NOT open another email AFTER you fixed your press kit. First impression in life and… in the press is everything.
Cory Jones – “…I don’ t have time to go to somebody’s soundcloud or revernation page. That is not a press kit. [We] are dealing with so many projects on a higher level. Your press kit should be a real quick high level overview of some timelines what you have accomplished as an artist and what you plan to execute in the next 6months.”
Which one to choose – Major or Independent ?
Kalvin Stevens – “…Some artists feel they are ready to be in a major label, but they do not want to listen to anyone. I always suggest – go independent because…maybe you can do better independent. We look for so many different things…and the label controls everything. But the artist have to be as equally merge so the family can work.
Ms. Medina – “… it depends on the artist and the level of hands on the artist brings to the music. If you going to right your on music and be opinionated and want to stick to want your core is, then you have to be independent…We tend to sign artist that is already established independently in terms of your online presence – Youtube, Facebook. Develop your persona, then a major is going to notice you. Have your mindset as an independent artist, then build yourself out to be signed to a label.
Victor Seltzer- “No one is giving out funds for artist development under no circumstances. They are not developing who you are. It makes sense to go independent…because you can leverage once you have develop your social network, following, once you have your music on download and people are paying you for your music. An A&R is will look at you once you have leverage yourself. You have to do all the development yourself…your bio and press kit must look like a magazine layout. Everything that you do have to perfection. On your social network, you can just have people liking your pictures. Your comments and your likes have to kind of match.
Jason Swanston – “Always own your music, your own rights. You really have to know what you want to do. Do you want to be an independent artist or independent record with your friends… not just watching ASAP Rocky Boom and saying ‘I have a bunch of virtual videos on Tumblr and I’m going to get a deal’. It does not work that way.If you are going independent on social media, you have to be aggressive. Don’t pay numbers and attach them to your Instagram account. If you don’t know what your are doing, ask questions because we know when you don’t know and it makes our job harder. Don’t reliable on social network only in the U.S. Reach out to the eastern European market like vk.com which is Russians version of Facebook. They love Hip Hop and r&B… even the London market.
Exposure for the Artist: how to leverage – Q&A
Question: What is the best way to go about distribution?
Ms. Medina – “If you are launching a single, then go digital. If you have full album, go for a distribution deal. The amount of money you make on a physical sale is a lot more that a digital sale.”
Question: Sometimes you get signed on a digital and they say they will place you in x amount of stores, Pandora, Amazon, but are not being advertised as much as the people who are really selling. So is it worth it, if I don’t have big fan based. Will I be pushed to the side?
Ms. Medina – “If you do sign a digital deal, you are not going to get exposure as a upcoming artist on Amazon, but they do have programs like artist of the week.”
Question: Why is the artist development program closed?
Kalvin Stevens -“Too much money being spent out. Not a lot of artists and bands were listening.”
Ms.Medina – “There’s still A&Rs at the record labels. Their main responsible is to someone with [huge] talent and take it to a whole another level. They look at Youtube and Facebook and see who have a following. That how we find our artist.”
Industry talk soon came to an end to present legend emcee, Rah Diggah and Comedian Ricky Barrino a Music Rock Award. Shortly the concert for the Pink Cure consisted of upcoming artists to shine on the concert-feel stage. Genres of Hip Hop, R&B and Acoustic ripped through the venue. To finish the Fest, the after party was blazing top 40 music. Everyone danced their shoes off while dancing and smoking hookah.
Wow what a day and what a night!