One of the coolest things about this industry of ours is all of the incredible and unique connections you can make with others who have also chosen to pursue their passions and create careers out of their love of music. The opportunity to network is all around you — at local shows, at in-person meetups, jam sessions, in the classroom — but perhaps nowhere more inspiring and fun than at one of the many annual music conferences that occur both here and abroad.
Conferences offer an open and accessible platform for building relationships, but they also allow you to spend a day or even up to a week truly focusing and investing in your creative career — panels, workshops, industry meet-and-greets, and the occasional intimate performance showcase, all in the span of a few days.
At Soundfly, we’re all about creating space for musicians to invest in themselves and take an active role in their career and skills development. That’s why we’ve created our two Mentored-learning models: Mainstage online courses which pair every student with a professional mentor for hands-on support and feedback throughout the 4-6 week duration of the course, and Headliners Club, a 1-on-1 goal-oriented mentorship program designed to meet you where you are, and get you to where you want to go.
Inspired by the community-building aspects of these music conferences, but built for online accessibility and flexibility, we hope that you’ll be able to take advantage of everything Soundfly has to offer this spring! Sign up for any course using the promo code SPRINGREVERB and get 25% off today!
And now for the list! Here are the 11 conferences around the world that we’re most excited about this year, to help you build, shape, and expand your knowledge of the music industry.
Launch Music Conference
Lancaster, Pennsylvania | April 12-15, 2018
Launch is admittedly one of my all-time favorites. They do a fabulous job of meshing daytime conferences with nighttime performances, in the incredibly charming town of Lancaster. It’s a relatively small conference, with a few hundred attendees for the daytime panels, and a few thousand during the evening shows, making it the perfect place to network. Because of the intimacy and repeat faces you’ll see throughout the weekend, you can make lasting connections with both the other attendees, and the panelists and performers themselves. They even offer sessions where you can volunteer to have your music and/or website and social presence evaluated by an expert.
Music Cities Convention
Melbourne, Australia | April 19-20, 2018
Describing itself as “the largest global reaching conference exploring the relationship between music and the built environment,” the Music Cities Convention finds itself in Melbourne, Australia this year. Past events have occurred in Memphis, Berlin, Brighton, and Washington. There are panels on music policy, the music economy around the world, roundtable discussions, and plenty of networking opportunities.
New York City, New York | April 25, 2018
Bringing the Summit all the way from London to NYC, Sandbox will hold the first dedicated digital marketing conference for the music industry at Opry City Stage in Times Square. Attendees can expect to find a space to gain knowledge and insight into what makes a campaign successful, what tools to use, and of course, lots of networking opportunities.
Los Angeles, California | April 29-May 2, 2018
Preparing for its fourteenth year in Los Angeles, the MUSEXPO is a conglomeration of high-profile speakers such as Alicen Schneider (NBC Entertainment), Craig Kallman (Chairman and CEO, Atlantic Records Group), Mark Sutherland (Editor, Music Week), Pete Ganbarg (President of A&R, Atlantic Records) and many more, as well as cocktail hours ripe for networking, and artist showcases in the evenings.
ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO
Hollywood, California | May 7-9, 2018
ASCAP’s annual conference hauls in over 3,000 North American artists for literally hundreds of events such as panels, workshops, master classes, keynotes and one-on-one sessions with the industry’s top hitmakers. For 72 hours out of the year, this is the place to be if you’re a music creator of any kind.
Canadian Music Week
Toronto, Ontario | May 7-13, 2018
CMW is holding a slew of panels this year ranging from tech and innovation, radio play, social media, distribution, streaming, and everything in between. One of CMW’s highlights is the opportunity to speak with mentors throughout the 6-day event (for free!) and pick their brains about your next move in the music industry.
Music Biz Conference
Nashville, Tennessee | May 14-17, 2018
Drawing over 2,000 attendees in 2017, the Music Biz Conference is a conglomeration of panels, workshops, and industry meetups. There’s a variety of opportunities to learn and be heard, from Spotify workshops to music supervisor listening sessions, panels on publishing and rights, as well as Q&As with top industry pros.
International Music Summit
Ibiza, Spain | May 23-25, 2018
This year’s IMS is chock full of notable and influential speakers like deadmau5, the management teams behind Solomun and Black Coffee, speakers from Burning Man, as well as A&R heads from Armada Music, XL Recordings, and Toolroom, plus a focus on bringing awareness to issues of sexual harassment and mental health in the music industry via talks and forums… IMS is a real CMC… a “Can’t Miss Conference.”
Cannes, France | June 5-8, 2018
Swarming with labels and publishes, MIDEM is an incredible place to begin to connect with the international scene and make contacts around the world. It has a strong technical presence, an even stronger reputation, and focuses on everything from streaming to booking to branding and more. It’s fantastic for both artists and industry experts for its international networking opportunities.
CD Baby DIY Musician Conference
Nashville, Tennessee | August 24-26, 2018
Now in its fourth year, CD Baby’s DIY Musician Conference is another intimate conference that offers you the benefit of growing relationships with those in attendance, while packing their panels full of industry veterans with decades of knowledge. Touting their scene as “the only conference focused wholeheartedly on the needs of today’s independent artist” CD Baby’s annual event truly is an event where DIY artists get the spotlight for a change. Go here to hone your craft through panels, mentor sessions, and open mics.
Breathe Sunshine African Music Conference
Cape Town, South Africa | September 30-October 1, 2018
Now in its fourth year, the Breathe Sunshine African Music Conference is full of interactive activities to help you learn the music business, including panels, technical workshops, networking parties, and more.
Looking for feedback on your work to push your songwriting, composition, or production to new heights? Check out Soundfly’s new Headliners Club program. It’s like having a personal trainer for your music, with a series of musical workouts, a whole lot of feedback and support, and the chance to accomplish something you’ll be proud of.