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7 Essential Music Conferences to Mark in Your Calendar for 2022

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Remember music conferences? Remember the feeling of walking into a packed room filled with hundreds, or even thousands, of other musicians all just as excited as you to whip out their notebook, plop into a chair, and learn from the industry’s best?

That energy is absolutely infectious, the networking possibilities are endless, and the inspiration and motivation it brings for days and weeks to come is unmatched.

So, with the hopeful return to normalcy in 2022, we’re already marking our calendars for upcoming conferences. And while some of the greats are returning like SXSW, there’s also a lot of smaller conferences that have popped up in the last couple years out of pure necessity, that you may never have heard of.

But don’t let that stop you from taking a chance on the smaller ones… With a mixture of online and offline options, there’s something in here for everyone. And if, like me, you’re missing the spirit of being in a room full of movers and shakers in the very industry we all love, you’ll want to mark these seven down.

Noise Pop

San Francisco, California | February 21-27, 2022

Noise Pop Music Conference

Every year, Noise Pop takes over San Francisco, combining music, art, and film, for a true trifecta of talented locals and popular internationals. That diversity of art forms is one of the things that helps it stand out — that the focus isn’t just on music but is instead, all-encompassing, attracting a diverse crowd of creatives.

In 2022, Noise Pop returns as a great way to enjoy the eclectic art and music culture, and rich countercultural history of the Bay Area (and maybe escape the February cold blowing through the rest of the country). As someone who has lived in San Francisco and experienced the cultural atmosphere first hand, it’s one of the most tight-knit and community-oriented cities for musicians and artists, and it’s truly worth a visit. This conference is a great way to explore it.

SXSW

Austin, Texas | March 11-20, 2022

South By Southwest conference

Of course, no list would be complete without South By Southwest (SXSW). And it’s only fitting, given that this was one of the first major cancellations that signalled the real start of the pandemic. With 2020’s edition completely cancelled, and 2021’s online only, the return of an in-person conference in 2022 is bound to herald at least the feeling that the music and cultural industries are returning to normalcy. In my opinion, this SXSW is going to be be even more iconic and epic than ever before.

Ohio University Music Industry Summit

Athens, Ohio & Virtual | April 5-6, 2022

Ohio University music conference

For Ohio area music industry pros and musicians, you’re going to want to put this one on your radar. Even if you’re in a nearby state, the exciting panel of guests might just lure you across state lines. The fourth annual edition of the Ohio University Music Industry Summit has just recently been confirmed — the dates arrive in April this year — and if it’s anything like last year’s it’s going to be very interesting.

Last year’s was virtual, and even though this year’s is in-person in Athens, most (if not all) of the programming will also be made available to stream online, making it easier than ever to attend no matter where you’re from. Made up of a gathering of national and regional music industry leaders and musicians, it’s comprised of two full days of panels, interviews, and networking opportunities for attendees.

Launch Music Conference & Festival

Lancaster, Pennsylvania | April 14-17, 2022

Launch Music Conference

If you’ve been in the music scene for a while, you know all about the Launch Music Conference and how it’s the perfect hybrid of performances by indie and label-backed artists at night, while the mornings are spent learning all you need to know about getting started in the music industry. Plus, if memory serves, there’s always free coffee and donuts to kick off the early morning discussions (and that doesn’t hurt one bit!).

Launch came back in full swing in September of last year, and it almost felt like the world that we musicians and music industry followers have loved throughout our entire careers.

Canadian Music Week

Toronto, Ontario | June 6-11 2022

Canadian Music Week

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Canadian Music Week is Canada’s premier music industry event. Each year they bring together the best in Canadian and international talent and speakers for 5 days of music education and entertainment. This year they’re hosting panels in person again, covering topics across the industry. One of the things that has helped CMW stand out in the past is its Mentor Café, where musicians and music industry hopefuls can chat with successful mentors in the industry and pick their brains about everything to do with success and growing your music career.

CMW is also hosting a slew of one-off virtual events in the months leading up to the official conference, including sessions on how to break out and get discovered on TikTok.

Music Biz 2022

Nashville, Tennessee | May 9-12, 2022

Music Bix conference

One of Nashville’s favorite music conferences is back as the four-day Music Biz Conference (brought on by the Music Business Association, who do events all year round, with a variety of audiences and angles). The conference will include a discussion on how to support each other as we continue to find footing in this new music industry and have elements of professional and personal growth mixed in for a weekend full of important and industry-specific conversations and connections.

International Alliance For Women in Music Conference

Corvallis, Oregon & Virtual | June 2-4, 2022

International Alliance For Women in Music conference

Hosted by Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, the International Alliance For Women in Music will host an in-person conference (with virtual satellite events) to cover music, music technology, live concerts, and networking opportunities. The conference will be host to discussions about female and female-identified histories, research, and music, providing a platform for unheard voices, while advocating for equality.

It’s a great cause, a great conference, and featuring some great guests! Check it out.

Well, this is just the start! 2022 has only just begun and we’re already seeing in-person conference dates pop up for the summer and fall seasons here in North America, so we should be back later in the year for another round-up. For now, which of these are you most looking forward to attending?

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Angela Mastrogiacomo

Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placement on Alternative Press, Spotify, Noisey, Substream, and more, as well as the Director of Community and Events for Music Launch Co. Her free training ‘Reaching a Wider Audience Without Spending A Dime’ helps emerging artists cut through the noise and get in front of fans and industry influencers in just a few steps. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.