My participation at the Southern Entertainment Awards conference was very interesting. It was definitely stepping into another genre culture for a few hours. Our session had a full room – I would guess about 100 – 150 attendees mainly made up of artists, djs and producers – all in the hip-hop r&b realm. I met many folks afterwards handing me their CDs, about half of which was minimally labeled (home duplications) and the other half had some impressive graphics looking like movie posters! I have only listened to a quick sampling, but that gave me an idea of the remix product; some of the lyrics were definitely not for family consumption. But they drew people from New Jersey, Miami, Oklahoma, Dallas, etc.
The other 2 panelists were clearly more involved with that scene, having a direct connection to it (both are in some form of distribution and A&R as independents) as well as having participated in other similar panels in other cities. Most of the session was Q&A with no panel agenda, so my input was more from a generic “good business fundamentals” point of view and how it relates to what they’re doing. It’s a real grassroots mindset most of the attendees operate under, heavily involved with trying to get DJs to give their product some time. It was interesting in it being such a niche that goes back in many ways to the early days of record promotion where you go for building from a local base to regional. But now they’re dealing with new media opportunities like internet radio and social media tools like facebook to help them connect with and establish an audience. That’s probably what I found most interesting was the methods in which these folks operated.
Interesting way to spend a Saturday!