You’ll find MUSEXPO 2016 on our list of key worldwide music industry events, but why attend? We chat to the event’s founder and president of A&R Worldwide, Sat Bisla, to find out what makes the event unique.
How did MUSEXPO develop from A&R Network/A&R Worldwide dinners, to a fully-fledged music industry conference?
As the dinners came to be attended by more and more members of the industry, at the highest levels, those in attendance found themselves doing more business in a three-four hour dinner than they did in a whole day of meetings. The dinners always maintained a very humble and ego-free environment; encouraging attendees to leave their agendas behind and just get to know each other and interact in a very organic way.
When the dinners reached a pretty significant attendance, it seemed a natural transition to bring these people together in a forum where they could share their insight and experience with others as well as grow their creative and commercial interests.
How do you think your extensive background in the industry helps you to put on a better event?
Each aspect of my background provides me a different insight into the best way for me and my team to program and execute MUSEXPO. Maybe one of the most important pieces is my radio-mentality, which has provided the inspiration in the way that the entire event flows. MUSEXPO never has any competing events, similar to a radio clock, whether it’s a panel session, keynote, networking event or artist showcase.
Aside from that, when you pull in my experience booking, managing artists and composers, curating global music pre-discovery for visual media needs, promoting and managing venues, being a journalist, an A&R executive, a publisher, etc., these experiences have not only taught me how to manage and put together an event like this logistically, but they have, and continue to, bring my path across some incredibly talented, forward-thinking and influential music and media executives that come out to MUSEXPO every year because it’s an event at which they can do good business and make great relationships.
In addition, MUSEXPO fosters a great environment for forward-thinking artists and independent companies and entrepreneurs with a global vision. And most importantly, my experiences, and the experiences of my team, have made us all incredibly passionate music fans, which is what gives MUSEXPO the life that it has – passionate music fans coming together!
What makes MUSEXPO different from all the other conferences out there?
One of the biggest differences with MUSEXPO stems from my radio background in that we only have one agenda item scheduled at a time to ensure that attendees can fully digest all of the information being presented as well as creating maximum opportunities for delegates, speakers and showcasing artists. This practice has been especially useful for our showcasing acts as it ensures maximum visibility for them without other bands pulling the audience into multiple locations.
Another key aspect is that we intentionally keep the event’s delegate size to a smaller capacity than most other conferences. The reason for this is that the networking aspect of the event is one of the key reasons it was birthed in the first place. Our goal is to create a platform where key executives and decision-makers, as well as up-and-coming companies and individuals with amazing ideas, can come together to interact and not only meet, but maintain relationships with their peers.
Keeping the numbers manageable, as well as providing group networking lunches and mixers, allows attendees to get really good face-to-face time with people they might not be able to meet under normal circumstances. Which leads to another key point in the quality of our delegates – many of the executives who attend MUSEXPO don’t attend any other similar events in the world, and many of them are some of the most powerful individuals in the industry. You can look at our website and see some of the people who have attended in the past. We’re very proud of the fact that MUSEXPO has become a valuable platform for these industry leaders and our other delegates that see them returning year after year.
What are some of the highlights of the speakers and showcases for MUSEXPO 2016?
We’re very honored this year to be recognizing the achievements of one of radio’s most influential and respected executives, as well as one of the radio communities most iconic brands in Kevin Weatherly and KROQ. This April we will be presenting Kevin with our “International Music Industry Person of the Year” award as well as recognizing KROQ’s 40thyear anniversary. Kevin will also be doing a rare, one-on-one interview at MUSEXPO which will be very special.
In addition to that, we’re very lucky to have an amazing cross-section of executives participating including Alex Patsavas (Founder, Chop Shop Music Supervision), legendary A&R executive and Co-Founder of Sire Records Seymour Stein, Neil Warnock (Head of Worldwide Music, United Talent Agency), Mike Knobloch (President Film Music & Publishing, Universal Pictures), Evan Lamberg (President N. America, Universal Music Publishing Group), Scott Burnell (Global Lead, Business Development & Partner Management, Ford Motor Company), one of Shazam’s original co-founders Chris Barton, the legendary broadcaster Larry King, who will moderate the opening keynote and many, many others. In terms of showcasing artists, they’re all going to be amazing and we can’t wait to bring the world of music to the stages at SIR Studios in Los Angeles!
How did the MUSEXPO Synch Summit develop?
Through our day-to-day business of artist development through A&R Worldwide, we interact frequently with the music supervision community as they know us to be a reliable source of new music from around the world, and have helped deliver some amazing songs and artists that have become “iconic” synchs for many of the music supervisors and for their personal reputations and brands too.
What key industry topics will the panels be addressing this year?
Every year, MUSEXPO seeks to address the key topics of the last year from all aspects of the industry including A&R, publishing, live, radio, digital/tech, marketing, branded entertainment, mobile, streaming, talent development, management, music supervision and any other touch-point of music. This year will once again address those topics through a number of forums intended to inspire positive change and evolution for the global music community.
How many attendees are you expecting?
As mentioned earlier, we intentionally cap off the attendance to maintain the event’s integrity, so we will have no more than 600 delegates.
Would you recommend MUSEXPO to those having to travel that little bit further – from Europe, for example?
Definitely. In fact, a good portion of our delegates come from outside of the United States/North America. We have a strong attendance from the UK and mainland Europe as well as the Scandinavian territories, India, Australasia, South Africa, South America and many other parts of the world.
If you could give people 3 reasons to attend, what would they be?
1) You will have access to some of the most influential and forward-thinking executives, as well as an amazing and unique networking opportunity with them, as well as the chance to discover new creative and business opportunities from the U.S. and global markets – a lot of business gets done at MUSEXPO.
2) You will be exposed to amazing insight from both veterans of the industry and those who are new with incredible platforms/products/ideas that have the potential to change the global musical landscape.
3) Most importantly, you will have the opportunity to discover some of the best music the world has to offer!
What advice would you give to those already attending to make the most out of the event?
Bring plenty of business cards, leave your ego at the door and talk to everyone! You will find that MUSEXPO’s attendees, all the way from junior level team members to senior and management level team members, are incredibly approachable and open to hearing about your work and your projects as well as helping if they can through advice or other forms of support.
Can you give us any anecdotes from past events?
From a synch perspective there have been many including composer Neil Davidge, whose management met the supervisor from Xbox/Microsoft at MUSEXPO and landed the score for Halo 4, New Zealand’s Gin Wigmore scoring a major national U.S. synch with Loew’s, Sweden’s Teddybears getting into EA Games FIFA title, and hundreds of others.
Rather than say it myself, I’d love to share comments from a couple of our attendees:
“I’ve been attending and participating in MUSEXPO for many years and I love it! MUSEXPO showcases that I did very early in their careers brought Katy Perry and Jessie J to the attention of key global tastemakers and helped to set the stage for their respective launches.” – Jason Flom, President, Lava Records (former President Capitol Records)
“Once again thanks to you and your team for putting on such a professional event. The trip for me was extremely productive and I got some great ideas from the people who I met surrounding the conference.” – Richard Kingsmill, Music Director, Triple J Radio (Australia)
For more details on the event, which takes place in Hollywood between 17th-20th April 2016, check out musexpo.net.
Top photo from L-R: Ritch Esra (Publisher, Film & TV Guide), Alicen Catron Schneider (VP Creative Services, NBC Universal TV), Gary Calamar (President, Go! Music Services), Jason Alexander (Music Supervisor, Hit The Ground Running, Inc.), Steve Knill (EVP, Music & Entertainment, GMR Marketing), Kyle Hopkins (Head of Music Supervision, Xbox/Microsoft Media Acquisitions), Nis Bøgvad (Creative Director & Music Supervisor, Music Sales Group (Scandinavia))