A lot of goes into promoting yourself online. I am a huge advocate for networking in real life, which can be accomplished most effectively than attending conferences for music industry professionals.
Once you are there you want to be memorable when you are networking in the real world but where should you go to do that?
I have many possible answers for you!
Music conferences are invaluable when looking to learn and to grow in the industry. There are so many types to choose from depending on what kind of thing you like – small and intimate, huge and overwhelming, hyper-focused or more general. No matter which one you decide to attend events you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself with networking, meeting established professionals and making connections with other artists all who can be vital to your growth.
Here is a list of some of my favorite music conferences offered in North America in 2019.
Women In Music
Industry Panels, Networking Events & Parties • All Year Long
Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, LA, Miami, Nashville, NYC, and more!
Even though this is not technically a music conference, I strongly encourage you to join. WIM is an incredible organization with a mission to advance awareness, equality, diversity, heritage, opportunities, and cultural aspects of women in the musical arts.Their seminars, panels, showcases, achievement awards, and youth initiatives celebrate the female contribution to the music world and strengthens community ties. Keep an eye on their calendar for events in your area.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada • February 13-17, 2019
This is the world’s largest gathering of the fold music industry and community. This conference’s main purpose is to focus on creating and maintaining a conversation about spirituality in art, collaboration, and innovation. This is an amazing conference is a fantastic opportunity to see folk music in the amazing hotel room settings they offer.
Durango Songwriters Expo
Ventura, CA • February 21-23, 2019
Durango is an incredible resource for songwriters and those trying to break out into the songwriting portion of the music industry. It is “the best-kept secret in the music industry,” quite honestly! Pitch your songs to publishing companies, major record labels, & music supervisors. They offer songwriting classes, song listening sessions with professionals, panels on publishing in film/TV, and even songwriting contests.
Austin, TX • March 8-17, 2019
The South by Southwest music conference allows attendees to explore the future of the music, media, technology, and cultural realms. Its mission is to bring all people together to talk about diverse topics and ultimately give insight into this ever-changing industry while fostering creative and professional growth. Plus it’s a great party.
Los Angeles, CA• March 24 – 29, 2019
This event offers an in-depth analysis of the global music landscape from leading executives and innovators across all facets of the industry. MUSEXPO provides insights and opportunities from the global music synchronization arena. There are lots of panels and lectures focused on worldwide synch business including film, TV, gaming, advertising and brand partnerships.
Winter Music Conference
Miami Beach, FL • March 26-28, 2019
The WMC is an electronic music conference coming up on its 34th year. These music conferences call in industry professionals, producers, artists, promoters, record labels, and enthusiasts. There are various seminars, panels, workshops, parties, DJ spinoffs, and networking events for those in the industry or looking to learn more about the music industry.Now officially a part of Miami Music Week, the new WMC will now offer two distinct segments targeted at industry professionals as well as music consumers looking to learn more about this exciting industry and the music, technology, and culture that powers it.
LAUNCH Conference & Festival
Lancaster, PA • April 25-28, 2019
This event is a conference and festival combined! The event features a schedule packed full of panels, seminars, parties, events, and performances. The conference portion of LAUNCH provides a unique opportunity for artists, music industry professionals and fans to meet, network and further their careers. The festival portion features music of all genres, of small artists that are expected to gain popularity.
ASCAP I Create Music EXPO
Los Angeles, CA • May 2-9, 2019
The ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO is the largest gathering of songwriters in North America. ASCAP’s signature event will take place in Hollywood, California and mark its 14th year in 2019. The event promises three days of performances, informational panels, and musical inspiration! The EXPO is renowned for providing aspiring songwriters and composers with networking opportunities, one-on-one feedback and real-world advice from established songwriters. It is an unforgettable and authentic experience. You leave with real knowledge, tools, connections and a community of support and guidance you can’t find anywhere else. ASCAP members get a discount but anyone can attend.
Music Biz Conference
Nashville, TN • May 5-8, 2019
The Music Business Association’s 60th-anniversary conference brings together global power players and industry enthusiasts committed to the future of music monetization for 100+ panels, presentations, workshops, private meetings, cocktail parties, live music, and more. They offer panels that breakdown the latest news in the music business all while teaching you how to apply it to your personal brand.
Canadian Music Week
Toronto, Canada • May 9-11, 2019
Canadian Music Week (or CMW as many refer to it) is an industry conference and music festival held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.This conference leading annual entertainment event dedicated to the expression and growth of Canada’s music, media and entertainment industries. It has an amazing amount of panels, keynotes and showcases.
Make Music New York
New York City, NY • June
Every June is New York Music Month, the official New York City celebration of the most diverse music scene in the world. The annual conference presented by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, NY is Music, and the NYU Steinhardt Music Business Program is a key component of the month. There are tons of free workshops and panels and masterclasses throughout the city and a full celebration of musicians with live shows in every borough.
Toronto, Canada • June 7-16 2019
Definitely, one of Toronto’s leading festivals, NXNE is a raging annual 10-day summer festival and conference every June in Toronto, featuring: music, gaming, comedy, interactive and more at this packed cultural explosion. NXNE celebrates its 25th year in 2019 and takes over Toronto with showcases, panels, parties, installations, and more. The festival includes a major free, three-day music festival in the centre of the city at Canada’s biggest street corner, Yonge and Dundas. It also features comedy, food, art installations and more.
New York City, NY • June 13-14, 2019
Nashville, TN • September 22- 23, 2019
Los Angeles, CA • December 2-3, 2019
SyncSummits consistently brings together the top executives in the sync market for discussion, networking and dealmaking. YOU get access to the email addresses of all attendees before, during, and after the event, a huge plus for networking. The conference is intimate enough not to overwhelm and informative so that you walk away with a new outlook on how to approach sync licensing.
Independent Music Awards
New York City, NY • June 21-22, 2019
Now on its 17th year, The Annual IMA Award Ceremony and Independent Music Party Industry Conference brings extraordinary artists and industry from around the world together in celebration of the independent music business. The IMAs honor the most exceptional music, videos, concert photography, and designs by established and emerging talent. Most importantly, IMA connects all of these creators to a wider audience. While this is not technically a “Conference” The IMAs take deep care in facilitating networking and connections.
Latin Alternative Music Conference
New York City, NY • TBD July 2019
LAMC has been around for almost 20 years, creating a platform for independent Latin musicians to connect and learn about the industry. With live performances, a series of panels, concerts and exhibitions, it is designed to highlight emerging Latin artists working outside the mainstream.
CD Baby DIY Musician Conference
Austin, TX • August 16-18, 2019
This is specifically for independent musicians. At this conference, you will learn a ton and get a chance to network with like-minded artists, with the ultimate understanding that “do it yourself” doesn’t have to be as lonely as it sounds. The event promotes actionable industry education, access to the best brands in the music business, and an indie community that welcomes musicians of all ages and genres. You’ll learn from active leaders in the space, get one-on-one mentoring, make lasting connections, and walk away with both a plan of action AND the fire to get it done!
Nashville, TN • September 10-15, 2019
This coming year is the 20th anniversary Americana Festival and Conference which features over 500 live performances in venues all over Nashville. The conference portion features numerous panels, seminars, exclusive day time performances, and much more, proudly providing Nashville’s most educational music industry forum. This special event covers the interests and needs of artists, managers, labels, radio stations, publishers, agents, promoters, retailers, legal and business affairs executives, merchandisers and new media professionals – all enthusiastically attended and presented by music industry leaders.
New York City, NY • October 15 – 18, 2019
Mondo.NYC, a Global Business Summit and Music Festival, announces its fourth annual four-day event. By day, Mondo.NYC, headquartered in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is an incubator for the music and tech industries and by night, it’s a platform for emerging artists from around the globe performing at New York’s premier independent venues. Join professionals, artists and festival-goers October 15-18, 2019 for an enriching experience for fans and creators alike who share a mission of empowering artists and advancing ideas in ever-changing music and technology businesses.
The Rock/Star Advocate’s Music-preneur Mindset Summit
New York, NY • Fall 2019
This summit is geared towards those who strive to learn how to think like an entrepreneur, manage the business of your music, create sustainable streams of income, and reach the fans who want to engage with you without suffering from burnout. Also, keep an eye on Suz, aka the Rock/Star Advocate, she takes time and energy to curate an event that focuses on self-care and mindset at this intimate and informative music conference.
TAXI Road Rally
Los Angeles, CA • November 7-10, 2019
TAXI has been helping musicians from all over the world since 1992. Prior to TAXI, it was nearly impossible for musicians to get their music to the right people unless they lived in one of the major music cities and had a well-connected manager or music attorney. They host a free conference every year called The Road Rally and it has panels, classes, one on one mentor sessions and special listening and feedback sessions as well as VIP luncheons.
Billboard Live Music Summit + Awards
Los Angeles, CA • TBD November 2019
Billboard presents live music’s top gathering of industry insiders, power players, and artists for a 360-degree look at the challenges and opportunities we share as an industry. This year’s summit will redefine and expand the boundaries of the live experience.
The sheer volume of music industry events in the world is growing exponentially every year. try and find one that fits your needs. I hope this list narrowed down your search for music conferences best suited for you to learn and grow in this industry. If you know of one to add please leave it here in the comments.
If you want more music business and music marketing tips, check out Ariel’s latest book Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity
This is a REQUEST, moving forward can you add the African American Music Conferences like BET awards, Essence Festival, GMWA, BMI Trailblazer, Soul Train Awards, BET Honors, Stellar Awards & Summit, Dove awards,
Yes of course we can. We have not updated this b/c there are no IRL conferences happening at the moment (top of 2021).