Tag Archives: Events

The Empowerment of Sitting in a Circle

Published 09/28/2021

By Howard Druckman

(Originally posted in June of 2019)

When I attended the 2019 Manito Ahbee Indigenous Music Conference and Awards in Winnipeg. One of the first things that struck me was the fact that, for the first day of the conference, all of the 50-odd participants were gathered in a single circle. Sounds like such a simple idea, right? But it’s incredibly empowering.

It places the moderator, and the five or six invited, knowledge-sharing experts, on the same non-hierarchical level as the attending musicians seeking that helpful information. As five or six microphones are passed freely between all participants, everybody who wants to ask a question gets to do so. Every question gets answered, often by more than one of the experts, or fellow musicians. Everybody’s welcome, everybody can see each other, everybody gets to be heard, and everybody – from novices to experts – gets to share their insights.

On the second and final day of the conference, the format was revised into a “goldfish-bowl” style, with an inner circle of about eight seats – each with a microphone – at a round table, and an outer circle of the rest of the participants. Without any specified subject, those in the inner circle discuss whatever issues or strategies are on their minds; anybody in the outer circle is free to move to the inner one and speak their mind, as others who’ve already spoken move back to the outer circle. Again, everybody gets their chance to say whatever they want to, and the content flows freely.

The “big-circle” and “goldfish-bowl” formats are the most effective I’ve seen for sharing knowledge, live, at a conference. They’re practically revolutionary, especially when compared and contrasted with the format of most music industry conferences.

At almost all other conferences I’ve attended over the past 30-odd years, almost all of the four-at-once sessions involve several experts and a moderator onstage, talking amongst themselves, before an audience of industry hopefuls. The “question-and-answer” section at the end is five minutes long, if that. The audience members rush the stage at the end to try and ask a question or two, and perhaps three or four of them get to do that. Even in the “one-on-one” consultations, each musician gets about five minutes with each expert, and they alone receive the knowledge – it’s not shared among the many. All of this is nowhere near as effective.

There’s so much to learn from how the First Nations music community operates, and I look forward to that process. Let’s start by sitting in a circle.

CIMA’s 2016 business mission to New York

Published 11/18/2016

By Trisha Carter

From Nov. 7-10, 2016, the Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) returned to the Big Apple for our second business mission to New York City entitled “Music & the City That Never Sleeps.” Prominent Canadian music business types signed up as delegates and had an intensive three days of one-on-one targeted meetings, roundtable discussions, and insightful tech visits and workshops. The purpose of the mission was to provide participating companies with an exclusive opportunity to undertake an extensive, valuable, structured foray into the New York music market.

After an orientation on Sunday night, CIMA’s delegation kicked into high gear on Monday morning with a roundtable discussion held at the Coffee Shop World Room that targeted live music and touring in New York City. Our participants got valuable tips from U.S.-based speakers Nick Bodor (Cake Shop), Doug Croy (The Windish Agency), Mehmet Dede (Drom), Stephen Dima (Dima Presents) and Gary Fortune (Mondo NYC). From there we visited the historic Gibson Showroom where a session was hosted by the new must-have music sharing app Cymbal.fm, followed by a tour of the showroom – a guitar players fantasy!

At the end of each of the three days, our delegation had targeted one-on-one meetings scheduled by our in-market consultant. These were organized ahead of time for the participants after consultations about their mission business objectives.

It was right back to work on Tuesday morning with another Roundtable discussion on the intricate world of music synchronization and publishing, featuring U.S.-based speakers Keith D’Arcy (Songs Publishing), Melissa Emert-Hutner (Kobalt Music Publishing), Matthew Evertsen (Moondog Music), Jedd Katrancha (Downtown Music Publishing), and Jean Scofield (mcgarrybowen). The afternoon was spent enjoying tech tours and workshops. Delegates visited feature.fm – the only truly native music ad platform –  followed by a stop at the Next Big Sound, an analytics and insight platform held across all social media. On Tuesday night, our Canadian delegation enjoyed a unique experience, as they got the opportunity to watch the U.S. presidential election unfold right in the heart of New York City.

On the final day, our roundtable discussions continued with a foray into marketing, press relations and radio, led by U.S. industry experts Leigh Lust (Pledge Music), Mischa Pearlman (freelance journalist), Perry Serpa (Vicious Kid PR) and Marni Wandner (Sneak Attack Media). The last day of tech visits started with a meeting at BandsinTown, a great app for tour announcements, where our delegates had a focused session on how to make this a valuable tool for their artists, managers and labels. The next visit was held at Soundcloud, where delegates got a first look at the company’s brand new Soundcloud Go mobile app, recently launched in Canada, as well as some insights on how best to use the product to their advantage. On our action-packed Wednesday we made one final stop at Indaba Music, an online music collaboration tool.

To absorb every last minute of knowledge-seeking in New York, we had a special dinner with Matthew Covey of Tamizdat and our sister association A2IM, at the Troy Liquor Bar – where our delegation learned about the challenges and advancements of the VISA process currently being developed with multiple partners, including CIMA.

To conclude an excellent few days of information and B2B meetings, we re-connected with our American business associates at the Speakeasy Industry Mixer at Troy Liquor Bar, an event produced by Sneak Attack Media, Bandsintown, CIMA and SOCAN.

CIMA was excited to once again work with a great team in New York City and pleased to have one of our sponsors, Rodney Murphy of SOCAN, join us for this mission and provide support on the ground.

CIMA gratefully acknowledges and thanks our generous sponsors and partners: Canadian Music Week (CMW), Corus Entertainment, the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (FACTOR), the Government of Canada (through the Canada Music Fund), Global Affairs Canada (through the GOA program), Harvard Broadcasting, Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), the Radio Starmaker Fund, Stingray Music and the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN).