Last week, TuneCore kicked off its second ever Indie Artist Forum, inviting musicians and industry professionals to meet at the Acme Feed & Seed in Nashville, TN. The goal was to hold discussions with independent music makers and songwriters, share wisdom from folks in the field, and revel in performances by talented TuneCore Artists based in the creative city.
Folks began to line up outside the venue as early as 9:00 AM, and not long after, the Forum was underway! Eager artists and songwriters checked in, mingled and grabbed some breakfast – just in time to catch TuneCore singer-songwriter Justin Klump perform.
As breakfast wrapped up, our noble host, the ever charismatic artist Kelley James hit the stage to introduce TuneCore CEO Scott Ackerman. He connected with the crowd, sharing notes on TuneCore’s 2015 growth, and where the company is headed in 2016. Scott’s words resonated with the artists in attendance, and they were reminded that they, too, were very much part of the company.
“Our ultimate goal is to be on the journey with TuneCore Artists, from that first song all the way through their career,” Ackerman explained.
Next, it was time for our first music industry guest to speak, legendary Grammy award-winning producer, artist and songwriter, Charlie Peacock. Charlie urged artists to establish some level of flexibility and adaptability, even while maintaining their authenticity. As someone who has navigated the business so well himself, his advice meant a lot.
“The path you want to be on is a middle-way, you want to enjoy your successes, knowing that they won’t last long. You must reinvent and reinvent,” Charlie divulged, adding “If you’re ever in a dip, find out why you started making music in the first place. If you’re a maker, you’ve got to be making. You’re only stuck if your imagination is stuck.”
After geeking out over Mr. Peacock, it was time to introduce the rock star known as Peter Frampton! Frampton awed the audience with an inspirational overview of his career, stressing the importance of dedication and practice, as well as taking notes from the best to help grow your music and performance.
Check out some of our favorite Peter Frampton quotes from the Forum:
- On guitar: “Unless I get a great sound that inspires me, I can’t play.”
- On his biggest inspiration: “Django Reinhardt. I think I have every recording he’s ever done. You can tell when you listen to him play, that’s all passion.”
- Advice to young artists on connecting with their audience: “I was very shy when I first went on stage. Along the way I watched all these bands and how they communicated with the audience – it’s a special power. I learned so much from Steve Marriott.”
- On new technology in music: “Use technology – don’t let it use you.”
- On putting your influences to work: “It’s all about stealing from the best.”
After a two hour session with the rock idol, it was time for lunch and a performance from Nashville-based country duo Like Strangers!
Hitting the stage next was a local celebrity and accomplished publisher/songwriter whose worked with Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw and Blake Shelton (to name a few) – Craig Wiseman!
Craig captivated the room with his candid advice on starting and growing your music career. He shared insights on co-writing, paralleling it with dating and how it takes time to find the right co-writing partner, and the impact that can make on your career. He kept the whole room laughing and garnered several standing ovations!
“There’s no conspiracy that the record label doesn’t want you,” said Wiseman, “When it’s all said and done, it’s simple: it’s about great freaking music. If you want to get out of bed and make a song every three months, it’s not going to happen.”
“But if you want to play ball like Michael Jordan – if you’re busting your ass, and you’ve got the song, you can’t stop the phone from ringing. It’s your game to get to that level.”
Genevieve Thompson and Drew Simmons were summoned to the stage after Mr. Wiseman to share insights on growing a music career in 2016 and utilizing social media to build your audience. Thompson is a partner at Back 40 Entertainment – a label, publishing and management company – and Simmons is the artist manager behind Young the Giant and GM of Foundations Artist Management.
“You shouldn’t skip steps in establishing an audience before you show them your music,” Drew advised when questioned about building hard ticket sales.
Our final speaking guest of the day was John Marks – taste making SiriusXM music programmer and current Head of Global Programming, Country Music at Spotify. He provided insights on the changing landscape of radio and the future of streaming. Marks challenged the audience, insisting that there has never been so much opportunity for independent musicians to be discovered and heard as there is today.
“I am calling the kettle black – I was always a radio person my entire life, but streaming is simply the wave of the future,” John regaled. “There’s a whole generation of people ages 12-34 who are growing up without a traditional radio experience.”
What better way to close out a day of indie music strategy discussion than with another performance?! TuneCore Artist and Nashville newcomer R.LUM.R capped off a long day by captivating his peers, our speaking guests, and the TuneCore staff with his edgy and thoughtful R&B tunes.
Just a couple hours after R.LUM.R wrapped up his set, the Acme Feed & Seed was transformed and our first-ever TuneCore Live: Nashville was underway!
Up first was the brand new Nightly! We’re always pleased to showcase our talented artists at TuneCore Live, but this was the first time we’ve had a group perform that was also playing their FIRST show! Nightly got the energy going early with their catchy indie pop sounds.
Up next was country artist Ray Scott, who helped us keep this thing as “Nashville” as possible! Wielding a traditional country sound, Ray entertained show goers with renditions of his hits like “Drinkin’ Beer” and “Those Jeans”.
Closing out the night was the charming singer songwriter Meghan Linsey. Sound familiar? You may have caught her as a contestant on this small-time TV show known as The Voice in 2015! Meghan kept the crowd going and provided the perfect soundtrack to close out an amazing Saturday of music, education, and of course, a little bit of partying.
A special thanks goes out to all of our guest speakers, performing artists, our sponsors and most importantly, the independent artists who took time out of their weekend to work on their career and join us for what turned out to be an amazing day of learning and discussion. We cannot wait to party again, and you can stay tuned for details of our next Indie Artist Forum!
Check out our photo gallery from the Indie Artist Forum and TuneCore Live Nashville: