Canadian Music Week Preview: Conferences

My column for this month is a special edition in honour of the upcoming Canadian Music Week: a five-day festival showcasing great Canadian music acts as well as conferences, lectures, award shows and films. It’s going to be a wild ride, and I want to show you which events will make you lean forward, flail your arms and smile.

CMW runs March 10-14, with events during the days and concerts/films in the evenings.

Canadian Music Week (and Fest – the music portion) require that you purchase passes to attend events (obviously). You can purchase weekly or daily passes. For more information, go here. However, if you want to go to just one concert, tickets can be purchased here.

This is the third part in a trio of articles in preparation for CMW. Today, we tackle the heavy conference schedule.


So, the TuneUp Conference seems to be the one with the most potential this year. There are a few other ones that focus on radio and digital sales, yadda yadda, but TuneUp is where you’ll get to see the talks that are the most interesting—plus some really random stars. “This conference is designed to help the creative talent – artists and recording professionals – hone their business skills and mesh them with their artistic muse,” states the website. Now, I may not be an artist or professional, but if I still find some of the lectures interesting, you probably will too.

On March 11:

  • Slash (of Guns & Roses, Velvet Revolver fame) gets interviewed by CNN Anchors (one is actually a former Much Music VJ). I mean come on! That is all that needs to be said. 11:15 a.m.
  • Five CEOs/Directors talk about the future of music distribution (cough, downloading). 12:20 p.m.
  • “Social Media and Online Tools for the Music Creator.” Pretty easy to figure this one out too. I do want to see what they have to say about what bands should be tweeting and putting up on their Flickr. I’m also confused as to when Red Bull started having recording artists (one of their speakers is Curtis Santiago).
  • Jamie Cullum will be interviewed and also be performing. He’s a jazz musician from the UK, but really unique since he covers Radiohead, Pharrel and more. 3:30 p.m.

On March 12:

Bob Lefsetz
  • Day Job? What’s That? David Stopps’ ‘How To Make A Living From Music.’” Stopps, a big-time manager from the UK has written a book with of the same name, and it might be interesting (this one mostly for musicians) to hear what he has to say. 12:30 p.m.
  • “The Fan Is Always Right…” I know this. You know this. Now everybody knows this! A few people from American companies are coming up to explain how they’ve actually incorporated their fans into their business models. And while that sounds interesting, it also sounds dangerous. 1:40 p.m.
  • Bob Lefsetz, who writes The Lefsetz Letter by email subscription and blog a few times a day (and in lengthy amounts), is coming to speak. He’s only scheduled one hour, but I predict this will go overtime. 2:45 p.m.
  • “Indie Super Session.” A huge panel of label guys are going to talk about the difference between indie and mainstream acts, plus the internet’s role in that. It sounds really obvious, but I still think this could be a good talk. 5 p.m.

On March 13:


The Rural Alberta Advantage
  • “Songs in the Key of Light.” This panel is about how music gets onto film, TV and advertising soundtracks. I’ve always been curious about this job since I was a kid (always thinking I could pick better songs than the people who do it) so it’s time for me to go school myself (or find a way to get one of those jobs)! 1:45 p.m.
  • “Primp my Performance: How to Own the Stage.” You know, I may have stage fright, but this might just be worth seeing. Unless the presenter makes all the audience members do stuff. In which case, you’ll see me running out of the room, without any grace whatsoever. 4:15 p.m.
  • The Indies. This is pretty much the award-finishing (for real) finale of the festival each year. There are ten awards – including for Best Music Critic (I’m not on the list, sadly) and ChartATTACK’s favourite album. Performances by Desperate Union, Plants & Animals, Great Lake Swimmers, The Rural Alberta Advantage and The Constantines. 7 p.m.

For more information, go here.