ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO marked the 14th year of American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers annual conference in Los Angeles,. The event took place May 2-4 at the Loews Hollywood Hotel, drawing hordes of attendees from across the globe over the course of its three days. The expo’s collection of high-level movers and shakers in the music creation industry makes it essential for anyone trying to do anything creative in music. The only drawback is just how many amazing panels and sessions are happening at the same time. making you wish you could clone yourself for the duration.
The convention’s well-organized flow made moving in between panels, sessions and exhibitor booths smooth, as well as allowed attendees to speak to each other easily. This was perhaps the most encouraged activity of the entire conference: networking sideways rather than up.
The insiders on Billboard’s “We Create Music” panel were a huge draw: Nineteen85 (Drake), Anthony Rossomando (A Star is Born), Pinar Toprak (Captain Marvel) and Lee Ann Womack. Panelists on “Publishing 101” included Sue Drew (Kobalt), Jacob Fain (Sony), Luke McGrellis (Universal), Monti Olson (BMG) and Ryan Press (Warner/Chappell). The advice came fast and furious, yet you could still network with the person sitting next to you.
If you’re trying to get people to hear your music, there were multiple opportunities to showcase at Shure: Open Mic on their array of equipment, or at PMC Playback Sessions on accurate monitoring. And if you were looking for in-depth information on mastering with IK Multimedia, or how to collect your money using SoundExchange or getting advice on songwriting from experts at Musicians Institute, you could dip into any of the sponsored sessions. Some of the other sponsors with sessions were YouTube, Sennheiser/Neumann, and iZotope.
One of the many benefits of ASCAP EXPO is getting unhurried time with exhibitors who can focus on your particular questions and go through their products with you one-on-one. This is practically an impossibility at NAMM and very welcomed at ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO. In-demand manufacturers such as Universal Audio and iZotope were on hand, as well as Apogee and Avid, to mention a few.
Perhaps the most valuable panels were “How to Make it in the New Music Business” with Ari Herstand, author of the book of the same name and of Ari’s Take, and “Limitless Songwriting” with Steven Battey (Justin Bieber), Sam Hook (Ella Mai), Leland (Troye Sivan) and Priscilla Renea (Rihanna). Herstand provided a combination of hilarious entertainment and highly practical information. The diverse talent on “Limitless Songwriting” set themselves apart from other participants in similar panels with their passion and openness about their process and the realities of being a songwriter.
With yoga every morning and many networking opportunities every evening, ASCAP EXPO had everything covered and was well worth the price of the badge, travel and accommodation. Keep your eyes peeled for when 2020’s dates are announced.