Where can you find the the world´s latest music and tech innovations at the same place and time? Well, apparently San Francisco is the place to go, and that´s exactly what I did. I recently traveled to the West Coast to check out a well-known conference called SF Music Tech ran by Bryan Zisc, a long hair hippie looking entrepreneur that wears jeans and a t-shirt. The entrance: $225 dollars with a 25% student discount.
The event started with an opening night party at Ssisso restaurant with lots of food, wine and beer. Guests arrived around 5 P.M and everyone seemed anxious to share ideas. The entrepreneurship world in the United States involves high level networking and going straight to the point with no fear: “Hello, my name is Julian and this is my idea”, exchange business cards, say thank you and move on to the next person. I spoke to a few people, saw different apps and after a few minutes thought: everybody is doing apps, is anyone doing new stuff? Is anyone doing something innovative for the music industry?
The conference took place at Kabuki Hotel on October the 17th. Registration began at 9AM. My Colombian friend Carolina, Massive Act´s CEO was very excited about the event. She will be a speaker at the same event held during December in Maui, which seems to be the coolest place for a conference. SF Music Tech as a whole was well organized, there was some confusion with the time and place were the panels where taking place. I saw a few conferences and after the third one I realized the event was not about going to panels, it was about networking, making connections and getting to know people that you wouldn´t easily meet. Without a doubt, my next move was to say hello to every single stranger sitting in the networking area. That´s how I met Vincent Favrat, Musimap‘s CEO and Ryan Schmidt from the famous Lagunitas beer.
SF Music tech is a short and fast paced event. There is no time to relax and think on what your food selection will be. You should move fast and be aware of who you want to meet, maybe meeting random people is also a good strategy. My fellow NYU Music Business classmate Matt Jong was also there, he was very enthusiastic about the event and about the closing party of course. For a student, this is definitely a great place to network and maybe land a startup job. Conferences were not that interesting from my perspective, maybe I’ve been to many of them or probably I listen to similar stories all the time.
With no doubt, James Blake was the cherry on the cake for my trip to San Francisco.Treasure Island Festival promoters arranged a last minute sold out show that same day to compensate people that couldn´t assist to the second day of the Festival due to bad weather conditions. Fox Oakland Theater, an impressive construction that fits 3,200 people was the venue. I was impressed by the venue´s quality, it has a bar a restaurant and beautiful architecture. James Blake did an impeccable performance, leading the audience from level 1 to 10 from beginning to end. People were so engaged with his performance that we were told to shut up 3 times while he was performing. It was interesting to see how some people react when they see an artist they really like.
All in all, SF Music Tech was a good networking event, not the best place to find what industry leaders have to say about music, but definitely the place to be if you want to open your eyes to a world full of possibilities. Even the world’s craziest idea has a spot at SF Music tech.