time to change the way we view music and the arts

Convoluted conferences (and how we can get AAMPP’ed for a change)

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We Connect You to Music!
Cit. AAMPP.net

Note to my readers:

Before I get into the usual contemplations on another arts related quandary, I want to talk to you, my readers, about some of the news and positive changes on the horizon for Throw the Dice and Play Nice. We’ve been together for some time now and, as is the goal and aspiration of many self-starting bloggers/writers, my little corner of the internet has now grown past its adolescent stage and into the next step of maturity as a website. 

AAMPP, the social music network, whom I am gently introducing you all to in the regular post below, took an interest in Throw the Dice after discovering a write up I did on their service last year. Since that time, myself and the co-founders of AAMPP have been in numerous talks and back and forth exchanges about what it would mean for my website to become a partner of AAMPP and for the words I write to be shared and supported via their platform. The short answer is that I write and AAMPP promotes me as a partner and my fancy-shmancy “TITLE” is now Executive Editor. Although, as these posts have always been from my brain, the day-to-day meaning is the same. haha.

Rest assured that just because I am partnered with a company larger than my own self, Throw the Dice and Play Nice is still about what it’s always been about: game-changing and stereotype-busting, people, ideas, questions and works that redefine our current world view of music and the arts. The future will bring changes; like a new website redesign, eventually integrating more types of content more often, maybe even additional writers down the line… (?!) but the core of what I write about will remain the same, so don’t worry, I’m not losing my sense of self and neither is this blog. We’ve just grown up a little more starting today and made some cool new friends. I hope you are as excited for these developments as much as I am and that you will continue to visit, read, comment, challenge and maybe even invite a few friends to stop by too. 

You will still be able to find Throw the Dice and Play Nice the same way you always have, here on Blogger, as well as through its recently implemented dot com domain at Throwthediceandplaynice.com. Any further changes in these primary methods of access won’t happen before you guys know about it. Right now, the only additions will be promotion of the posts through AAMPP’s social outlets but I will still self-publish and promote from all the places you’ve come to be used to.

If any of you have questions or thoughts, zap them to me -I’d love to hear! In the meantime, let’s get back to your regularly scheduled questioning of the music world.

Cheers all, 


P.S. (And most importantly, my sarcasm and academic snark isn’t going anywhere.)  

Most of us get excited whenever news of an upcoming social event comes up in conversation. This can ring true for both the events in our personal lives and the events that tie us back to our professional cohorts. Those of us in the music industry might sometimes even be inclined to mix the two together, seeing as how music can be for both work and play. The former is usually presented in the form of a conference, summit, expo or some collective of a similarly-labeled nature.
That said, let’s muse on this:
Why do we rely so much on grandiose and exorbitant gatherings (and yes, let’s even include the slightly more cost effective ones) to gather up our biggest pile of business cards and plan for a new hoard of connections with which to work or communicate –presumably for years to come following a conference?”
The instant answer might seem obvious, as one might assume I have provided my own answer in the second half of the above question. Consider though, that at least some of these hypothetical connections won’t end up making direct collaborative headway with you. Nevertheless, you will continually “check-in” with them whenever “that conference where you met” comes around; most likely just to catch up, hear whatever new ideas or current projects this “industry colleague” has going on at the time.
This scenario, might be partially why conferences feel like such an over-inflated furor: people end up doing more of what feels like socializing, under the facade of connecting, rather than actually discussing work matters and being productive about them. It could be construed as a “giant party of working people where you go to make friends and then go home to do your work together.” Therefore, really, does that mean this whole “conference thing” is about putting on a good social face and the work(ers) we seek is for outside? What if you have a huge idea, and the next big gathering isn’t for eight more months, and, well…one can’t just jump up and throw a party to get that ice breaker they need for sharing their idea or finding the necessary collaborators.
Herein lies one situation I’m sure at least a portion of you have felt constrained by, at one point or another.
Interestingly, we have the internet, as well as mobile devices that bring the internet with us wherever we go, and yet, the conference mentality and framework hasn’t been able to come along for the ride, except for when said gatherings choose to stream live. Still, one has to wait for “that time of year” to arrive. Past that, let’s not even breach the topic of segmented experiences, as conferences are so over stimulating that no one ever meets everyone there and so much potential gets lost in the mix. No matter how perfectly color-coded and organized one’s to-do list is prior to the first day, if the you and the list could truly hit upon everything, you wouldn’t need the list.
The team of AAMPP, my own newest partners and newest “industry connection,” are all about turning this problem upside down, while also adding to the proposed solution –not just declaring that someone or something else fix the issue or just stating, “We’re going to promote doing the opposite of what the current norm is.” After all, if fixing or shifting something could be accomplished just by acting in opposition to oneself, then most problems in the world would be solved. Not unexpectedly, the world doesn’t work this way.
It’s true that some music industry gatherings, often times those crossing into the tech sector, (e.g. Music Tech Fest, MIDEM), have taken collaboration into full account by facilitating work spaces at conference locations –not leaving attendees to seek out the nearby bar or coffee shop to get any gears going. This focus on not stopping short of the handshake and “call me” gesture in a crowded room is where AAMPP comes in, reaching farther because of its 24/7 existence. AAMPP is socially connective but professionally powered and is always available for visiting.
Social networks are no new concept and a social network gravitating around music isn’t new either. What AAMPP represents that is new, is the idea that every member of the music business community is encouraged to be the creative people they are but when it comes to putting the thinking and doing hats on, the entire network of members is out there: Artists, Agents, Managers, Promoters, Producers (and yes, fans too.)
Music and art in general, is a social and fun-oriented field. There’s no stopping or squashing that. People make songs, need to share them, explain them and compare them. The same goes for any of the promotional strategies that come along with those songs. In this way, energetic industry folk are bound to be talking about stuff they are listening to, making commentary on lyrics or an artist’s newest photo shoot wardrobe. There is undoubtedly some fun to be had in forming and making these commentaries but after the initial exposure, any one of these music biz professionals probably wants to do something substantially reactive with what they have just been shown –either in that they become part of the team working on said material or that they become inspired to work on a new project of their own.
The convenience of having a hub like AAMPP, where, right from the start you know the whole network in front of you is comprised of just people in your field and knowing there is a section on this digital platform to develop any facet of the business for yourself, whether in the form of creating, commenting or collaborating, makes AAMPP exactly what a conference is but without the expense, exhaustion or limitation of time. Short of losing the physical handshake, AAMPP is the in-between industry professionals need and probably want during those stretches of conference-less months when it might seem odd to call people up out of the blue or even to email them, as the latter could feel like a newsletter solicitation, even if you know the recipient well.
Imagine having forever-access to a room of infinite size, knowing that somewhere in this room, the best studio drummer you’ve ever heard, (based on a video they posted of a new track they laid down,) is only a private message away. Furthermore, according to their profile, it looks like they only live 30 minutes away from the studio where the newest artist on your label’s roster is recording next month. That’s just enough time to get acquainted, express your interest, meet for coffee and even show the recording space before you send over music. Then, before you know it, killer studio drummer acquired –all without needing a plane ticket or 25 dollar beer in the process.
Of course, in closing, let me just say that I don’t hate conferences. They are great. They are fun. They do introduce you to people in a way that involves no use of a computer screen, which is never a bad thing in a world that is so overrun with little glowing devices that follow us everywhere.  AAMPP just fills in a major gap and supports an inherent weakness in the method of hosting one big cram session of introductions. Put real-life networking and AAMPP together and when that proverbial conference comes back around on the calendar, you and your drummer will be able meet in person and and not feel the pressure to fit 364 days of ideas into three.
You can check out this introduction video to AAMPP below and follow me on AAMPP here.

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