Los Angeles, CA (June 2, 2005)–Over 600 executives and artists from 24 countries converged in Los Angeles over May 1-4, for the first-ever Musexpo, an international forum of music and media. Hosted by A&R Worldwide and held at the Wyndham Bel Age hotel in West Hollywood, the four-day event was a networking opportunity for proactive members of the music biz, featuring influential figures from record companies, radio, management, booking agencies, publishing companies, film and new media.
“The conference was a triumph,” stated Jason Flom, co-chairman/CEO Atlantic Records Group/president Lava Records.
Musexpo kicked off with an oft-times contentious keynote panel moderated by Larry King, who provoked verbal pyrotechnics between artist Dave Navarro and the heads of Clear Channel Entertainment, Napster, Universal Music & Video Distribution, the Recording Academy and BBC Radio One. Not unlike the keynote roundtable, the other informative, up-to-the-minute and fully interactive panels (which included “Global Talent Booking, Touring & Festival Promotion,” “International Distribution & Digital/New Media,” “Artist Development Via Consumer Media,” “International Managers Forum,” “A&R Worldwide,” “Radio Broadcasters Breaking Bands” and “International Music Meeting”) also inspired spirited debate, involving not only the respected international execs on stage but also a wide variety of audience members. But that was just the beginning: each day’s panels were capped off by nightly showcases starring some of the most sensational new music-makers to be found from around the globe.
In an article on March 6, 2005, Steve Hochman of the Los Angeles Times had projected that “…the ‘stars’ of this first Musexpo may be those in the audience at the shows rather than on stage.” And while it’s true that the executive star-power in attendance was impressive, some future musical stars definitely shone during the three nights of musical showcases at the Key Club, Roxy and Viper Room. As a result of their performances at Musexpo, French chanteuse SoShy, up-and-coming UK act Story One and Australian rockers Shifter have all been offered major label recording contracts. But that’s not all–a number of other artists (including Jem Cooke, Engerica, Warren Suicide, McQueen, The Resin Dogs, Breed 77, Del Castillo, Mono Band, Goldenhorse, Silent Gray, The Hero Factor, Evermore, Countermine, Verra Cruz, James Carrington, Cass, Choir Boy and Missy Higgins) have received significant global interest from radio, record companies, publishers, managers, booking agents and sponsors, resulting in talks with various domestic and international entities in regards to opportunities that have arisen as a result of their showcasing at Musexpo.
Musexpo was conceived by Sat Bisla, Steve Smith and Jim McKeon of A&R Worldwide, the influential global artist discovery/development firm whose staff played a pivotal role in the early discovery, development and/or exposure of such artists as Dido, Missy Higgins and Keane outside of traditional channels. “We worked hard to control the size, context and manageability of this event to ensure that it’s beneficial to everybody, without being overwhelming,” noted McKeon, while partner Bisla hopes the real spirit of the convention continues throughout the year: “Having like-minded people with vested interests in the future of the music industry come together is crucial for all of us. I hope that the sense of community we shared here will flourish, and that we can all continue the dialogue that was started here.”
And although dates for next year’s event have yet to be confirmed, the same question was on the lips of many of the delegates at the close of the conference: “Where do I sign up for next year?”
Stay tuned for the answer to that question, or log on to www.musexpo.net and sign up for A&R Worldwide’s weekly newsletter.