HITS Daily Double
In the city that never sleeps, neither does our intrepid correspondent.


HITS Associate Editor Erica Ramon Checks In From the Big Apple’s Major Music Confab
Day Two is kind of when you get hip to how it works around here. The first day is spent optimistically running around with the hopes of making it to everything you want to see. Then the reality sets in on day two, and you realize that you just can’t make it to everything. That’s the nature of CMJ and New York.

I planned a more modest and, frankly more realistic, schedule for Day Two, which started with a panel on social networking and how it is impacting the musical landscape today. The best and brightest made this discussion one of the best this week. From Bill Nguyen of Lala to Ali Partovi of iLike, Chuck Wilson from Triumph Media Holdings Inc. and Paul Bergess of Slope Music and Marketing, there was a good array of experience as well as taste. Nancy Tarr moderated the panel, which provided an informative gateway into the world of social networking from the minds of those creating this new technology. Networks like Facebook and MySpace are allowing fans to discover music in new ways, not only virally, but methodically. Pairing fans with choices that their friends recommend, as opposed to what they hear on the radio or see on the charts, is one aspect that is setting sites like Lala and iLike apart.

I moved on to “Spring Awakening: Sex, Broadway and Rock ’n’ Roll shortly after. My main motivation for attending the panels is to learn and hear from those at the top of their game. “Spring Awakening” was no different, however, the fan in me came out for this one. I had the pleasure of meeting Steven Sater, whose vision brought this play to life, last year when I was still at BMI. After hearing the premise of the show I decided I had to see it; it didn’t sound like any other Broadway production I had seen. I was instantly a fan, and will be seeing it again next week when it opens in Los Angeles. But, enough about me; The panel included producer Tom Hulce, composer Duncan Sheik and mastermind, Steven Sater, along with a few cast members for excerpts from the live show. The panel focused on the controversial issues brought to light in the play, how and why it’s success has had a major impact on social issues among teens and the 7 year process it took to come to fruition. Duncan, Tom and Steven were all very well spoken and the vision that propelled them to make this dream a reality is the same vision that keeps their passion, intensity and vigor as strong as ever.

The final panel of the day appropriately titled “A Day in the Life of a Music Publisher,” moderated by J. Reid Hunter gave an insiders look to publishing from both the major and indie perspective. Mara Schwartz from Bug Music highlighted the idea that placements have become the most requested service on the part of the artists signing today. Jake Ottman, of EMI Music Publishing and Richard Stumpf of Cherry Lane Music, made sure to illustrate the importance of the song. As publishers, they are interested in well-crafted songs that will ultimately turn a profit. Doug Keogh (Roadrunner Records), the voice of label reasoning, reminded the panelists and the audience that it is important to maintain a level of value and that licensing songs in gratis is contributing to a lower standard in the industry as a whole. This was certainly one of the liveliest panels, providing for a sort of face off between the majors and the indies, allowing for smooth banter between the panelists.

In the city that never sleeps, neither do I. First band on tap for the night was An Horse at 205 Chrystie. A male/female duo; they are not brother and sister nor are they lovers and remind me a bit of Tegan and Sara. A short and early set, really only enough for one drink, and I was off to the BMI party to meet up with my friend Daryl Berg from FuelTV. Walked in, walked around, said hello to, Casey Robison from BMI and some other random club crawlers whose names I couldn’t hear over the music of Watt White and we were off to The Canal Room to fraternize with the enemy, ASCAP. Jennifer Knoepfle and I have been trying to have lunch for months now, to no avail. Leave it to us in the music business to meet up 3,000 miles from home. A better lineup here than at BMI, I must admit, although one of the bands they had up, 2AM Club, was a reincarnation of LFO from the 1990s; I was looking around the room for Lou Pearlman and the Abercrombie and Fitch girls, but never found them. As Tall as Lions’ set after midnight rounded the night out beautifully, as did picking up a new friend, Jason Silberman from ASCAP, but don’t tell BMI. Blaze James has been talking up a storm around the band since I started my post at HITS, and while I love the music, I had never seen them live. They brought out the largest audience of the night, and I watched (and participated) as fans danced around like maniacs and sang at the top of their lungs.

I realized today that my trip is more than halfway over. Help me go out with a bang and be a part of the adventure. Drop me a line at [email protected].