10 Things I’m Looking Forward To At This Year’s MusicMatters

These Kids Wear Crowns MusicMatters

Next week, Asia’s premier Music Industry conference hits Singapore again. As always MusicMatters promises to be bigger and better than ever. OK, they always promise that, but it certainly looks to be true again, as the conference continues to expand and diversify its programme.

This will be my fourth time at the conference and it has changed a lot since my first experience, in Hong Kong in 2010. Here’s a list of things I’m looking forward to this year.

The Music – I would not have kept going to MusicMatters were it not for the presence of fellow musicians, both at the conference and on stage at the various music showcases. A conference with only suits would not appeal to me and part of what MusicMatters does so well is blend many parts of the music industry together. There are excellent opportunities for musicians to attend the talks, workshop and mentoring events and performers are given an excellent showcase; big enough to be engaging, but small enough to let new voices shine through.

Free And Fast WiFi – I love live-tweeting from MusicMatters and although I was more low-key last year, I still found plenty of quotes and photo opportunities to share. I hope the WiFi is fast and abundant this year, because I suspect a lot of attendees will be filling Twitter with reports and comments from the conference (my conference list already has over 130 members!). The conference was a trending topic on Twitter last year and I expect the same again.

Singapore Updates – Last year The Singapore Music Society (sgmuso) was announced at the conference. I played a tiny role in helping them, by setting up their website and mailing list before the conference. Since then the society has grown and held a number of interesting events. I look forward to hearing them report back and seeing the reaction to Singapore’s music scene from conference attendees, especially those flying in from outside Asia.

No More Business Cards – I still have a stash of thick, somewhat expensive business cards with my Singapore contact details on them. These will be useless come July when I move. So, I hope to exchange them for lots of new, useful cards from people I meet at the conference. Sure networking kind of sucks, but it sucks less in a room full of people who are actually doing the stuff you do, love and enjoy!

Hong Kong Represents – my former hometown still has a place in my heart and I’m always keen to hear how the music scene is evolving there. There’s some Hong Kong music on offer in the showcase and a fair few delegates flying in for the conference. I hope they can forgive me for leaving Hong Kong.

Friends – At the risk of alienating some of my hard core musician buddies, I’ve made some friends attending these conferences – yes, even amongst the suits. MusicMatters has managed to change with the times and once you get through the doors, it is not (totally) dominated by the big end of the industry, but has people working at all levels of music. In amongst the networking, sessions and showcases I look forward to catching up with old friends and maybe making a few new ones as well.

No Lefsetz – Apparently you are either supposed to love or hate music industry blogger Bob Lefsetz. Well, I propose a third category; people who just don’t care. He was fine at last year’s conference, even running a good interview with Kenneth Parks of Spotify. But, it was droll walking into conversations about whatever Lefzetz did, or didn’t say, or seeing bands desperately covet a mention on his so-called “letter.”

More Coffee – The catering is pretty good at MusicMatters. The event is held in the Ritz-Carlton after all. But, last year it was real hard to get a cup of joe outside the major scheduled breaks. At a conference like this people are always coming and going from the talks and using odd times (and less relevant sessions) to schedule meetings. The lack of coffee sent people scampering to other cafes, or other parts of the hotel. Unplanned meetings over coffee can be one of the most serendipitous joys of a conference like this.

Gurrumul – In previous years MusicMatters has featured some great talent like Jason Mraz & Imogen Heap. This year’s lineup is really good, but one name really stood out for me. Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, a blind Indigenous Australian singer is, quite frankly, a voice from the heavens. Already a star in Australia and acclaimed in Europe, being able to hear Gurrumul up close is more than a treat, it’s a privilege.

A Fond Farewell – With my upcoming move to Tokyo (and assuming MusicMatters stays in Singapore) the cost of attending the conference suddenly shot up. The realist in me thinks this might be my last MusicMatters, at least for a while. So, I really want to go out with a bang, have a great time, take plenty of photos and make lots of connections. These conferences have been an amazing experience for me and I hope one day I can give something back. But, for now, I want to say goodbye in style.

Previous MusicMatters Posts

Here’s a list of my updates and articles from previous iterations of MusicMatters.
MusicMattersLive 2012 – The Performers
MusicMatters 2012 – Day One
MusicMatters 2012 – Day Two
Musician’s Guide To Networking
MusicMatters 2011
MusicMatters Live (2011)
Live Concert Photography – Lessons Learnt
MusicMatters – The Conference (2010)
MusicMatters – The Music (2010)

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In his Tokyo studio Fernando combines his life-long passions for art and technology. On the road, he is always looking to take the next wrong turn, just to see what kind of images and stories might unfold. A photographer and writer, with a background in music, Fernando has lived in Chile, Australia, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. Read More.


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