Indie Week, organized by the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), brings together hundreds of record labels, artists and industry people to connect and shape the future of the music industry. In terms of influence and commerce Indies are starting to dominate the music industry eclipsing even the Major labels. That’s partly because Indie record labels are a broad group encompassing everything from brand new labels to established juggernauts (Adele is on an Indie). But within this diverse group there are a lot of the same pain points, strategies, and opportunities for growth. And because music is about the vibe, the music industry operates similarly where face time is key to make real things happen. At A2IM’s Indie Week real things happen.
The schedule includes interactive panels, workshops, keynotes and one-on-one discussions. Tim Westergren, co-founder and CEO of Pandora (also a sponsor) is a keynote speaker and various panel topics include connected devices, AR/VR, playlisting, payments and more with plenty of networking time too. This year’s festival takes place in the LES, a historic hot bed of artistry of all kinds, adding to the vibes. Indie Week’s final event is the Libera Awards bringing together members of the Independent community to celebrate the year’s biggest Independent success stories as voted on by their peers. This year nominees include Radiohead and Bon Iver amongst other important artists. The night will also feature performances by Twin Peaks, Nick Hakim, Nick Lowe, Ani Difranco.
In addition to Indie Week, New York City gets another flavor of the music industry with Northside Festival. Northside brings it’s Music and Innovation conferences to Williamsburg and Greenpoint adding even more artists and creatives to the NYC mix. Northside Festival brings a massive influx of bands playing music from countless genres and styles with artists from the DIY to Indie label to Major label worlds. Northside estimates over 350 bands will play in 30 different venues bringing over 100,000 attendees to see the festivities in person.
With Northside Innovation attendees see over 200 speakers, media personalities and content creators during the two day conference. The conversations and collaborations of innovators from the worlds of music, tech, marketing, government, VC, and more help keep the New York City music industry vital and relevant. Attendees get to hear about everything from high level discussions, to actionable business tactics, to emerging technology. As an example on Friday on the Fortune Stage Spotify, SoundCloud and Apple Music executives talk about the effect streaming music is having on broader culture.
There is plenty more to dig into at Northside and just like Indie Week there is a lot of potential for growth. With these two industry events (plus the inaugural NYC Music Month) it feels like the NYC music industry is growing to new heights even after CMJ’s demise. And with the growth of streaming, live music, and added tax incentives it appears that the New York City music industry is set for another banner year.