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Michael Robertson detailed MP3.com's philosophy of music as a service, offering an optimistic vision of the future of the music business. Michael also dropped HITS' name during the presentation, which was the part we kind of understood.

THE EAT'M CONFERENCE:
HITS ROLLS THE DICE

How We Made Friends, Lost Money
And Wore The Goggles In Vegas

By Simon Glickman

Music conferences are always a gamble. But EAT'M, the Las Vegas-based music confab, ups the ante by luring music execs—notably weak-willed A&R types—to Sin City under vaguely deductible conditions.

Thus the usual smorgasbord of panels, showcases, convention-hall tech demos and hallway schmoozing was complemented by blackjack (ouch!), craps (yikes!), roulette (oy vey), strippers (All Nude!) and other "gaming" options.

Addled by plague-like hangovers, anguished by squandered funds, some members of your intrepid HITS staff still managed to be physically present for whole portions of EAT'M (which stands for Emerging Artists & Talent in Music). Co-founders Lisa Tenner and Sue Shifrin-Cassidy touted the second annual three-day event as "Vegas on a corporate credit card," though in our case it was more like a borrowed ATM card. But no matter. The conference has now moved under the auspices of online upstart Solutions Media, and looks to track the convergence of traditional and online music as well as spotlight new acts. Heavyweight panelists included Jim Caparro, hilary rosen',390,400);">hilary rosen',390,400);">Hilary Rosen, Happy Walters, jay boberg',390,400);">jay boberg',390,400);">Jay Boberg, Mel Lewinter, Ken Hertz, Fred Goldring, Steve Backer and michael robertson',390,400);">michael robertson',390,400);">Michael Robertson, among others.

So, according to the notes we don't remember scrawling, here are some things that happened between bouts of having our chips removed:

  • michael robertson',390,400);">michael robertson',390,400);">Michael Robertson's "Fireside Chat" detailed MP3.com's philosophy of music as a service, offering an optimistic vision of the future of the music business. Michael also dropped HITS' name during the presentation, which was the part we kind of understood. Then again, our Web site is produced on a hand-cranked mimeograph machine.
  • A panel on A&R, hosted by HITS' own Dave Adelson, actually managed to keep everybody awake and chuckling—at least until the questions began. MP3.com scion (and ex-HITS maven) Joe Fleischer trumpeted a new era for independent bands, while MCA's Tom Sarig and Randy Jackson parried with some good-natured skepticism. Dave noted that "Joe's rose-colored glasses have been paid for by MP3.com." This lively exchange was then cut short by a very long line of aspiring rock stars, who took turns at the floor mic asking why no one wanted to sign their industrial-polka bands. We ran for our lives.
  • Island Def Jam Chairman/CEO Jim Caparro delivered the keynote address, which can be summed up as "The record industry isn't going anywhere." The event is already being touted by the medical community as the only known case of mass coma. Jim, we kid because we love.
  • HITS co-hosted a swanky happy-hour drinks-fest at The Joint, which reached capacity just before the first band of the night cranked up its amps and drove everyone out. Our Mix Department's DJ Latin Prince kept the grooves tight and enjoyed a respite from Ricky Leigh.
  • The hitsdailydouble.com booth in the convention hall was the place to check out our site, grab free swag, have a tequila shot and get your picture taken wearing goggles. Our own Nicole Tocantins, Anna Osborn and Tami Packley-Georgeff fielded queries and inflated the furniture. Frequently Asked Questions: "So you guys are a record label?" "Does your Web site review bands?" "Can I give you my CD?" "Is this the embroidery conference?" "Is that your hand on my leg?"
  • Music dot-coms spread the digital gospel to aspiring artists—most of whom still seemed to want a traditional record deal.
  • Our own Todd Hensley sat on a dot-com-dominated radio panel and was forced to spend 50 whole minutes not grinding PDs in El Paso and Decatur.
  • A lot of really average bands played. A handful of really good bands played. A&R guys, meanwhile, lost money at blackjack.
  • Speaking of which, HITS' star reporter Marc Pollack and Wheels & Deals editor Jeff Rabhan earned their own Jumbotron on the Las Vegas strip, which reported their hourly losses on a huge electronic scoreboard. Meanwhile, hitsdailydouble.com's Team Geek braved a $20 cover to find out what boobies look like in person.
  • Having that 11th shot of Patron seemed like a good idea at the time.

EAT'M is only in its second year, and obviously still has obstacles to surmount, but we think we had a really good time. Our thanks to everybody who stopped by the booth, boogied at the party and tried to pry us away from the casino floor.

Hey, do they have Keno at North By Northwest?

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NEW & DEVELOPING ARTISTS
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Let's do the numbers.
DELTA VARIANT
It is not the name of a Henry Miller novel.
IS IT TIME FOR ANOTHER ROCK STORY?
Could be. Dunno.
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