Quantcast
Aspiring artists line up at panels, ostensibly to learn what the pros have to say but really just waiting their turn to shove gaudily packaged and generally unlisten-able demos at them. But before they do, they’re treated to nuggets of wisdom like "This business is
all about relationships."
POSTCARD FROM ATLANTIS
HITS Weasels Get Muggy With It
For Atlanta’s Music Conference
You may have seen banner ads for the Atlantis Music Conference bearing the slogan "Size Doesn’t Matter." Since repeating those words is often the only thing to get us through the day, we figured we’d found others like us. So Rodel Delfin and I flew to the Dirty South—which really isn’t that dirty but is incredibly humid right now—to join the fray.

But the slogan selected for the cover of the confab’s program was "Taking It to the Streets," which we know little about save for the Doobie Brothers song. An array of other familiar expressions, notably the old saw "It’s All About the Music," adorned other conference paraphernalia.

And in a sense, events like Atlantis are all about reassuring cliches such as these.

Aspiring artists line up at panels, ostensibly to learn what the pros have to say but really just waiting their turn to shove gaudily packaged and generally unlistenable demos at them. But before they do, they’re treated to nuggets of wisdom like "This business is all about relationships."

I’ll wait while you write that down.

Thursday afternoon’s A&R panel was a case in point, as former HITS A&R Editor, dot-com survivor and current entrepreneur Joe Fleischer moderated and Atlantic’s Kim Stephens, Warner Bros.Jeff Blue, London/Sire’s Greg Glover, MCA’s Brian Long, Palm PicturesScott Igoe and artist Evan Lowenstein of Evan & Jaron attempted to answer the only question most in the crowd wanted answered: Why won’t any of you industry pinheads give me a phat-ass deal?

The assembled weasels confirmed that the role of A&R had changed considerably of late, and that quarterly-numbers imperatives, corporate consolidation and a down market all added unique pressures. Lowenstein, offered a soapbox to counter the industry line, obliged with filibuster-length oratory on the ups and downs of artists’ careers, departmental politics and the end of the "artists & repertoire" era.

Still, Fleischer kept the pace as fleet as possible with lightning-round interrogatives: "In one or two words, what would you say about the importance of having a manager?" Other topics pressed in a similar fashion: how to deal with a bidding war and the value of HITS’ Wheels & Deals column. The latter elicited the replies "useful," "fodder" and "hype," though not, surprisingly, "bar tab."

Things were decidedly merrier at Thursday night’s Hard Rock Cafe party co-sponsored by HITS; artists, weasels, managers, event organizers, journos, street teams and assorted others soaked up the free Jim Beam shots, beer and hot wings, and for a moment the headlines about "industry doldrums" were miles away.

Well, for more than a moment, since we never stopped drinking.

The party segued into a strong set by HITS-championed band 19 Wheels; though the pop-rock collective has been seeking a deal for a minute, they’ve never looked or sounded more ready for the big leagues. Neo-soul comer Chiedza’s too-brief set at Earthlink Live was an earthy delight and made a strong impression on players and punters alike.

There were some less stellar performances as well; not to name names, but one band’s seemingly endless, plodding set mixed prog-rock indulgence with ill-conceived arena-rock vocal stylings. At the end of one song, I expected to hear "Thank you—that was Side Three of our new album."

Much later, having been foiled by the closing of the Gold Club, we did some very important, um, networking at the Pink Pony.

The weekend lineup features highly anticipated sets by progressive hip-hoppers Minamina Goodsong, alt-rock legends Marvelous 3, rockers Suckerpunch and Wheels-endorsed, funky rock outfit Modern Hero, among others.

On Saturday at noon, I’ll drag my sorry ass to my own panel appearance, as part of "Artist Development & Discovery: Online Success Stories," which sounds like a very short panel indeed. But hey, this business is all about relationships.

NEAR TRUTHS:
THE CAKE AND
THE CANDLES
Marketshare machers. (10/27a)
KENDRICK INKS WITH UMPG
Lamar enters the House of Jody. (10/27a)
YTD MARKETSHARE: AND THE WINNER IS...
It's a lock. (10/27a)
MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, PART 8,761: SURGERY IN THE TIME OF COVID
Planning for an Election Day hopped up on painkillers. (10/27a)
ONCE IN A LIFETIME
Vote. Do it now. (10/27a)
RAINMAKERS 2020
Bring your umbrella.
GRAMMY OUTLIERS
Mulling possible surprises.
HALLOWEEN IN QUARANTINE
Why not wear a mask indoors?
ELECTION 2020
What drugs will help us get there?
 Email

 First Name

 Last Name

 Company

 Country
CAPTCHA code
Captcha: (type the characters above)