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Music Summit offers opportunities to learn from industry experts



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Music industry professionals speak on the shift toward streaming and advertising during the Bloomington Music Summit Saturday afternoon in the IMU. Andrew Williams Buy Photos

A table with coffee, cookies and other snacks lined the right side of the Frangipani room at the Indiana Memorial Union on Saturday afternoon. Music Industry Networking club members, as well as other students interested in the music industry, chatted and snacked while waiting for the Bloomington Music Summit to begin.

Presented by MINC, the Live from Bloomington Concert series and the Union Board Music committee, the summit is an annual conference for students interested in careers in the music industry. The conference featured three panels with music industry executives discussed their careers in the industry and offered advice to the students.

Union Board Music Director Katherine Jordan said many of the speakers or panelists were IU alumni. She said she personally reached out to people she knew who worked in music in order to fill the panel slots.

Cydney Mosby, director of Live from Bloomington, said it wasn’t difficult to find music industry executives willing to participate in the summit. 

“That really helped because all of the alumns are super excited to come back and speak about their professional experience with students,” she said. “There were a lot of people who were super willing to come back and see the campus for a weekend anyway.”

The conference opened with a keynote address given by Jon Reens, VP of marketing for the Midwest region of Live Nation. Reens spoke about how he became involved in the industry after graduating with a degree in Environmental Science from DePaul University.

He said the students at the event had a great opportunity to become the next generation of the music industry.

“Don’t do it for money,” he said. “Don’t do it for stature. Don’t do it because you think it’s cool. Do it because you’re passionate about it.”

After the keynote presentation, the first panel, titled “Hoosiers to Hollywood,” began with music industry executives from the Walt Disney Company, Live Nation and others. Monika Herzig, jazz musician and SPEA professor, moderated the panel.

During the panel, the music executives discussed their careers and advice for the students, as well as how the music industry is changing with a shift from physical copies of music to streaming online. David Watts, manager of editorial content for the Disney Music Group. said the problem with streaming is that artists aren’t being paid for their work.

“If everything is available and you can have it all the time, you don’t want it anymore,” he said. “I say buy music, buy CDs, buy vinyl, go see shows.”

After the conclusion of the panels, students were encouraged to network with the speakers and panelists. Mosby worked on the summit last year as well, and said this year’s panels were larger than in the past. Jordan said this year’s panels also had a wider range of speakers, from their fields of work to how advanced they are in their careers.

“We have some panelists who only graduated last year and are just getting started, and then we have people who have worked with artists like Britney Spears, NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys,” she said.

Jordan said this is only the third year the summit has occurred, but it is growing and she looks forward to seeing what will happen in the future.

“Hopefully it’ll be a continued tradition,” she said.

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