(Some parts of this post were featured on my 2011 PodCamp related post. They still apply this year)
I have a confession to make. I’m actually an artist masquerading as a tech geek. I come at all of this tech, digital marketing, web development & pod/bar-camping from the perspective of an artist, musician, songwriter and creative.
This has been an important year for music & technology. Especially here in Nashville. In my humble opinion, nowhere else in the country has the potential for harnessing the energy of both these realms for the greater good and nowhere else is the tension between these two camps more palpable.
I get it. As someone who has both my feet on either side of that divide I know to some extent the opportunities and challenges that exist in this funky little marriage.
I’ll get to Podcamp in just a minute but the next two weeks present some really great events that may be of interest to some of you. If you’re a musician, songwriter, artist or creative type I urge you to consider attending Podcamp and these other top notch happenings.
Let’s start with DigitalMusic.Org’s StartUp Academy. A staple at SXSW, the seminar/classes makes it’s Nashville debut on Wednesday, April 11. My friend, John Pisciotta breaks it down for you. You can find coupon codes by Googling. Check it out.
Next week on Thursday, April 19th – The Google for Entrepreneurs all day event downtown is gonna be EPIC! It’s sold out but I’m told some tickets may be made available Tuesday, April 10th at 10 AM.
WordPress’ WordCamp will be on at the Watkins College of Art, Design & Film on Saturday, April 21st. If you’re into the content management system du jour, this is your conference!
Then on Wednesday, April 25th – Leadership Music’s Digital Summit returns to a bigger venue with more to offer at TPAC. I learn so much from this one. The theme this year is "Social Media and It’s Impact On The Music Space."
With the exception of Digital Summit, the main issue for me with these events is the lack of music type creative folks in attendance. Either they’re intimidated by what they think will be the subject matter or it’s a more tribal camp kinda thing. After all I don’t see many techies attending SongCamp, Tin Pan South, The Americana or Next Big Music Conferences.
Which is why for my money the PodCamp and BarCamp Nashville events are the most fun & friendly events to attend. I know there are even some musician types amongst the typical tech demographic that attend these un-conferences (though we could always use more). The sessions are free, informal and relatively easy to absorb if you have some interest in the topics at hand.
You should check out Jennifer Nash’s most excellent survival guide for PodCamp 2012. But here is my handy dandy guide to help a musician, artist or songwriter make the most of PodCamp Nashville on Saturday, April 14th, 2012.
First go to http://www.podcampnashville.org and register for free. Make sure you submit your correct shirt size so as to not miss out on the fun swag. Choose the sessions you think you may want to attend and get that all squared away in advance. You can even see who else is attending the same session. Avoid any last minute confusion and stress. Do this now!
The key I think to attending any of these events especially if you feel like you’re a bird not of the same feather is to try and not get overwhelmed. Preparation is key.
Remember to bring your business cards and a 15-20 second elevator pitch about what it is that you do. Don’t bring any CDs or music. It ain’t that kind of conference. You can always point folks to a link on BandCamp or Soundcloud (yes, the tech folks know about those sites) or your own web site (you have a web site, right?).
Once you get to Tequila Cowboy, consider buying the lunch option. It’s inexpensive. It is reasonably tasty. More importantly, it gives you the chance to network with your fellow PodCampers. And you normally get one (adult?) beverage thrown in for free. I’m told the meal deal this year is even more awesome than previous years.
If you choose not to get the lunch at TC, there are some good dining options nearby. Me loves me some Jacks BBQ. But you can normally find something decent within 5 mins of TC.
So on to the sessions themselves. They’re held in different rooms and sections of TC which is a pretty spacious bar. Pick out the sessions you want to attend ahead of time. Each session is assigned a specific room, plan out your trek at PodCamp based around those sessions and rooms.
(If this video doesn’t convince you that we need some creative music types at PodCamp, nothing will. Please. Come.)
If you’re a musician, songwriter, artist or in some kind of music allied field (say artist management), here are some sessions that may tickle your fancy:
1) Check out Jeff Goins’ "How To Fall Back In Love With Your Craft." What’s thay you say? You don’t think Jeff knows anything about music? Let me just say that in attending PodCamp 4 years running now, Jeff is one of the best speakers I’ve ever heard.
2) My dear friend Dave Delaney is a social marketing guru. He is so The Man! His session is "Networking In Real Life." Nashville is one of the best networking towns on the planet. You see the connection?
3) I always enjoy Mitch Canter. He is a very animated speaker and a WordPress guru. His session on "Responsive Design" should get you going, if you are thinking about building or revamping your web site on WordPress.
4) I don’t believe in false humility. So I’m recommending you attend my session on "Where Music and Tech Meet" – a look see at what happened at the music & tech intersection this past year and where the trends and more importantly the tools and platforms are headed.
5) We live in a visual world and I believe you need a visual web presence and strategy. I love talks and sessions that let you leave with a plan. Go check out Jeff Dolan’s "Video Is Hot, Your Site Is Cold. Let’s Fix That" session.
6) Another dear friend, David Beronja’s "Your Marketing Is A Waste of Time…Unless You Start With Why" should give you fresh perspective on your marketing strategy. Dave B. actually works or has worked in the music industry.
7) Ross Jones’ "How I Got Google To Pay Me $150,000" Do you have to ask?
My friend Rocky Alvey developed an iApp called Astro Cantus. It made music out of astronomical constellations. The developer, Jesse Bunch, speaks in "Music Meets The Stars in iOS."
So there’s some sessions where I think music and technology happily intersect. There are obviously more that you could attend. But I thought those might be the ones where you could indulge your artistic appetite and not feel like you’re drowning in geek speak.
Don’t forget to attend the free post event social. Come up and say "Hi" at the conference. Maybe next time you too can present a session at PodCamp or at one of the other tech un-conferences.
Feel free to comment or make suggestions below. Peace.