This is not a Polaroid of me.
It’s been a crazy couple of weeks; barely time to catch my breath before I’m off to the next chore, challenge or adventure.
Last Thursday, I got back from an intensive four-day leadership retreat that started off bizarre and frankly kind of lame, but then turned into one of the more potent and productive experiences I’ve ever had. Today, I take a shuttle car from DC to Baltimore where I catch a flight for Albany, after which I cab it to Schenectady for the New York State Arts Summit. My Future of Music Coalition cohort Kristin Thomson and I will be talking about “The New Musicians Toolbox,” as well as one of my pet wonky topics, net neutrality. (There’s been some action on the latter front of late, which makes me feel that President Obama’s FCC is on the right track.)
The problem with all this travel is that we’re in the last mile for marketing and promotion of the 2009 Future of Music Policy Summit (Oct. 4-6, Georgetown University, Washington, DC.) I’m really psyched about how this thing has come together, and I’m also proud of the hand I had in shaping this year’s conference. We’ve got Daniel Ek of Spotify (the Sweden-based music service that promises to change the way we listen to and access music), newly-appointed FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Senator Al Franken (who will also be interviewed by Mike Mills of R.E.M.), Brian Message of Radiohead’s management team (who will be “interrogated” by non other than WIRED’s music-tech scribe Eliot Van Buskirk) and Mac McCaughan of Merge Records and Superchunk. To name just a few.
I’m possibly most psyched for a pubic working group that I’ll be co-facilitating with Fiona Morgan of the Raleigh-Durham Independent. It’s called “Critical Condition: the Future of Music Journalism,” which is clearly something I’ve given a lot of thought to. Joining us are the likes of Maura Johnson (Editor, Idolator), Greg Kot (the Chicago Tribune; NPR’s “Sound Opinions”), Scott Plagenhoef (Editor-in-Chief, Pitchfork Media), the aforementioned Eliot Van Buskirk, Howard Mandel (Jazz Journalists Association), Raymond Roker (Urb), Tom Moon (music critic, NPR; Journalist), Todd C. Roberts (Co-founder, The Daily Swarm; Artist Manager/Consultant, Truant Media) and Molly Sheridan (Managing Editor, NewMusicBox.org; Director, CounterstreamRadio.org). This is gonna be very interesting.
The thing about marketing a three-day conference with a rock show, cocktail parties and film screenings in a major market is that it basically becomes an all-consuming pursuit. It’s not just about getting the media interested (and asses in seats), it’s blogging, Facebooking, tweeting, etc. Then there are the peripheral (but equally important) components that are part of my job as Communications Director — speeches, program letter, sundry blurbs and panel descriptions, blarbity, blarbity blarb. Not that I’m complaining. It’s just that all kinds of other stuff —work related and otherwise — tends to get pushed to the margins. And if you throw travel in there, it gets even nuttier.
There are tons of other great thingies in the works, which I’ll tell you about later. For now I can say that I just got the proof of concept for the design for my new record, Eldritch Musicks, by the great Jared Metzner. Old-school rockers will remember his killer artwork for the late, great Cancer Conspiracy. I’m hoping to do some “value-added” stuff with this release (other artwork, lyrics, making of, remixes, etc.) so stay tuned.