For the second year in a row, the folks at Berklee College of Music have teamed up with Harvard to present the Rethink Music conference: a five-day symposium dedicated to exploring the ever-changing landscape of music creation, promotion and distribution. Musical showcases were presented over the weekend, with performances at the Paradise rock club, Cafe 939 and Brighton Music Hall.
Musically, the showcases strived for variety (though not true eclecticism, for my taste): acts included Green River Ordinance, Washed Out, Memory House, JD McPherson, Graham Colton and The Stepkids. Monday and Tuesday's schedule focuses on the practical side of the music business: networking, marketing and publicity, with an eye on innovation.
This morning's panel included the duo Karmin, whose journey from Youtube darlings to major label artist is the Cinderella story of 2011. Nick Noonan and Amy Heidemann began their career by posting cover versions of Nicki Minaj and Chris Brown songs on Youtube. The hits their videos received caught the attention of several labels, including Epic, who won the bidding war. Their "discovery" by the majors lead to a recent stint on Saturday Night Live - not bad for a pair of twentysomething grads from Berklee, living in Brookline.
The afternoon's panels discussed music licensing and utilizing the latest cutting-edge technology, both in terms of creating buzz and expanding an artist's sonic palette. I got a chance to check out a live demonstration of an application that used digital imaging of panel participants to trigger loop-based instrumentation in real-time. And lest you uber-geeks out there feel left out, representatives from this year's Hack Day (in Cannes France, no surprise) were on hand to talk about the event, where hardware, software, mobile technology, art and music merged with guerilla marketing. The Hack Day phenom has already attracted the attention of many high-profile names, from alternative act Gorillaz to actor Robin Williams.
There's still time to register and attend the seminars, as well as stream up-to-the-minute content via the Rethink Music website. Stay tuned tomorrow for more dispatches from the conference!