In a few short weeks, more than 1,500 musicians from all over the world will gather in Nashville for one of the few truly indie artist-centric conferences out there: CD Baby’s DIY Musician Conference. (August 24-26 2018) Unlike many industry events, DIY Musician equips working musicians of all backgrounds and genres with tools, inspiration, and networking opportunities to take their creativity and careers to the next level.
“Along with our musician community, we work with a lot of digital platforms who serve this community,” says Kevin Breuner, VP of Marketing at CD Baby and host of the popular DIY Musician podcast. “Every time someone from a digital service provider, say, has come to the conference, they’ve walked away amazed. They simply never guessed how diverse and engaged the independent musicians of the world are.”
The conference regularly attracts participants from all fifty states, as well as several dozen countries. These are musicians brand new to the scene and seasoned veterans making a living from music. They are all ages, all ethnic backgrounds, all musical styles and approaches you can imagine, from hip hop MCs to old-time one-man bands.
The 4th Annual DIY Musician Conference
Omni Hotel, Nashville, TN
This year, the conference is hoping to further boost this community energy, planning even more chances to meet each other, play together, and exchange ideas about what’s working in this new, wide open era. Expanded jam rooms and showcases, as well as places and times to hang out and talk, will be one of the cornerstones this year.
DIY Musician will also tackle some of the toughest problems confronting musicians at all points in their careers: marketing and audience building in a saturated market. There will be sessions on Facebook ads for musicians on a budget, to using special marketing campaigns via sites like show.co to promote a fresh release. “A lot of what will be discussed lies at the heart of what got me interested in the DIY Musician podcast years ago,” explains Breuner. “It’s the idea that you can re
ach anyone and you can start building an audience just by engaging with people online and writing good music. You can be anywhere and still make it work for you.”
In addition to cutting-edge promo practices, the conference also offers a bevy of opportunities for artists to hone ever-important skills like mastering live performance. Expert and popular speaker Tom Jackson will be back this year with his live music makeover, a chance for selected groups to get a whole new way to approach their stage game.
Along with actionable tactics and strategy, the conference has made a practice of presenting success stories from unexpected corners of the music-making world. Folks like songwriter and guitarist Lance Allen, one of this year’s featured speakers, who figured out how to craft and pitch music to key streaming service playlists--and pay his mortgage. And Ariel Bloomer, whose blend of indie rock star and life coach spirit has inspired countless musicians and fans, and built her a satisfying life and viable career.
Everywhere at the conference, not just behind the podium, however, you can find tales of artistic satisfaction--on musicians’ own terms. “Every year it feels like there’s no better time than now to be an artist entering the marketplace. At the conference, I hear so many inspiring stories, from talking to people randomly. We’ll strike up a conversation, and then suddenly I have to start taking notes. That’s a great idea!” says Breuner. “You get so many artists from places around the world, with so many background and genre pursuits. You hear so many varied stories of success and creative fulfillment. It all has one
underlying message: You can create the art you want and find an audience.”