11 Popular Music Conferences Actually Worth Going To

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Written by Ramsey Brown. 

There is a misconception mainly among music industry outsiders that artists somehow achieve fame overnight or that musicians become famous by catching a lucky ‘big break’. Sure, there are instances where a post goes viral and the artist or song receives some internet acclaim — but this action is typically very short lived until the next song or trend comes to surpass it.  

Truthfully, becoming a famous musician isn’t all about making good music or performing well on stage. There is also no such thing as a ‘big break’ or overnight fame. To the surprise of some, ‘making it’ in the industry and developing a successful music career is not as sexy as one may think. 

The real key to success is gained through hard work, strong networking skills, meaningful interactions, building industry connections, and continuous professional development. But this finesse is certainly not learned overnight. In fact, many of the greatest musicians of all time put in several years, if not decades of hard work to get their foot in the door.  

Many artists are very aware of the connections and skills required to break into the industry. But what many don’t know is where to begin finding these connections and how to start developing these skills. A common thing I hear from emerging artists is that they feel they don’t have the resources or opportunities necessary to enhance their careers. Although this to me is only an excuse.

In today’s world, musicians have several means of networking and building connections. You just have to go out there and put yourself in the right types of situations around the right types of people. So what is the best way to do this? Through music conferences.

Music conferences take place year round in locations all across the world. They typically consist of a panel of industry professionals sharing their knowledge and discussing various topics regarding music and the business behind it. 

Not only will you gain valuable information from experienced industry figures, but you will be face to face with them to foster important connections. Whether you are an artist, singer, songwriter, producer, or just aspiring to get into the music business in general, there is so much to gain from attending a music conference.

Which is exactly why we have decided to share with you the top 11 music conferences that are actually worth going to in 2021-2022. Fame and success doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s crucial you take the proper steps, chances, and opportunities in order to get there. Investing in a high-quality music conference is ultimately investing in the future of your music career. 

11 Popular Music Conferences (Worth Going To)

There are hundreds and thousands of music conferences being held all over the world every year. But only a handful of them offer enough substance and knowledge that actually make them actually worth attending.  

For your benefit, we’ve vetted out the industry’s top music conferences and have made a list of the most ones most valuable to their attendees. Without further ado, here are the 11 best and most popular music conferences  (in no particular order) that you’ll definitely want to put on your calendar for 2021-2022:

Midem is one of the biggest music conferences in the world and a leading event for the global music community. In previous years, it has been held in Cannes, France. Due to the global circumstances of the pandemic, Midem has decided to go completely virtual in 2021. Although a big part of attending music conferences is the in-person connections, the virtual event will give more people across the globe the opportunity to take part in the action.

Midem’s mission is to help build the modern and innovative music business of tomorrow by boosting the industry’s expertise and leveraging creativity and talent on a global scale. They collaborate with key institutions and associations and gather the leaders and inspirers of tomorrow's music community to nurture new ideas and offer participants extensive networking opportunities.

This event attracts a variety of people from instrumentalists, artists, singers, publishers, AR’s, distributors, etc. — from all across the globe. They offer inspiring conversations, concrete case studies, workshops, peer-to-peer insights, plus so much more. Their expertly curated program provides a complete toolkit to understand the future of the industry and seize unique opportunities to grow your business.

The conference takes place November 16-19, 2021. As one of the largest and most prestigious music industry events in the world, we definitely recommend you check them out and take advantage of this year's virtual attendance option.

Another high-quality and large-scale music conference is Music Biz in Nashville, Tennessee. This four day event is packed with industry-defining conversations among some of the biggest names in the music industry. Music Biz will be happening May 9th-12th 2022 and feature both face-to-face and virtual panels. 

This conference aims to discuss the future of the music business, introduce new career development tools, and provide vital knowledge to inform business decisions. Of course, the prices for the tickets aren't low — but that's what you'll have to take into account if you want to make good connections and gain crucial industry knowledge.

The Music Biz conference is put on by the Music Business Association, which is an organization dedicated to amplifying the collective voice of the global music business community group. Their credentials alone should speak to the quality of this event. We recommend you save up your money now to purchase your ticket, begin writing your pitches, and get ready to take your music career to the next level by attending the Music Biz Conference.

Although CD Baby's DIY Musician Conference already passed for this year, it is definitely one you want to be on the lookout for in 2022. The three day event led by industry leaders is dedicated to educating independent artists and taking their careers to the next level. 

Attendees are able to network with other artists and receive knowledge on how to market their music on streaming platforms, find managers and self manage themselves, strategize their music releases, plus much more. The environment is laid back yet still extremely professional and informative. 

This music conference hasn't been around for long, but it has made major strides in the music industry during its short period of operation. This year's event was all virtual due to the global pandemic, but hoping to return to its home base of Austin, Texas in 2022.

By attending CD Baby’s DIY Musician Conference you are going to gain a lot from inspiring speeches by top artists, coaching sessions, as well as some great live music performances. There will also be a lot of networking and pitching opportunities, so make sure you bring your A-game and are ready to make and retain valuable connections.

We can’t name the top music industry conferences and not mention South by Southwest. SXSW is one of the most honorable and biggest music events in the entire world and of course held in the music capital of the world — Austin, Texas.

The SXSW Conference provides an opportunity for the global community of digital creatives to encounter cutting-edge ideas, discover new interests, and network with other professionals who share a similar appetite for forward-focused experiences. 

In terms of what else the SXSW conference offers, you’ll experience musical performances, informative speeches, exhibitions, showcases from over 60 countries worldwide, keynote speakers, and an entire music festival you can attend aside from just the conference.

With so much going on at the event, it can be quite a lot to take in. So, make sure you're prepared with what you're going to do and what you are going to say if you end up talking to one of the many industry shakers that will also be in attendance. SXSW is definitely the cream of the crop in terms of music industry conferences.

If popularity is what we're talking about, then A3C has to be one of the top-ranking rap and hip-hop music conferences of all time. This conference and music festival has been held in Atlanta, Georgia for over 16 successful years and continues to prosper each year. 

A3C features a variety of panels that focus on the most important breakthroughs in today's industries including music, tech, and culture. Creatives from around the world get the opportunity to network and learn from the industry’s top leaders. There is a ton of informative knowledge to gain through the professional speakers, hybrid activations, and dozens of keynotes, panels, workshops, mixers, and more. 

The music and career development programs at the A3C music conference are on another level. If you’re an Atlanta native or happen to be around the Atlanta area in October 2022, you definitely don’t want to miss this event. There is also a one day live music festival after the actual conference itself, so you’ll be able to enjoy some of hip-hop’s biggest names and emerging talents as an added bonus.

The SF Music Tech Summit expands far beyond just a music conference. It brings together visionaries in the evolving music/business/technology world, along with the best and brightest developers, entrepreneurs, investors, service providers, journalists, musicians, and organizations who work with them at the intersection of culture and commerce. 

If you are interested in the tech aspects of the music industry, this is a perfect opportunity and event for you to attend. One of the many great things about the SF Music Tech Summit is it takes place at various dates and various cities across the country. San Francisco, California is the home base but there are also conferences that take place in New Orleans, New York City, and even Hawaii.

Although in terms of size, it isn’t as big as some of the others mentioned on this list. However, it is equally (if not more) packed with perks and benefits to artists and striving music industry members to take advantage of. There is truly a ton of value to be gained from the panels, connections, and conversations that will be facilitated at SF Music Tech Summit.

The speakers  are high quality and will give you advice on building your musical career. If you attend this music summit, you will not be disappointed with the variety of topics led by DJs, distributors, publishers, and investors that will help bring your music journey to the top.

The ASCAP Experience is one of the most significant music conferences in the entire world. Held by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, so you can guarantee that the quality of information you will receive at this event will be nothing less than top notch. You're going to see musicians, networking mixers, publishers, distributors, and all kinds of music-related people here.

The program is geared to help you amp up your creativity, polish your music-making skills, and better understand how the money flows in the music business. ASCAP is one of the top Performing Rights Organizations in the United States and has provided this opportunity to help attendees build connections and gain insightful industry knowledge 

You can expect practical workshops and in-depth interviews, provocative discussions and plenty of opportunities to get your music heard. Best of all, it’s 100% free. In previous years the experience has been held in Los Angeles, California. This year, they are bringing the ASCAP Experience to you, in an all-virtual format with blocks of programming rolling out twice a month through the fall. 

With this event being both virtual and free, there is almost no excuse not to attend. We highly recommend you RSVP to this amazing music conference.

Featuring a schedule packed full of panels, seminars, parties, events and performances, the LAUNCH Conference provides a unique opportunity for artists, music industry professionals and fans to meet, network and further their careers from the up-and-coming artist to the seasoned music industry veteran. 

From group panel discussions to direct one-on-one mentoring, artists are given ample opportunities to make long-lasting impressions and connections. The event’s location is in downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania but the attendees and speakers come from all across the globe, providing a diverse range of music industry information and knowledge. 

It is enormous in size, but it is still very affordable actually. They have a variety of ticket options from single-day passes to full weekend VIP experiences, so that guests can choose the attendance format that best works for them. You can even volunteer and attend for free. This among many other characteristics is what makes the LAUNCH Music Conference such an excellent one to attend and exactly why you should make it your goal to go there as an upcoming musician.

If you don’t already know, TAXI Music is an independent A&R company that specializes in talent scouting and the commercial and artistic development of artists. They’ve helped numerous musicians across the world find their big break and have extended their helpful hand into the world of music industry conferences. 

Typically it is held in a face-to-face format in Los Angeles, California. Last year, the conference was held online and completely virtual. This year, they are upholding the same format. So, you’ve got no excuses for missing this incredible event — 6 full-days of panels, interviews, and sessions on topics that are largely inspired by the attendees suggestions.

The first 3 days of the conference is completely free for the general public to tune into. The next 3 days are exclusive to current TAXI members and their invited guests only. With the TAXI Road Rally being one of the most direct communication and connection events for musicians and producers in all the world, it is definitely worth checking out no matter what side of the industry you are on. 

You’ll find the event live streamed globally on YouTube November 1st-7th, 2021. Mark your calendars now because this is one conference that you don’t want to miss.

The East Coast Music Conference is widely acclaimed as one of the top music conferences. It even landed the #2 spot on College Magazine's 2019 list of ‘Can't Miss Music Conferences’. ECMC brings together musicians, fans, and industry professionals to form a community founded on the love of music. During the days of ECMC, music industry experts share their knowledge with musicians working to advance their careers and others interested in the music business

Like many other conferences on our list, ECMC has decided to go all virtual in 2021 and postpone any of their live performances or in person events until 2022. Although the face-to-face interactions of the conference are some of the most beneficial parts of the entire event, there is still much to be gained from the online experience as well. 

ECMC hosts dozens of sessions on how to advance your musical career and provides an array of opportunities to find new fans and build your network among other artists and industry professionals. Many ECMC artists have gone on to greater success, much thanks due to the knowledge and connections they made at the event.

You're going to learn about the history of music and production tactics, see performances, go to workshops and panels, and ultimately learn a ton of valuable music industry information. They have a promotion going that allows you to register now and attend the 2022 music conference, without requiring you to pay anything. So, avail of that opportunity as soon as you can.

Last but certainly not least on our list, we have the renowned National Association of Music Merchants. The 2022 NAMM Show is the industry’s largest stage, uniting the global music, sound and entertainment technology communities. Experience the latest products, ground-breaking education and thrilling concerts. This conference and event is truly like no other in the entire world. 

This is the top-ranked convention for music instrument players and manufacturers to get together and promote music technology and tools of music creation. Included in every NAMM badge is access to hundreds of education sessions, across marketing, sales, technology and more, to help take your career to the next level. 

Some of the world’s greatest musicians, engineers, producers and lighting designers walk the show’s halls each year. So you can network and learn from the industry’s top leaders. This event encourages musicians of all ages to get together, sit down, talk about music, make plans, and share ideas for making better music in the future. 

This event will be held in 2022 from June 3rd to the 5th in the Anaheim Convention Center, Southern California. You're going to have a newfound appreciation and love for music production when you attend this music conference, so do go!

Wrapping Up

With the help of these high-quality and popular music conferences, you'll be able to learn the ins and outs of the music business and gain valuable knowledge from some of the industry’s top players. Aside from the helpful information you will get, the networking opportunities and connections you will make will hold far more value than the ticket price itself. Which is exactly why we recommend you checking out at least one of these events on our list. Investing in a good music conference is ultimately investing in the good of your future music career. 


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