Dallas Startup Week works to educate budding entrepreneurs every year through a weeklong series of speaker-led discussions. This year’s event, running today through April 7 and free to attend, has a new emphasis on the local music scene.
“[Artists] are always looking at, ‘Who’s going to sign me?’ or ‘How am I going to get a deal?'” says the head of the music track, James Jayson. “I think artists need to change their philosophy and think more of, ‘Who can I network with?’ and ‘How can I engage fans and make revenue on my own?’”
Jayson, founder of the startup SignYourself, partnered with Creative Currency publicist Sarah Badran to curate the five-panel music track. “He saw me moderate a panel at SXSW,” Badran says. “We met afterwards and he was telling me about what he was doing with Dallas Startup Week and asked me if I would be his co-captain.”
The first two panels will discuss issues such as the best technology resources that exist in the industry, the numbers game and analytics, and how musicians can build a better promotional strategy. Here attendees can learn the best sites for streaming, promotion and how important the evolution of technology is to the music industry.
“There are really interesting tools that musicians might not even know exist that they can be using,” Badran says.
The third panel focuses on media involvement and the fourth panel will cover raising money to fund projects. Because the cost of equipment and music placements is a worry for most musicians, Badran thinks the fundraising panel could be the most important.
“We have a really great lineup of speakers for this one because it takes money to make money and that seems to be one of the biggest issues in Dallas at the moment,” she says. “This will help artists figure out how to make money because there’s so much to invest in when it comes to the music industry.”
The last panel will discuss licensing and synching, which helps musicians gain film, television and commercial placements. Badran says many of the topics that will be discussed were drawn from questions she and Jayson frequently receive in their work.
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Notable speakers include former K104 personality Kiki J, founder of Artist Uprising Merrick Porcheddu, Dallas influencer Sa’Tori Anada and more.
“I hope [local musicians] get a chance to understand more about what it takes to be in the industry and what they need to do to move in a positive direction with their career,” Jayson says. “They should think more as an entrepreneur that does the work than signing a contract to a company and letting them do all the work.”
“I’m true to the statement ‘knowledge is power' so I think panels and conferences like this are very empowering, especially to the independent artist, so if they leave with just one more thing that helps them get in a better place that’s always a benefit,” Badran says.
Dallas Startup Week, Monday, April 3, through Friday, April 7, 750 N. St. Paul St., free, dallasstartupweek.com.