Scenes From Launch Music Conference – Day 2

I’m a morning person now, but I didn’t start off that way. I cannot tell you when I made the transition from one to the other, but these days if I am still in bed at 7AM then my day is considered off to a rough start. The first day of panels at Launch, as well as my last full day at the conference, did not begin until 1030AM. 

After drafting some content for the Haulix blog and checking my various inboxes, I ventured into the city of Lancaster to see what I could find. The treasure I discovered on this particular excursion was Ida’s Cafe, a tiny restaurant tucked away at the very edge of the city limits. It was small and decorated in a style you only find when you’re a stone’s throw away from farm land. I was the youngest customer. Actually, I was the youngest person in the entire establishment by an easy twenty years, which is saying something when you’re closer to 30 than 25. Still, the food was amazing and the staff was kind. I told my waitress I would blog about her. She smiled that generic smile every server in every restaurant masters and replied, “That’s nice.” 

(Quick note: These are banana and walnut pancakes. It’s the best pancake combination you’re not already enjoying. Trust me)

After paying my bill and making my way back through the city streets, I returned to the Marriott lobby just in time for the Haulix sponsored ‘free coffee and donuts’ event. Every attendee at the conference was welcome, and I got to interact with a number of interesting people. I also received about a dozen business cards, all of which are with me now. In 2015 you would think we had a better way to exchange information, but here we are, doing the same thing Don Draper does in a show set four-five decades before the time we live in now.

If you look at the background of the photo above, you will notice the chairs at the very back of the area at Launch used for panels (it also moonlights as one of many stages for bands at night). Whoever setup the floor plan for Launch was smart to put these two events side-by-side as many people grabbed their free breakfast and made their way to the morning’s first events.

Launch doesn’t overload attendees with programming options. There are panels during the day and performances at night. The set times for bands overlap, but the panels do not. There is only one event at any given time, so every attendee looking to do something can be found in that one place. This makes for bigger crowds at panels, as well as more concentrated opportunities for people to network.

The photo below was taken before the first panel began, so don’t mind the empty seats. They were quickly filled.

I was part of the second panel of the day, which focused on protecting artist’s creations in the digital age. We focused on copyright law, revenue streams, anti-piracy efforts, licensing and more in just under an hour. It was over faster than I thought, but fun nonetheless. 

Afterwards, about a dozen people came up to ask questions regarding Haulix and our plans for the future. I spoke with people of all ages, and each had a story to share about why they were concerned about the security of their music moving forward. I even met a professor from Mansfield College with a group of students hoping to start a label on their campus (hi!). 

I wish I had the words to describe to you the energy that surges through you when speaking with others who are passionate about the same things that matter to you. There is an excitement to the air, and it serves to thrust you forward in your efforts. It prepares you for ‘launch,’ if you will. Standing in that room listening to panels, sharing experiences, and learning about the dreams of others filled me with a lot of inspiration and drive to further pursue my own endeavors. I cannot encourage those of you reading this now enough to seek out similar events and gatherings focused on your passions. 

 Following a full day of learning I headed to the Federal Taphouse for pizza and a place to work outside the confine of my hotel room. Being at Launch was a great experience, but as I mentioned above it also fueled my desire to further my efforts on my own projects, including Haulix efforts we have yet to make public. Feeling the drive to work, I concluded pizza and hard cider would be the perfect fuel to propel me to get all my ideas onto paper.

What you’re seeing above is a BBQ chicken pizza with jalapeños, red onion, and avocado. I know the avocado may seem a bit unusual to some of you because it did to me when I placed the order, but let me tell you – it makes a world of difference. It balances the heat of the jalapeños perfectly, and it takes the whole BBQ pizza experience to a new place. I know this is a blog about a music conference, but this pizza changed me.

(Shoutout to our friends at Fixt Publicity for this notebook that I now use for article notes and world domination plans.)

Following dinner and work I headed back to prepare for a night of concerts. I knew I would have a big drive the next day, but I still managed to see a number of great performances. I will admit there is longtime fan bias in the statement I’m about to make, but my night was made when Atreyu hit the stage. It was my second time seeing them in two months (the other time being at SXSW), and they sounded as good as ever once more. 

By the time I made it to my hotel room again it was after midnight and I was one Strongbow cider beyond my reasonable limit. I hit the bed, passed out, and dreamed about watching a Kevin James film I loved. It was a beautiful, yet terrifying affair as it meant either Kevin James had somehow become tolerable or that my taste in cinema had been dumbed down to a point far beyond repair.

All in all, it was incredible. 

Thank you, Launch Music Conference. Let’s do this again next year.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.