A Conference for Music Bloggers: Could it Work?

As many of you know, we here at Haulix spend a lot of time and money every year making appearances at music festivals and conferences, as well as a number of college campuses across the nation. We do this both to raise awareness for our work behind-the-scenes of the industry and to help aspiring music professionals find their own paths to success. Our experiences up to this point have been nothing short of life-affirming, and with each new event we find another reason to believe in the future of the entertainment business.

After three years of working to build a reputation on the industry speaking circuit we have found one area of the industry that is almost completely overlooked in the world of conferences: Journalism. Whether you’re a music blogger working for free from the comfort of their parents’ house or a paid contributor to Rolling Stone, finding a panel or event that caters specifically to your work and interests is almost impossible in 2016. There were less than three journalism related panels at SXSW this year, and that event is considered to be the largest annual industry gathering in the world. Smaller conferences often only have one, if any, panels or events built around the world of journalism. 

Our big question is: Why? Artists depends on writers to help expose their work to potential new fans, just like labels rely on writers to help maintain brand awareness. Writers rely on both of those groups in order to develop their publications, and they often attend conferences or festivals to help those events get more recognition on a national/international level, so why are they so underserved? 

We continue to pitch panels on writing and the relationship writing has with music promotion to any event or school willing to hear us out, but we have come to the conclusion that the best course of action may be to give bloggers/journalists/writers of all varieties an event of their own. A blogger conference, if you will, where the topics of ethics, monetization, industry growth, career development, artist relations, and more can be discussed at length by writers for writers.

Here’s the problem: Conferences are expensive and they require months of planning, not to mention sponsorship dollars, in order to make a reality. On top of this, we would have to convince people to come. We are passionate about the idea of such an event existing, but we fear wasting a year of our lives on a project that only interests us and the circle of industry friends we have surrounded ourselves with over the years. Something like this requires the interest of thousands with the hopes that hundreds end up participating. 

So we have to ask – Do you think a blogger conference is a good idea?

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.