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Successful musicians aim to help prospective artists

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Professionals that have worked with artists such as O.A.R., The Black Keys, Linkin Park and Matchbox Twenty will provide insight to production, press and performance during an event Friday at Ohio State.

Musician Inc. is a half-day conference designed to help working musicians learn the basics for success in the music industry. The conference will be held at the Ohio Union tomorrow from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Matt Crumpton, an entertainment lawyer, planned the event by creating panels of prominent figures in the Columbus music industry.

“The primary goal of this (conference) is to give people who are just now getting started in music … an understanding of what the music industry is really all about,” Crumpton said.

The panels are geared toward the basics in beginning a music career: making money, understanding music law contracts, production, getting press and booking shows.

Brian Lucey, a mastering engineer for The Black Keys and guest speaker, said the event will be a “one-day blitz of information.”

“The bottom line with any of these events is that you want people to just get closer to the reality of how things are,” he said.

Crumpton said he hopes the musicians who attend the conference develop a better understanding of the basics of “making it” in the music industry, as well as determining their strengths and weaknesses.

The panels will be half educational and half free-form question-and-answer sessions, because each member has comprehensive expertise in one or multiple areas of the industry. Professionals from CD101, Kobo, Columbus Alive and Groove U, among others, will share their tips and experiences.

Lucey said his experience writing, performing, tracking, mixing and producing music has allowed him to achieve a higher standard of finished product.

“Mastering is half artistic and half technical,” Lucey said. “The artistic side is a little harder to explain, but it has to do … with musicality, which I would define as intimacy and beauty.”

Dwight Heckelman, founder of Groove U, will assist in moderating the panels. With more than 15 years of experience in music engineering, production and education, Heckelman said he knows what type of questions to ask.

“I hope that everybody who shows up makes some great connections with other people who are here in Columbus…This business thrives on networking,” Heckelman said. “I am confident that the panels will deliver some brass tacks…information to give people ideas and help them with their own career.”

After the panels, Heckelman will hold an open information session about Groove U, a two-year music industry college opening in Columbus this fall.

The keynote speakers will be Jeff Blue, the artists and repertoire consultant for Atlantic Records, and Jerry DePizzo, saxophonist for O.A.R.

Atlantic Records has sold more than 140 million records in the last 15 years under Blue, and as Crumpton described, “is one of the biggest music industry executives alive today.”

Heckelman said he hopes the audience will benefit from seeing the different paths Blue and DePizzo have taken to achieve similar outcomes of success.

During the keynote question-and-answer portion, there will be a microphone in the crowd, and the audience is invited to ask Blue and DePizzo anything.

Crumpton suggested asking questions about experiences, such as what it was like forming Linkin Park or selling out Madison Square Garden.

During the conference, Blue will be holding eight half-hour consultations with artists, in which he can listen to a demo CD, give feedback and answer any questions the groups may have. Groups should also bring an information sheet about the band, including available press quotes and venues played.

Artists that sign up for the $300 consultation with Blue will also have the opportunity to play two live songs for him during a showcase at Kobo, located at 2590 N. High St. The showcase will start after the conference at 7 p.m. and is also free for the public.

Ebony Jeanette, publicist, local music blogger and recent OSU alumna, said she would be attending Musician Inc. to learn how to get her music coverage in the press.

“I’m just starting to get my feet wet in the whole music scene, especially within Columbus,” she said.

Jeanette focuses on Columbus’ heavy metal and hard rock genre, featuring interviews with local bands, along with album and live show reviews on her website.

“Even if I wasn’t involved in this section of business for work, I would still want to go to the conference, just because there’s always so much happening centered around music in Columbus,” she said.

Crumpton said that in today’s industry, artists think they produce enough high quality content to make it, but they have no idea how high the threshold is.

“You have to be extremely talented to make it to the next level,” Crumpton said. “There are a few people who slip through. Obviously, Ke$ha is a good example.”

Lucey said networking is often more important than content.

If you take The Black Keys as an example, they did it the old-fashioned, right way by starting out with artistic integrity and passion, Lucey said.

“Over time, you slowly adjust into the world of networking,” he said. The problem today is that people over-network without content.”

Admission to Musician Inc. for OSU students will be $15. General admission for the public will be $30.

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