IMI Conference Brings Together the Indie Music Community


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Maria Gironas, Jen Appel and James Shotwell at the 2017 IMI Conference (photo – Desirablephoto |

It’s been a jammed packed start to the year. Between artist interviews, The NAMM Show, private gear previews and label showcases, one of the highlights was the Independent Music Industry Conference which was held in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.

We had an opportunity to cover Day 1 and connect with guest speakers both locally and from around the country who flew in on their own dime and own time to join the conversation and give back to the music community.

Organizer and Founder, Mike Ziemer of the SoWhat?! Music Festival and Third String Productions launched the conference in hopes of breaking down barriers and giving artists and those interested in starting a career in the music industry a chance to connect with seasoned pros. Mission accomplished.


I had the pleasure of being a part of the opening panel discussion which centered around music journalism, PR and marketing with some very smart and passionate people including James Shotwell of Haulix and Substream Magazine, Maria Gironas – Publicist at Ray Bee, Inc. and Jen Appel – CEO and Publicity Director at The Catalyst Publicity Group.


Other panel discussions involved ideas on how to curate a music festival and the pitfalls to avoid which was moderated by Mike Ziemer and included Steph Mirsky of Vans Warped Tour and Joel Haston of Pinup Productions to name a few.  The conversations were candid, great perspectives were shared and the anecdotes were relatable.


Dae Bogan, Co-Founder & CEO of Tune Registry (photo – @Desirablephoto | )

A key panel conversation in my opinion was the Record Label discussion moderated by Dae Bogan who is a very sharp dude and whose credentials include; Co-Founder and CEO of Tune Registry, Mentor at SXSW and Faculty at UCLA, CSUN and the SAE Institute.

TuneRegistry is a cloud-based music business catalog platform for the independent music community that provides solutions for an artist’s tracks.

They have a robust music rights and metadata database where you set up, organize, and manage the information about each of your songs, recordings, and albums. Forward thinking stuff.

He was accompanied by Eric Tobin, EVP of Business Development and A&R at Hopeless Records who has helped break bands like Taking Back Sunday and All Tim Low, Cody Demavivas – A&R at Fearless Records and Manager for Movements and Greg Long, Founder of We Are Triumphant whose current roster includes Oh, Weatherly, Our Theory and A Scent Like Wolves.


That was not the case at IMI, the conversation was engaging and every panelist provided solid perspective along with advice that can be applied whether you’ve been in the industry for a while, are an artist or are looking to launch a label.I’ve been to several music conferences over the last few years and the record label panels are always the most anticipated but seem to fall short of providing actionable advice.

But don’t take my word for it, check out the panel discussion for yourself.


Joel Haston and David Forster of PinUp Productions ( photo @Deisrablephoto |

Overall, we were happy to be a part of the very first IMI Conference and hope we contributed a few ideas. We certainly learned a lot, made some new connections and looking forward to next year!

Follow the @IMIconference for updates on future conferences and stay tuned for more panel discussions, interviews and featured photos from IMI 2017.

Tickets are on sale now for the So What?! Music Festival @

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