DIY Musician Conference
“I’m following the donut lady” -woman who ran into me in elevator

This past weekend was pure magic. If you were fortunate enough to be at this year’s CD Baby DIY Musician Conference in Austin, TX, you know what I’m talking about. As the first conference back since Covid for many, it was a milestone event evidenced by the 900+ in person and virtual attendees watching talks by some of the industry’s finest, including Indepreneur, The Rockstar Advocate‘s Suzanne Paulinski, reality TV music coach Brianna Ruelas, Rick Barker, and more. And of course, yours truly, representing MP Co. on a panel with Stefan Aronsen (Balanced Breakfast), Reed Cameron Fox (Moon Magnet Mastering), and Jeremy Boyum (The A&R Foundation).

Narrowing down to just 3 takeaways in a learning packed weekend wasn’t easy, but I went with the things that resonated with me the most, even several days after. If you weren’t able to make it (or, even if you were) I hope you find value in these lessons.

Networking is still the most important thing you can do in your music career (and the one that accelerates it the fastest)

I’ve spent my entire career touting the benefits of networking, but this weekend proved once more that it truly is the most powerful tool you have in your arsenal (also, it’s free!) I will say this until I am blue in the face, but the truth is that more than anything else you do—I’m talking social media, I’m talking ads, I’m talking shows, none of it will yield as high or as fast of results as networking. 

Now, all of those things I mentioned can and should have networking integrated into them, which expedites their effectiveness. But this weekend just proved over and over how important the connections and relationships you have are. A couple quick examples:

All of these examples are solely from this past weekend. Over the 10+ years I’ve been in the industry I can safely say that we have worked alongside our artists to help them get to the point of:

And each and every one has come from an existing relationship . All of them. And guess what? It doesn’t cost a thing.

Balanced Breakfast at CD Baby DIY Musician Conference
Balanced Breakfast meetup before the More Than Artist Branding panel at CD Baby’s DIY Musician Conference

Your audience’s experience matters

Experience is everything. The way that people feel when interacting with you and your brand is the difference between a long and successful career and one that fizzles out. You absolutely must be incorporating experience and the way you want fans to feel at every step of the way. 

This comes into play with how they interact with you online (ie your brand aesthetic), how they receive merch you send them, what the live show experience is like, even things like what happens when they comment on a post. 

A few examples of providing an elevated experience (from the CD Baby music conference)

Voodoo Doughnuts bringing joy and memorability to our panel

Maintain a sense of humor and go with the flow. This is supposed to be fun after all

I fell off the stage this weekend

In front of 50+ people, I toppled backwards through a curtain and into the abyss.

There was a collective gasp from the crowd that I could hear as I lay on the floor thinking “I really hope that chair doesn’t fall on top of me.” (it didn’t)

It was mortifying. But you know…it was ok. Because it happens. Physically or metaphorically, we all fall off the stage sometimes.

So, I got up, dusted myself off, and as I crawled back onto the stage I raised my arms in triumph and the crowd cheered back to me.

I said something silly like:

“Listen, if I can fall off a stage in front of all of you, then you can go out there and network and meet new people today.” A nice tie in to what we’d been talking about in the panel earlier. They chuckled. I got off the stage (without falling this time) and moved on. 

Embarrassing things happen. You fall off some stages in life (hopefully more metaphorical than literal) You get up, you shake it off, and you give yourself a cheer of victory for getting up again and again. What else are you going to do? 

Balanced Breakfast at CD Baby DIY Musician Conference

What is the best thing you’ve ever learned from a conference? What would you like to learn more of? Leave a comment of email us—info (at) with subject line “conference”