San Diego continues to put itself forward as a premier destination for annual music conferences. Produced by the San Diego Music Foundation since 2008, the San Diego Music Thing offers a two- day music and media festival for industry insiders and music aficionados alike.

An Inside Look at the Music Industry

The conference, attended by promoters, musicians, and label managers, featured panels directed towards helping musicians break into the music industry. The featured speakers, including Moby and punk legend Jack Grisham regaled the audience with personal stories of trying to navigate the industry. Grisham provided the audience with an honest view of his repeated lack of commercial success during the early years of his career.

Big names aside, the primary reason for putting on the festival is to give burgeoning talent a place to learn how to break into the music industry without making too many mistakes along the way. Attendees had an opportunity to be mentored by industry execs, in panels including the “Website Demolition Derby” where attended were encouraged to enter their websites for constructive criticism by panel members. Attendees got more opportunities for networking during the festival’s daytime trade show and cocktail hours.

Growing San Diego’s Local Art Scene

The festival featured over 150 bands, from local groups to national acts, performing around in locations throughout the city. With attended placed across the city, local businesses benefited from the boost in tourism and the time on the national stage.

As the conference grew over the years, local media and residents began to take note of the impact to the city. Noting that this year’s festival was sold out well in advance, San Diego offered up readers a list of the “8Bands to see at the San Diego Music Thing.” The NBC affiliate, KNSD, offered another look at the festival, noting that the band Cults offered the best bet for a festival-goer’s time thanks to their local ties.

The investment in local talent is paying off handsomely. One success story is Josh Damigo, a San Diego singer- songwriter who credits the festival with giving him an opportunity to become a full- time musician. After attending every panel he could, he credits the things he learned there with helping him get started on his music career faster than he could on his own. He also credits a chance meeting with an executive at SESAC who took Damigo’s card and CD and followed up a week later with the phone call that changed Damigo’s life. The relaxed nature of the conference increases the chances that more local artists will get their start in the music industry in San Diego.

Burgeoning Music Scene Adds to the City’s Livability

San Diego continues to boast a vibrant art scene, including spaces for living and working. With quick access to the LA music scene, San Diego continues to be a viable option for those looking for a supportive artistic vibe and affordable living. Led by the San Diego Music Foundation, emerging musical artists have a home-town incubator for for grooming and supporting new talent.

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