The 2012 Sync Up Conference

April 27-28 and May 4-5, 2012
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The New Orleans Museum of Art
1 Collins C. Diboll Circle, New Orleans, LA
New Orleans, LA 70119
Map This Location

Return to our Home Page


The 2012 Sync Up conference was broadcast in live video streaming at For on-demand streams of each of the conference sessions, see the VIDEOS section below.

Sync Up 2012

Welcome to the fifth annual SYNC UP, the free entertainment industry conference of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, the nonprofit that owns the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell.

The conference takes place the mornings of April 27-28 and May 4-5 – the Friday and Saturday of both Jazz Fest weekends – at the New Orleans Museum of Art (map).

New this year is SYNC UP CINEMA, two days of films showcasing the best of Louisiana's local film production talent. Screenings will be April 30 and May 1 at NOMA. Free admission. See details here.

Sync Up is a conference with a kick. We have a Bloody Mary or two (it’s New Orleans, after all) – or coffee, if you prefer – while enjoying a thought-provoking keynote and a couple of panel discussions. Then we all head over to Jazz Fest, just a few blocks away.

Sync Up admission is free. But seating is limited, so advance registration is required. Register online here.

As in years past, Sync Up will focus on building careers through touring, digital media and distribution – all from the perspective of independent artists trying to figure out the fast-changing landscape of today’s entertainment industry.

This year, to reinforce the connection between music and the movies, we’re adding Sync Up Cinema, a series of film screenings on April 30 and May 1. We’ll showcase films that were either shot in Louisiana, have a strong connection to Louisiana music and culture or both. The screenings will be at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Once again, Sync Up assembled an outstanding group of top music industry leaders to discuss various aspects of the entertainment business. They include:

  • Tim Westergren, founder of the online music service Pandora, interviewed by WDSU-TV anchor Norman Robinson
  • Mack Maine, the New Orleans-born rapper and - president of Young Money Entertainment, Li'l Wayne's imprint on the Universal/Motown-distributed Cash Money Records
  • Daniel Glass, founder of Glassnote Records, the nimble indie label that gave us Mumford & Sons, Phoenix and now, from Lafayette, La., GIVERS
  • Jeffrey Merrihue, founder and CEO of MOFILM, the world's largest creator of crowd-sourced advertising, and president for Europe of the G100, the private group of chief executive officers of the world's largest and most significant companies
  • Ralph Simon, widely credited as one of the founders of the modern mobile entertainment industry
  • Ted Kurland, founder of the top jazz booking agency Ted Kurland Associates, and Tom Windish, founder of the hot rock/electronica/rap/indie/DJ talent firm the Windish Agency – in a joint keynote interview on touring
  • Tony van Veen, the former punk rocker who as head of Disc Makers serves DIY musicians everywhere with CD duplication and other products – and, now that they’ve bought CD Baby, with indie online distribution

In the first four years of Sync Up, we spent many hours discussing how to get gigs at music festivals, and how to license music to film, TV and videogames.

This year, we’re taking a broader look at building an audience in the digital age – but still from the viewpoint of an independent artist. Some of the panel topics include:

“I’m With the Brand” – Josh Rabinowitz, who wrote a column of that name for Billboard – moderates a discussion of how non-music marketers are increasingly relying on music and musicians to enhance their brands. Examples range from Converse sneakers building a recording studio to Scion automobiles starting a record label.

“Give It Away, Now?” – Rappers have been giving away free recordings – aka “mixtapes” – for years. Now artists in other genres are wondering about the wisdom, or folly, of making music available for free in hopes of building an audience that someday will want to buy it. For some, it’s heresy. For others, it’s a no-brainer.

"The Anatomy of a Tour" How do tours make money, and what makes the difference between a tour that’s profitable and one that isn’t?

“Trusted Sources: Tastemakers & Gatekeepers” – For years, we’ve covered how to maximize paying gigs. Now we look at the dreaded “exposure gig” as a way to build an audience. Plus: Now that everyone can self-publish, we’re even more deluged by a mass of music – and more in need than ever of reliable sources to help us figure out which new music is worth checking out.

Sync Up is produced and presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation – the nonprofit that owns Jazz Fest. The Foundation uses the proceeds from Jazz Fest, and other revenues, for year-round programs in education, economic development and cultural enrichment. Conference sponsors are listed below.

The conference takes place at the New Orleans Museum of Art (map), walking distance to Jazz Fest.

Sync Up admission is free, but seating is limited and advance registration is required. Register online here. The Sync Up conference will be broadcast in live video streaming via WWOZ's web site.

Sync Up is proud to be part of The New Orleans NOW Fest. In addition to Sync Up, NOW Fest includes: Launch Fest, which brings young tech start-ups together with venture capital on May 3, and UX For Good, which brings “user experience” designers together to solve big problems in society, May 3-4 in City Park.

New this year is Sync Up Cinema, two days of film screenings to showcase Louisiana as a film production capital. The screenings will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Monday, April 30, and Tuesday, May 1, in the Stern Auditorium at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Admission is free. For complete schedule and filmmaker details, please see here.

Films to be screened include the Academy Award-winning "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore," produced by Moonbot Studios in Shreveport, La., which won the Oscar for best animated short film. We will also screen parts of "Beasts of the Southern Wild," which took the Grand Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and have a Q&A with the film's New Orleans-based producers and director. Also to be screened are: "Tchoupitoulas," the latest film from the producers of "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and a big hit at the 2012 SXSW film festival; "Big Easy Express," the documentary of the railroad trip by Mumford & Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros on their way to New Orleans and the 2011 Jazz Fest; and "Live at Preservation Hall: Louisiana Fairytale," the Danny Clinch documentary about the collaboration between Preservation Hall and My Morning Jacket.



Friday, April 27
9:00 AM Registration Open
9:15 AM Coffee and Bloody Marys
10:00 AM Welcome

10:10 AM A Song For You: Selling Records in Today's Media Market
Keynote Interview: Daniel Glass, founder and CEO, Glassnote Music
Interviewed by: Dusty Wright

If sales of recorded music are a thing of the past, they forgot to tell Daniel Glass. The veteran record man - his career dates back to hits with Pat Benetar, Huey Lewis and Spandau Ballet - is discovering new talent and charting multi-platinum sales with bands such as Mumford & Sons, Phoenix and Louisiana's own GIVERS. Dusty Wright, a former Editor of Creem, asks how he does it.

11:15 AM Panel Discussion: "I'm With the Brand"
It used to be that record labels signed bands and released music. And when companies wanted to look cool, they'd ask an ad agency to find them a hot song to use in a commercial. Not anymore. Now marketers are going "direct" in extraordinary ways. Converse sneakers builds a recording studio. Scion autos starts an indie label. What's going on? Is Miller Lite about to sign its own bands and give away a CD with every sixpack?
Moderator: Josh Rabinowitz, VP of Music, Grey Worldwide
Jon Cohen, co-founder, Cornerstone Media
Jeffrey Merrihue,founder & CEO, Mofilm
Daryl Evans, VP of consumer advertising and marketing communications, AT&T
Angela Kyle, partner, the Realtime Project

Saturday, April 28
9:00 AM Registration Open
9:15 AM Coffee and Bloody Marys
10:00 AM Welcome

10:10 AM Presentation: The DNA of Music
Like people, music has a soul - and a biology. Also like people, musical compositions and recordings have more in common than they have differences. Still, there are certain traits that help us identify what music speaks to our individual souls. The Music Genome Project, which gave birth to the online music service Pandora, tracks and tags the hundreds of variables in thousands of recordings. Pandora's manager of curation, Michael Addicott, walks us through elements of music's DNA - and pulls back the curtain on what it takes to get music added to the Pandora catalog.

10:45 AM Panel Discussion: Give It Away Now! Making Money While Giving Away Your Recordings
Are people willing to pay for records, or do they expect music to be free? Should we even bother trying to sell records, or just give them away and plan to make money from gigs and merch? Rap artists have been giving away mixtapes for years - sometimes building enough base for "proper" releases to top the charts. Now artists in all genres are doing it. The question is: Once they get records for free, will people ever again pay for them?
Mack Maine, president, Young Money Entertainment
Sebastien Nasra, general manager, VEGA Music (Universal Music Canada)
Jonathan Hull, Ning
Dee-1, Indepdendent hip-hop artist
Nesby Phips, independent hip-hop artist

12:00 PM Opening Pandora's Box: Radio Play For Everyone
Keynote Interview: Tim Westergren, founder & chief strategy officer, Pandora
Interviewed by: Norman Robinson, news anchor, WDSU-TV

Named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, Tim Westergren started Pandora online radio as an outgrowth of the Music Genome Project. It's premise: People choose what they like, and the algorhythm serves up music that fits their tastes - including unknown artists. It seemed like a no-lose proposition, and a huge boon for bands looking for new fans. But more than 300 VCs passed on the idea. And staggering royalties nearly killed it. But with 100 million users, and a record-setting IPO last year, Pandora is back from the brink. Now it wants to come standard in every new car.

Monday, April 30
SYNC UP CINEMA: Mardi Gras Indians
(click for additional details)
In conjunction with the Jazz Fest Cultural Pavilion's spotlight on Mardi Gras Indians, we screen several locally-produced films documenting this uniquely New Orleans culture.

2:30 PM The Black Indians of New Orleans
4:00 PM All On a Mardi Gras Day
5:30 PM Bury the Hatchet

Tuesday, May 1
SYNC UP CINEMA: New New Orleans Films
(click for additional details)

11:30 AM "A Legend in the Classrooom: The Life Story of Ms. Yvonne Busch"
12:30 PM "King of Oak Street"
2:00 PM "Big Easy Express"
3:30 PM "Live From Preservation Hall: A Louisiana Fairytale"
5:00 PM "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore"
6:30 PM Excerpts from "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
7:00 PM "Tchoupitoulas"
8:30 PM "More to Live For"

Friday, May 4
9:00 AM Registration Open
9:15 AM Coffee and Bloody Marys
10:00 AM Welcome

10:10 AM All The World's A Stage
Keynote Interview:
Ted Kurland, founder, Ted Kurland Associates
Tom Windish, founder, the Windish Agency
Moderator: Scott Goldman, Vice President, the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares

Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly and bands gotta gig. With the entertainment industry roiled by digital technology, one thing won't change: Musicians live for the live show. Two of the world's top booking agents - Ted Kurland, who handles nearly all of the top jazz artists - and Tom Windish (all the top electronica and indie acts, from Diplo and Girl Talk to Big Freedia and GIVERS) - compare notes on the current economics of life on the road.

11:15 AM Panel Discussion: The Anatomy of a Tour
How do tours make money, and what makes the difference between a tour that’s profitable and one that isn’t?
Moderator: Will French, founder and president, NOVATOUR
Michael Yerke, president of talent, House of Blues Entertainment/Live Nation
Berta Baghjajian, CPA, business manager, Boulevard Entertainment
Joe Atamian, Paradigm Agency
Philip Mann, director, Live Performance and Music Industry Development, Louisiana Economic Development

Saturday, May 5
9:00 AM Registration Open
9:15 AM Coffee and Bloody Marys
10:00 AM Welcome

10:10 AM Panel Discussion: Trusted Sources - Tastemakers and Gatekeepers
In an age when everyone can publish their own music globally online, we're more dependent than ever on media filters to help us figure out which new music is worth our precious time.But how do we get the gatekeepers not to lock us out? Looks like a job for the dreaded "exposure gig."
Greg Lucas, director of business development, Creative Allies
Mark Satloff, vice president, Shore Fire Media
Adam Schatz, creator, Search & Restore
Moderator: Gwen Thompkins

11:00 AM The Myth of the Long Tail
Keynote Interview: Tony Van Veen, CEO and President, Audio & Video Labs, CD Baby and Disc Makers
Interviewed by: Randy Houston, senior counsel, Comcast Sports Group

Tony van Veen started as an indie rocker playing in punk bands. Now he runs the company that means everything to indie rockers everywhere: Disc Makers, known to anyone who has ever pressed their own CD, and CD Baby, the top online source for legal indie music. So he above all should welcome the digital revolution as a way to level the playing field and rid the world of major labels, right? Nope. To make any money in music, he says, you still need to reach a mass audience.

12:00 PM The Future of Music? It's On Your Phone
From the Walkman to the iPod, we’ve loved taking our music to go – but first we needed to get the track on a tape or in a digital file. Now, with Pandora, Spotify, YouTube and many other streaming music sources on smartphones, it’s clear that wireless mobile is the latest frontier. The question is: How do independent artists make money from music on mobile phones.
Ralph Simon, CEO, Mobilium Global
Robert Singerman, CEO, Glocallocal
Travis Laurendine, founder, Volnado
Taynah Reis, CEO, Nexthunder
David Hazan, chief marketing officer, Mobile Backstage
Moderator: Suzette Toledano, entertainment attorney

General Information:
Sync Up participants have their own exclusive hospitality area at Jazz Fest. The Sync Up hospitality area is open from 1 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. every day of the festival except for Thursday, May 3. The Sync Up hospitality area is open only to those who attend the Sync Up conference (as opposed to those who register but don’t attend). Location information and access credentials will be distributed at the conference only. There will be NO Will Call for credentials at the festival. The only way to get your credential for access is to attend the conference. There will be no exceptions, so don’t ask!

Parking: Those attending the Sync Up conference are welcome to park their cars in City Park - and to leave them there for the day while you go to Jazz Fest. Just pick up a dashboard parking pass before you leave the conference. Please be sure to park in what would ordinarily be a legal street spot. Cars parked in “no parking” zones may be ticketed or towed.

NOW Fest After-Party
Join us for the official New Orleans NOW Fest after-party - admission is free - on Friday, May 4, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., on the front steps of the New Orleans Museum of Art. The Young PinStripe Brass Band will perform. So whether you're heading home from work or just leaving Jazz Fest, swing by NOMA and help us celebrate a week's worth of business development and social progress. The event is sponsored by the Recording Academy, the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares.

Keep in touch with our various social media links:

Use #SyncUpNOLA to keep tabs and help us trend. Thanks!


Check out these interesting links related to Sync Up discussion topics:

Links & Downloads:

How To Become A Big Fish In An Indie-Rock Aquarium
By keeping costs low and controls tight, New York indie rocker Jeffrey Lewis makes a good living on his own terms.

For Some, Giving Away Free Music Pays Off
Rapper Mac Miller goes to No. 1 on Billboard album chart (76 percent of sales through digital formats) after years of giving away music for free on the Internet.

Toyota Scion is Backing Indie Bands to Sell Cars
A great example of the trend that has dominated music and entertainment in the past few years.

McDonald's, Pepsi and Coke Troll For Up-And-Coming Artists
The latest trend in music career development: becoming branded.

Looking To A Sneaker For A Band's Big Break
A different kind of All Star

Novatour in Pollstar
New Orleans-based tour finance company Novatour's plans to have more large tours launch in Louisiana.

Novatour in Billboard
New Orleans-based tour finance company Novatour's plans to have more large tours launch in Louisiana.

Interview request? No, thanks.
Atlantic article: For Indie Bands, the New Publicity Is No Publicity. Hip acts increasingly find that the easiest way to get talked about is to stay silent

A Recording Studio Opened by a Sneaker Company
Converse sneakers has opened a recording studio in Brooklyn - and giving bands free studio time. Now THAT's a new way to market a product.

"Addams Family" opens run in Louisiana thanks to tax credits
Louisiana's Live Performance Tax Credits helped to lure the Broadway-bound play here to prep and launch its tour.

Video game maker Gameloft opening a development studio in New Orleans
Louisiana's Digital Media Tax Credit lures a major game developer to create jobs.

How Middle Class Musicians Can Navigate the Network
TopSpin Media's Ian Rodgers' take on making way in the brave new world. "Something massive is going on - a power shift from manufacturer to publisher."

It’s American Brandstand: Marketers Underwrite Performers
Product companies in non-entertainment industries - like Proctor & Gamble - are now record labels.

New Funding Model for Indie Labels: Indie Venture Capitalists
Small labels are lining up investors to build indie-band careers

Spotify vs. Pandora
What are investors saying about these two competing models?

YouTube Buys RightsFlow
A genuine attempt by YouTube to make sure composers and labels get paid when their songs are used in videos?

AudioSocket Provides Rights Clearances for Vimeo
New Orleans-based Audiosocket - once just an online sync license song-plugger, now provides music matching for filmmakers in a deal with Vimeo.

Why you should give your music away for free
Music Think Tank on why new and indie artists need to gain audience by giving their recordings away for free.

Music and Marketing: Little Freddie King in Nikon Promo
Marketers all over the world are aligning themselves with music and musicians to enhance their brands. In this case, it's camera maker Nikon, and the musician they chose is New Orleans' own Little Freddie King. And he never says the word "Nikon."

The entertainment industry is growing, not shrinking, and indie artists are doing better.
Mike Mansick, CEO of TechDirt, gives a report at MIDEM on the true state of the industry. Cheer up - it's getting better, not worse.

"We Are All Weird"
Marketing guru Seth Godin talks about mass media and the need for niche marketing.

Trusted Sources: Gatekeepers and Tastemakers
Bob Lefsetz once again brings up the essence of today's marketing: "The word of a friend is worth more than anything in the world of ideas."

Give It Away, Now?
First was P2P music file sharing. Now comes P2P car sharing. "There is a massive migration from ownership of assets to purchasing a service" that gets you the same value. Just like many now prefer to rent music from Spotify than buy from iTunes.

You Want Free Music? Here It Is - the Classical Kind
The compositions of these classics are already public domain. The nonprofit Musopen creates new recordings of them and makes them available royalty-free for movies, merch, mash-ups, whatever.

8 Things Marketers Can Learn From Rock Bands
Forbes magazine article by Peter Krainik, founder of the Chief Marketing Officers club.

"Tchoupitoulas" film - screening at Sync Up - makes NYTimes
"Tchoupitoulas," from the same producers as "Beasts of the Southern Wild," will screen at Sync Up Cinema.

Lionel Ritchie Sells 20,000 CDs in One Hour on HSN
At least some people are still selling records.

Trusted Sources: Esperanza Spalding on the Gatekeepers at Radio
""If you don't already know about jazz music, how would you be exposed?" she tells NPR.

Free Music as a Promotion
There's more to free music than just free music. It should be part of a campaign.

Mobile Apps and Music
Why mobile apps matter for music!


Click the links below to play videos.

Tim Westergren
Tim Westergren
Tim Westergren's 2012 Sync Up keynote interview
Tony van Veen
Tony van Veen
Tony van Veen of Disc Makers and CD Baby
The Future of Music is on your Phone
The Future of Music is on your Phone
Mobile entertainment guru Ralph Simon headlines a music tech panel
Tom Windish & Ted Kurland
Tom Windish & Ted Kurland
Booking agents Tom Windish and Ted Kurland, interviewed Scott Goldman

"I'm With the Brand"
Our panel on marketers, branding and music.
Daniel Glass
Daniel Glass
Dusty Wright interviews record industry veteran Daniel Glass
Trusted Sources
Trusted Sources
Gwen Thompkins moderates a panel on "Tastemakers & Gatekeepers"

"Give It Away, Now"
The rapper Mack Maine joins a panel on free music distribution

"The Anatomy of a Tour"
A panel on touring and tour financing

"The DNA of Music"
Pandora's Michael Addicott on the Music Genome

The Sync Up Conference Festival Archive:
2020's Conference Details
2020's Conference Details
2019's Conference Details
2018's Conference Details
2017's Conference Details
2016's Conference Details
2015's Conference Details
2014's Conference Details
2013's Conference Details
2012's Conference Details
2011's Conference Details
2010's Conference Details
2009's Conference Details
2008's Conference Details

Check out what else we do.

Sync Up gratefully acknowledges the following sponsors:

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc.