Digital Entertainment World: Sherman Scroes a Hit for New Music Biz Hot Zone
As a music business professional you may never have considered Digital Entertainment World, held this past February 10-12th, in Los Angeles, as a place to make a valuable connection. The name is a little Disney and even the acronym “DEW” (pronounced “doo”) sounds like something you might scrape off your heal. But you would be wrong.
Ned Sherman, owner and proprietor of DEW has been producing technology and gaming conferences for years. One of them, Digital Music Forum West/East has been on my radar since 2011. But it was often a congress of geek mythology gift-wrapped in 15 minute TED-like moments. I was expecting something equally droll this year, in 2015. However, my cynicism was pleasantly usurped. Sherman has really upped his game. He’s moved his party from the transient Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood to the posh Hyatt Regency in Century City and created valuable tracks in music, media, gaming, and general technology, by pulling in keynotes by VPs from Visa, HBO and Google, explaining how they (and you) are turning clicks into cash.
What you won’t hear at DEW are gray-haired music corpses whining about how the business has deteriorated. Instead, we have people on the technology and platform side talking about “monetization.” And let’s face it, at a badge fee of $700+ that’s what people really care about; getting paid more from this crazy internet thing that the music industry is finally embracing.
I couldn’t help but notice that DEW occupied the exact same space at the Hyatt that once belonged to the hot insiders’ music conference, NARM. They moved to Nashville this year. What that switch tells us about the state and transition of the music industry I will leave to your interpretation.
NARM, has changed its name to MusicBiz and focuses exclusively on retail, whereas DEW seems to be holding ground in LA by appealing to a broader interpretation of that concept– platforms and the integration of music with technology. Sort of like what SF Music Tech attempted to do for several years without much traction. With DEW, Sherman is picking up the towel thrown in by his competitors and inching further into the high-end conference poll-position still held by Digital Hollywood.
On the networking side, each night at DEW held its own cocktail reception with fantastic food and open bar. And it did not go unnoticed that the crowd was quite attractive. What kind of through-the-looking-glass world do we live in where the chicks are hotter at a technology conference than they were at recent music soirees? What that says about the state and transition of the music business, again I will leave to your interpretation.
I have changed my rating for Mr. Sherman’s conference on my chart of 19 Music Conferences Ranked from 5 badges to 8. If he lowers the price to $450 I would give it a solid 9 badges. Well worth the time, effort and consideration for next year.
PS: If you contact DEW about attending, ask for the “Moses Avalon discount.” There is no such thing, but pretend that there is and you will probably get one.