Thursday, July 17, 1997

Intel Music Festival conference and concert

Its third year (and sponsor driven name) in a row, the Intel Music Festival is evolving into the music and new media event of the year. The festival attains more sponsors and clubs with each makeover. This year the festival coincided with Jupiter Communication's Conference "Plug-In" held at the World Trade Center's Marriot. This was the perfect harmony of the conference focusing on the convergence of new media and the music industry, and the festival actually playing it out. One consistent feature of the festival was the website The Global Internet Gathering where clubs and fans are linked through a high-speed access network. Irving Plaza owner and festival co-producer Andrew Rasiej said, "By linking musical events around the world through a common website, online visitors to the festival will be able to club hop around the world with the click of a button."

Both events began on July 17th, resulting in a packed day. Starting at the Jupiter conference, and checking out the various exhibitor's booths, I spoke with Jon Spooner of Netmix. He spoke passionately of how historic this event truly is: "The major record labels are here which shows that they recognize online music as a separate entity that's worth investigating." Netmix is a fun brightly colored consoled website that claims to be the World Wide Web's first continuous dance music mix-show. They must be doing something right, because just last week Bootsy Collins was hanging out in their offices. Across the room was Gerry Basserman, Marketing/Sales, of Cyber Sound. He air-keyboarded a demo of their software which uses a midi interface and special keyboard, to make music while Dean Tucker, VP Marketing, informed me of their other packages. I liked the reflection of company's musical diversity in their business cards and packaging motif: which harkens to an ethnic, multi-cultural symbol of African/Indonesian shadow puppets. Meanwhile, perched to my right was Jennifer Runne of Herzog Heine Geguld, and "newly hatched lawyer" 96 as her biz card said last time I saw her. Around the corner was OZ Interactive, creators of virtual worlds and hailing originally from the "Silicon Glacier" -- Iceland. June Gregg of Earthweb was on hand, demo-ing their newest product, Moderator, and handing out funny chatting teeth plastic hop-along wind-up toys.

Later that night I listened to the festival kick-off concert at Irving Plaza with the well heeled CDNow ( guys. Andrew Sternthal, New Biz Director, was tragically hip in his black T-shirt and brown leather shoes, Jason Olim, President, sported the ever-trendy-now-classic Vans, and Dave Brown, New Biz/Sales, in his Steed-of-"Avengers" Cole Haan Boots.

(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)