Winter Music Conference Issue

What Winter Music Conference means to me...

As WMC is rapidly approaching, many things come “reeling back” in my mind.  The first would be ALL the great memories of hanging out with many of my peers, having cocktails with new friends, engaging in  some meaningful discussions about the business, and hearing some amazing music being played by very talented individuals.

My first WMC was in 1991, and I was a faithful attendee from 1991-2001. After moving to Miami in 2000, I approached Bill and Lou about becoming more involved, and was the Panels & Events Coordinator for the Conference in 2002-3. When I had worked for Epic Records (1987-2000), I strategically anticipated the coming of WMC and actively planned which record that I would launch at every conference. I honestly think that the most memorable WMC imprint in my mind is the year that I launched the MPeople record, “Moving on Up”.

The year was 1993.  I was so “stoked” to launch this incredible group from Manchester, England, who had already racked up several hits in the UK, and had been passed up by RCA US.  My label president, Richard Griffiths, a visionary man, saw that acquiring this group for Epic would be an opportunity.  It was one of the label signings that I was most proud of, and we had a very interesting marketing plan in place.

The night of the IDMAs, the label was nominated for a nine different awards, and I was very proud of each and every one of those nods. In fact, I was already uttering, “it’s just nice to be nominated” in my head—but it didn’t prepare me for the fact that Epic only walked away with the Best Hi-NRG 12” Award for “Mr. Vain” by Culture Beat. Feeling somewhat “overlooked” by the various losses, I spent the rest of my evening in my hotel room speaking to a close friend and contemplating of how I could “rise above” the defeats.

The next morning, which happened to be Easter Sunday, I “suited up” in a pair of furry pink, polka-dotted shorts and a pair of bunny ears, and proceeded to make my way to the host hotel from the beach entrance, carrying a huge basket of MPeople artist postcards and cassette singles of “Moving on Up”.  I knew I had made an impact, because by that afternoon, EVERYONE was talking about it and MPeople.

“Moving on Up” ended up being a #1 Club Record and a Top 40 hit.

Fast forward to recent years, and I am still approached by various people who identify me as “the Easter Bunny guy who launched MPeople”, which I am VERY PROUD.

In the last few years, I feel that the conference has lost some of its impact, due to attraction of South Beach party lifestyle and various opportunists who slowly and strategically “chipped away” at the WMC’s influence.  Although WMC attempted to “team up” with some of these “outside groups”, the dollar signs became too big and the greed factor began to escalate.   You can still have a great time at the WMC, networking and attending some amazing parties,  but you had better rest up, prepare to have a lot of energy (via Red Bull, of course!), and a designated driver (hopefully, a cab driver).  Have a great time at WMC!



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