The ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO is getting a whole new look in 2020.
With the 15th anniversary of the annual music creator conference coming up next year, the performance rights organization is officially re-branding its premier event the ASCAP Experience, it was announced Tuesday (September 24).
As ASCAP executive vp and chief marketing officer Lauren Iossa tells Billboard, the retooled conference — slated to take place April 1-3, 2020 — will better reflect the needs of songwriters, producers and composers in the rapidly-evolving music industry of today.
“The democratization of music over the last decade means that songwriters and composers have so many more opportunities to get their music out there and to be heard, but that also means that they’re more responsible for a lot of the business aspects of their music career,” Iossa says. “What we’re hoping to do with the ASCAP Experience is give them the support and tools to do that.”
As part of this new focus, the expo will be relocating from the Loews Hollywood Hotel to the Intercontinental in downtown Los Angeles, a larger space that better allows for multiple sessions on the same topic (to give attendees more chances to attend the events that are important to them) while also being more conducive to the kinds of personal, small-scale experiences that have become a popular feature of more recent expos.
“In addition to the beautiful, iconic moments in the big panel rooms, the big ballrooms, etc., we also have an opportunity in the new space to do a lot more intimate breakouts,” Iossa continues. “We’ve been experimenting with that in the last few years, and the feedback has been so positive.”
Given the scope of the programming on offer, a concerted effort will also go to better guiding attendees through the expo’s wide range of panels, roundtables and other scheduled events depending on each individual’s specific focus and genre. “If there’s any feedback we’ve gotten in the past about the sort of breadth of programming, is people say, ‘There was so much happening, I didn’t know what to choose,’” says Iossa. “One of the things we’re looking at is different kinds of curated tracks so that wherever someone is in their journey, we’re going to help them find the right panel for them.”
Next year’s ASCAP Experience will also place more of an emphasis on promoting self-care in an industry that can be particularly challenging mentally and emotionally. While the expo has offered wellness workshops in the past, Iossa indicates that kind of programming will be beefed up this time around.
“We want to think about [creators’] needs…in terms of not just the [act of] creation, but how you get into that space of creation,” says Iossa. “So looking at wellness, at community, how your work fits into the greater world, what you do for self-care so that you can keep going. We also have an opportunity to curate and offer programming around tracks like that as well.”
For those looking to showcase their own musical chops, performance opportunities will be maximized at next year’s expo as well. In addition to the annual Attendee Showcase, Iossa also hopes to offer a greater number of small-scale sessions. “We’ve done big panels like that…and we think we have an opportunity to do more intimate sessions like that, so that it’s really constructive feedback,” she says.
Despite all the changes, Iossa assures that those who have been happy with the expo in the past can expect everything they’ve enjoyed in previous years — from A-list stars in conversation to live music to the popular end-of-expo Writers Jam.
“It’s always been very immersive and experiential,” she says. “We’re trying to put that on steroids this year.”