Moses Supposes

Moses Supposes: Did the Digital Music Forum West justify the price tag?

Moses Avalon is one of the nation’s leading music-business consultants and artists’-rights advocates and is the author of a top-selling music business reference, Confessions of a Record Producer. More of his articles can be found at

I suppose there is something refreshing about going to a music conference and not seeing too many familiar faces. Sure, I knew many of the panelists from the scene, but the attendees…? Who were these people? Young, cool haircuts, mannered. Was this a music conference?

Digital Music Forum West (#DMFW) was held this year at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel in Los Angeles on October 6-7.

About 350 registrants filtered in and out of attendance for two days’ worth of 15-minute speeches by people on the tech cusp. Attendees were split between artists on their way up the food chain of the LA music scene and technology providers who navigate on the periphery of the music business.

Unlike every other conference, instead of multi-person panels, DMFW chose to do it more “TED” style. No, this does not mean that music consultant Ted Cohen, of TAG Strategic, decided who speaks and who doesn’t (although, as the moderator, it did have that feel). It means that the format was more in line with the famous TED Conference, where each speaker takes the stage for a short time to give their presentation. It leaves little room for questions and was supposed to discourage speakers from pitching their company. Did it?