Lessons Learned Hosting The 2013 ICVirtual Music Conference

Indie Connect







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We at Indie Connect spent 8 months working tirelessly to produce the first ever full-featured online music conference. It was a big risk and required a huge leap of faith. It also required countless hours by volunteers, ranging from speakers, to marketing partners, to interns, to video editors! We couldn’t have done it without every one of you! We are proud of what we accomplished, but also know that this was almost the ‘beta test’, and there is immense room for improvement.
Here are some of the things we learned, as well as some of the takeaways from this experience:
  • It takes an army, a LOT of teamwork and team leads to pull off something this big! We were fortunate that people from around the world came out of the woodwork to help!
  • To pull together the right team requires that the project or goal be something that people can buy into! We were able to do this because this was a unique, revolutionary, one-of-a kind event!
  • It was difficult to get people to wrap their heads around the concept of a virtual conference. It is so important to be able to communicate your vision.
  • We had less attendees (500) than we had hoped for (1500). Because we had expected more people, we had 100 different things that a person could do at any given time! That spread the attendees very thin. The lesson – bigger is not always better! Quality and scalability is more important than quantity.
  • It took more time and more money than we had expected. We knew this would happen in theory. It’s a big lesson when it actually happens to you!
  • We had our fair share of technical glitches. Some challenges were with the software itself. But we also know that part of the problem was that we did not adequately train our exhibitors and attendees on how to navigate the software. This won’t happen again! Never take for granted that everyone will read the user manual! After all, how often do we do that?
  • When you need something done, you have to ask! We assumed that some people would just jump on board with things like marketing.
  • If people don’t have ‘skin’ in the game, they are less likely to work through the bugs and challenges to make things work.  If they have something invested, they find ways to be successful.
  • Stand fast to your deadlines! Some speaker videos came in so late that we never even had a chance to view them, let alone edit them. Some exhibitors waited until the day the site was scheduled to close for final testing to start designing and building their exhibits. This is normally a 4-6 hr. process but can actually take days if the exhibitor doesn’t have his or her videos, brochures etc. designed.
  • There is no such thing as ‘build it and they will come’! You have to work hard to attract what or who you want. We didn’t expect that the world would embrace the event the first time around, so we worked tirelessly to attract exhibitors and attendees. And the attendees and exhibitors who believed they just need to show up were much less successful than those who actually worked the event. As with any conference or networking event, it only works if you go out and meet others, visit their booths, and initiate long-term business relationships rather than just selling your products or services. Those who did that were most successful.


All in all it was a great event! We’ve heard from a lot of people who had breakthroughs and/or made high-quality connections.  As you can see, we learned a LOT. We now know how to make the next event 1000% better!

And speaking of ‘next events’ – watch for the IC Virtual SongwriterConference and Showcase coming up September 10-12, 2013!





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