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Michelle Zauner, of Japanese Breakfast, reads her memoir "Crying in H Mart" at the Ohio Music Industry Summit in Baker University Center on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.

Music Industry Summit artists share expertise, network

The Music Industry Summit returned to Athens for a free networking event with keynote speakers Earl Sweatshirt, Jason Isbell, Ambar Lucid and other prominent artists.

Tuesday and Wednesday, the sixth annual Music Industry Summit featured over 30 prominent artists in the music industry who shared their insights and expertise while networking with students and other professionals in similar fields.

Josh Antonuccio, the director of the Music Industry Summit, has been working for months in preparation for the event.

“The heart of it is to try to create a really substantive, multi-day conference that is accessible to anybody who wants to come to learn and network, whether that be students or professionals,” Antonuccio said. 

The Summit had both in-person and virtual options and was free to attend. The event consisted of a series of interviews, speeches, panels and performances with a diverse lineup of artists and executives, providing anyone interested in the music industry an opportunity to ask questions, learn from influential artists and make connections within the field.  

“The currency of creative industries is relationships, full stop,” Antonuccio said. “You might have a great resume, but every opportunity that you get will come from a person that knows you, is interested in you and wants to open a door.”

The Summit kicked off Monday at 8 p.m. with performances from indie rock legends at the Bully + Craig Finn Show at Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville. A portion of the ticket proceeds benefited Stuart’s Opera House to support its arts education programs.

Tuesday, the Summit officially started at 9 a.m. in Baker University Center Ballroom with workshops, keynote speakers and other activities for students and aspiring artists to attend. Between speeches and performances, the Summit offered free workshops led by music industry professionals.

Paul Benedict, the director of Ohio University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, discussed the intent behind these workshops, especially for anyone looking to enter the music industry.

“They are very hands-on and interactive,” Benedict said. “They really give students the opportunity to get practical industry experience, exposure (and) relationships.”

Keynote speakers include Earl Sweatshirt, who has two million monthly listeners on Spotify, and four-time Grammy-winning artist Jason Isbell, who performed April 10 at 8 p.m. at the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium. 

Lily Manoukian, a senior studying music production, is the president of Women in the Music Industry, or WIMI, an OU club that collaborates with the Summit.

“WIMI actually helped the Music Industry Summit with their merch this year,” Manoukian said. “I’ve also been helping with the Jason Isbell show, so I’m really excited for that.”

The performances from Jason Isbell and The Bully + Craig Finn Show are additional events sponsored by the Summit and require purchasing a ticket to attend. However, WIMI partnered with the Summit, offering students a special deal for the Bully + Craig Finn Show. Tickets were originally $25-$40, but were only $10 through the club. Isbell’s show is currently sold out.

“Josh Antonnuccio … came to us last week and asked if we would be interested in running a promotion for students so they would have the opportunity to see a great show,” Manoukian said. 

The vice president of WIMI, Rylie Stopperich, a junior studying music production, is also attending the Summit along with Manoukian. 

“There’s nothing like it that has this much notoriety on this side of the country and especially in Ohio,” Stopperich said. “(The Summit) brings all of these amazing speakers who know so much about their fields to Athens, Ohio, where we have a very small music scene … They just don’t have conferences like this.”

By facilitating mentorship and hands-on learning and networking opportunities for industry members and aspiring professionals, the Summit bridges the classroom experience with the real-world music business.

“This is bar none, the best free music industry conference in the world, period,” Benedict said. “The fact that we are bringing this sort of talent here to engage with our students and community is really unique … this doesn’t happen everywhere.”


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