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Michigan Music Alliance’s B-Side Sessions: Advice, tools, tactics for the working musician

The third season of the nonprofit group’s panel discussions featuring industry experts continues Monday, with way more in the works to help bolster Michigan’s music scene.

To say that Michigan Music Alliance’s online “B-Side Sessions” have spurred local and regional artists to new levels of professionalism and collaboration might just scratch the surface when it comes to enhancing the state’s music scene.

The third season of these interactive panel discussions – which continue Monday night with a session on “Building a Team” – reflects MMA’s mission of empowering artists by giving them free tools and guidance for their careers from experts with years of successful experience in the industry.

“Our main goal is to give Michigan do-it-yourself artists access to free professional advice and set the tone for collaboration on new ideas while creating their own sustainable music careers in our community,” said Elle Lively, executive director of the MMA, a Grand Haven-based nonprofit that hosts business education programming and community-building opportunities for Michigan musicians.

“The coolest part about these sessions is the attendees control the session by asking questions and really getting hands-on advice about what they want to know about. The connections made with past panelists and Michigan artists have been really neat to watch.”

The monthly 60-minute sessions, which live-stream via Zoom and Facebook, cover a dizzying array of topics that delve into the business end of music for bands and solo artists trying to maneuver their way through the industry thicket – from recording to booking to touring to branding to capturing the royalties from the songs they write.

Monday’s panel boasts a distinguished lineup of professionals with extensive experience in team-building that they say is crucial to success in the music business.

“The right team is crucial. You can’t do everything yourself today. You need to surround yourself with evangelists. It may even start with your friends and family,” said panelist Jay Gilbert, co-founder of Los Angeles’ Label Logic, serving primarily as the label infrastructure for managers and artists.

“Eventually you’ll graduate to experienced professionals. If you’re choosing a surgeon, you want one that has performed 1,000 operations, not five. Same is true with specialists in areas like publicity, radio promotion, synch licensing, marketing, touring, etc.”


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