March 9, 2018: How #MeToo Is Affecting SXSW, Miami's Winter Music Conference to Return as Three-Day Event, A Social Music Platform Is Making Virtual Music Festivals a Reality

By Ian Zelaya March 9, 2018, 8:42 AM EST

1. HOW #METOO IS AFFECTING SXSW: The latest national event to be directly affected by #MeToo is South by Southwest, which will have to address the event’s history with sexism. Advertising Age: “But SXSW doesn't have a very strong track record in dealing with gender issues. Three years ago it mishandled the debate over GamerGate by offering a bully pulpit to men accused of online harassment and then canceling a feminism session over security concerns. This year the organization promises to do better. Over the course of 10 days there will be more than 50 panels and events focused on sexual harassment or gender parity. Some of those panels take a look at the #MeToo movement—a social media designation that aims to show how widespread sexual harassment is—and steps that women can take to rewrite gender norms, with descriptions like: ‘Society is realizing what women knew all along—the patriarchy is damaging.’ Others address specific industries, such as venture capital and entrepreneurship. … This year's festival, opening on Friday, a day after International Women's Day, plans to address the culture straight on, starting with ensuring every panel has at least one woman on it. OpenTable CEO Christa Quarles will speak about how businesses can create inclusive company cultures, and address the sexism that has ‘long been endemic to workplaces from Silicon Valley to America's finest restaurant kitchens.’ Uber Chief Brand Officer Bozoma Saint John is slated to discuss how the ride-hailing giant changed its culture.”

2. MIAMI'S WINTER MUSIC CONFERENCE TO RETURN AS THREE-DAY EVENT: After speculation that Miami's Winter Music Conference wouldn't be coming back, the event announced its 2018 edition will take place March 20-22 at the Faena Forum. Miami New Times: “It's smaller in scale than past editions. Last year's conference spanned four days, and it ran six days in 2011. WMC also seems to be taking full advantage of Miami Music Week's midweek dates, meaning it won't have to compete with the MMW climax: the 24-hour, nonstop partying that happens during the weekend. Not that it matters much to partygoers, because they aren't the conference's target demographic. Instead, WMC is meant for people in the industry—musicians, producers, agents, publicists—who are looking to network. Still, this means a majority of attendees won't have to decide between going to the conference or staying out well past sunrise. According to the organizers, during the event, the conference will announce WMC's future plans, which include once again making it a must-attend industry event. The panels that have been announced so far include discussions about A&R (artists and repertoire), licensing and streaming, and music publicity, as well as a panel featuring as yet unannounced 'heavyweight champions' from the industry. These topics are not out of the norm for WMC, which is unfortunate because discussions touching on the #MeToo movement, marginalized groups in the industry, emerging dance genres, and new ways of distributing music could add some much-needed relevance and help the conference stand out from other industry events."

3. A SOCIAL MUSIC PLATFORM IS MAKING VIRTUAL MUSIC FESTIVALS A REALITY: Endless Riff, a social music virtual-reality platform, is now available on Samsung Gear VR—making its virtual music festivals and concerts more accessible. Billboard: “To celebrate the launch of Endless Riff on Samsung Gear VR, on Thursday night the platform live-streamed performances by artists William Wild at 8:30 and Chris Morrissey live from the Rockwood, as well as a remote performance from Flor de Toloache. The Endless Riff app recreates the social experience of attending concerts with friends and strangers. Users first design avatars before meeting up with friends in their virtual RV home base, where they may converse and consume content on a TV inside before heading out to an event. Once they're at the concert, they may walk around the space and communicate with others while ambient 2D video is streaming of the live show. There is also a 360 video stream that users may jump in and out of. Once a room is filled to capacity, it will spawn another version of the room to accommodate more attendees. Down the line, gestures and emotes will be added, allowing fans to dance along stop a show from the comfort of their own home. Currently Rockwood is the only venue available with Endless Riff CEO Mark Iannarelli calling it Endless Riff's 'lab venue' where they can test production workflow and equipment, but the larger the implications are that in time other venues—real or fabricated—will enter the platform, with the possibility of artists or brands customizing their own performance space and even creating virtual music festivals. As well, fans will soon be able to play games, buy merchandise and even donate money towards charitable causes in the app."


AUSTIN:  The seventh annual ATX Television Festival will take place June 7-10 at venues including the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz, Hotel San José, the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel, and the Google Fiber Space. The festival lineup will include a panel with The Good Fight creators Robert and Michelle King and “Storytelling with Tenacity,” a panel featuring female TV show creators and actors including Emmy Rossum and Frankie Shaw.

LAS VEGAS:  The 20th annual Tiger Jam, hosted by Tiger Woods, will take place May 18-19 at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. The charity event raises funds for the TGR Foundation, which helps underserved students. 

LOS ANGELES:  Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon will receive the Visibility Award at the 2018 Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles dinner on Saturday.

Women’s lifestyle brand FabFitFun is hosting a two-day installation at Grand Central Market this weekend to celebrate its latest spring box. The Instagram-friendly activation will have hand-painted cacti and plants from local florist Strega Flora by Nikki Pettus. 

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Thelma Houston will perform at Miami Beach Gay Pride, taking place April 8 at Lummus Park. The event is presented by Celebrity Cruises. 

NEW YORK:  The 17th annual Tribeca Film Festival, which will run April 18-29, has announced its immersive program. The program will include the world premieres of 21 virtual- and augmented-reality exhibits as well as five Storyscapes experiences in competition. A new addition to the program is Tribeca Cinema360, a VR theater that will have four curated screening programs featuring 360-degree mobile content. 

The New York Cares Soirée will take place May 18 at the Bowery Hotel. The event will benefit the volunteer management nonprofit’s education programs. 

The Madison Square Garden Company has named Victoria Parker executive vice president of MSG Productions. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

SAN FRANCISCO:  The Makeup Show's inaugural I, Artist—The Makeup Show Forum will take place March 21-23 at the Grand Hyatt. The public beauty event will bring together more than 25 of the industry's artists and experts.

TORONTO:  Canadian Music Week will take place May 7-13. The event will include panels with industry professionals, and the Canadian Music Fest will feature 1,000 bands performing at more than 60 venues downtown. 

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  The Office of the First Lady announced that Melania Trump will attend the State Department’s International Women of Courage (IWOC) Celebration March 21 to give marks and present the International Women of Courage Award. Honorees, who come from more than 65 countries, are recognized for courage and leadership in advocating for women’s rights around the world. News release:

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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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