Pollstar Live! is the world’s largest gathering of live entertainment professionals, and brings together all stakeholders in entertainment including agents, venue managers, promoters, artists and more. This two-day conference celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2019 with speakers like Dan Berkowitz from CID Entertainment and Andy Bernstein from HeadCount.
This week “on the street”, we talk with Tradable Bits CEO + co-founder Darshan Kaler about his experience at Pollstar Live! in Beverly Hills, California:
Q: What were you looking forward to the most at Pollstar?
A: “Firstly, I was looking forward to meeting and understanding clients and folks that come from different backgrounds, both personally and professionally. The second was to hear their challenges and issues they face in the music industry specifically tied to venues, clubs, tours. Finally, learning how agents, managers, and venues interact with each other.”
Q: Which panels were your favorite?
A: “The most interesting panels were the ones that spoke exclusively about music festivals. Listening to artists like Dave Grohl highlighting his successes throughout the years, and hearing from Khalid - who just turned 21 - and the levels he has risen to in such a short time frame was mind-blowing. What really stuck out to me were the three artists: Dave, Khalid, and George Clinton, as they are why our company exists. From that perspective, understanding the intricacies of the artist’s challenges as they rise to fandom, and realizing that they are where they are today because of everyone’s role along their journey, whether it be big or small, was really eye opening.”
Q: What did you learn?
A: “I think the most exciting part was learning about something I'm not personally a part of. As I am not an artist in any shape or form, I don't know what it’s like to go on tour or play in a club, so I found it fascinating to hear how it is behind the scenes. In regards to the speaker panels about music, it was great to validate or confirm what I already knew about the industry.”
Q: How are you going to apply this new perspective to Tradable Bits?
A: “ The bottom line that resonated with me is that there are a lot of challenges in putting up a show. Similarly, it’s an even bigger mountain to climb if you're an artist trying to make a living. I met people during the event that were former artists that eventually became supporters of the industry because they’re so passionate about music. For example, there was someone that used to play in a band and then transitioned into a production manager because he knew how to set up a stage from his time in the band. Everyone that contributes to the stage has a passion or interest in music, whether they're backstage support, part of promotions, set up… there’s a lot that goes along with it. The two questions I left with that I’ll be applying to Tradable Bits were (1) is there a simpler, more efficient way for us to help artists learn more about their fans? And (2) are there tools we can extend to promoters or club owners to help them scale more and handle several events at once?”
Q: What was the best thing about Pollstar?
A: “Definitely meeting people and making new connections from different places and backgrounds around the globe. The conference seemed to be a place where many were celebrating end of year successes, from venues to club owners. Oh, and there was a Pollstar Grammy Awards type scenario which was super neat to see. Everyone was just there to connect and learn from each other’s failures and successes!”
Q: Was there anyone you met that inspired you or “made” your trip?
A: “The turning point for me was the artists. Seeing these artists in a different light, as they were open to discussing excitements and challenges they had. Dave Grohl was the man for storytelling, hearing new artists like Khalid rise from when he was 17, performing in high school talent shows to transitioning to singing in clubs, it was very inspirational to hear. You can see how passionate these artists truly are- they live and breathe it. It was so interesting to see where our technology fits in with helping the industry and assisting artists like Khalid to deliver, and that we are equally passionate about what we do in the music industry.”
Q: Last words?
A: “I am looking forward to next year! At Pollstar 2020, I can’t wait to deliver new solutions and talk about the tech we provide for the music industry.”