Americana Town Hall Meeting Panel
Convention Center, Saturday, Mar 17
At last year's South by Southwest, a meeting of people working in the Americana/alt.country side of the music business was called to discuss the possibility of forming a trade organization with the idea of better promoting the music to the general public. The result of that meeting was a two-day workshop that was held in Nashville in October 1999, where 30 people from around the country made the idea a reality, naming the organization the Americana Music Association. This year's SXSW was targeted as the launch point for the AMA, with a healthy amount of self-promotion and a well-attended party held at the Caucus Club on Thursday evening. Friday morning, a discussion was led by Dennis Lord of SESAC, who is interim president of the AMA, with the intent of informing more business types on where the new group stands, what happens next, and to gather feedback on what's happened so far. The thrust was that a framework has been put in place to allow people to share resources among those involved, which included individuals from radio, labels, press, promotion, publicity, booking, and others interested in seeing the genre grow. The course of action now is to sign up any members interested in achieving the goals of the group and then to perform some research with those that sign up to see how they could be best served. Jon Grimson, record promoter with the Counterpoint Music Group in Nashville and the AMA's interim vice president, stated the AMA will be "proactive and not adversarial." The group understands that the ground they tread possibly overlaps with that of other similar trade organizations, and it's hoped that they can work together and learn from each other. Other plans announced include a possible convention in October of 2000, when the first election of board members will take place, and expansion the AMA's Web page (http://www.americanamusic.org
) to include a database that all involved would find useful. Though the AMA is still an infant, the enthusiasm and selflessness of those involved at this point and the interest that was shown by SXSW attendees should ensure success.