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Culture and legacy

South Bronx Park Jam, 1984
South Bronx Park Jam, 1984 - Photo by Mr Henry Chalfant

Music is one of the most powerful things on earth! It generates physical reactions, emotions, and feelings, can transmit messages, reactivate memories, and influence society. It has greatly evolved through time since the first man who may have hit two pieces of wood together to create a sound and/or a rhythm… From oral transmission to written music performed by live musicians and singers to recorded music and electronic/digital production as we know it, who would have thought it would become what it is today?

Without going through the whole history until the development of what we now call urban and electronic music, it’s pretty clear that major changes have taken place. We’ve personally seen it evolve from tape machine to Digital Audio Workstation, vinyl to K7, CD to Mini-Disks, peer-to-peer downloads, and streaming to A.I. tools of tomorrow… In any case, regardless of the medium used, the influence music has on culture is undeniable. It is actually a big part of our family heritage as founders of this event.

1520 Sedgwick ave. , Bronx, NY - Birth place of Hip-Hop
1520 Sedgwick ave. , Bronx, NY - Birth place of Hip-Hop

And one culture that we hold dear to our hearts at MPC is Hip-Hop. The team here has been actively part of the culture for over 30 years. And as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dj Kool Herc's "Back to School Party" on August 11th, 1973 in the Bronx, it was important for us to reinforce why we do what we do:

We do it for the culture, and we do it for the legacy. We want to facilitate encounters, the sharing of knowledge, and to help pass the baton to the next generations.

Grandmixer D.ST in his bedroom recording studio
Grandmixer D.ST in his bedroom recording studio - Photo by Sophie Bramly

We can remember a time when Hip-Hop and rap music was considered a “fad” that wouldn’t last, an underground movement that wasn’t even considered “music”. And we saw it grow into the world's most popular genre and a global cultural phenomenon. There is history here.

Everything we do at the convention is geared towards giving you the knowledge you need to take your career to the next level while giving the builders their flowers. We have so much respect for the culture that we want the architects to share the blueprints in person, not some junior brand rep. who has no clue what it took the fore founders to get to this point. We didn’t have this kind of event coming up. And if they existed, we had to fly overseas to get access to them and get to see people.

DJ Khalil (Aftermath Records) during the first edition of Music Producer Convention.
DJ Khalil (Aftermath Records) | Music Producer Convention I

Now you get to meet these legends in person in the most exceptional conditions ever. It’s a priority for us that you get to hear from those who actually paved the road. Of course, everything is in constant evolution so it’s also important for us to embrace the new generation so you can expect young hitmakers and promising talent making waves as well. But our focus, on this special occasion, is to shine the light on those who even made it possible for us to imagine building careers out of making music with records, keyboards, samplers, and drum machines and most often no formal musical education.

Tony Dofat during Music Producer Convention III
Tony Dofat | Music Producer Convention III

But before there were computers, sound banks, loop packs, and drum kits, the originators had to find creative ways to express themselves, and we are forever grateful for their work and students of the craft. That is the state of mind in which we organize this gathering and the type of energy we envision at the convention.

We are here to learn from each other, uplift the culture as a collective, and forward the movement in a positive direction. We aim for respect, freedom, and elevation of the people and culture.

So when you come to the Music Producer Convention, know you are becoming a part of something bigger than us all. "Each one teach one" and by connecting with each other and maintaining the chain between generations we believe we are doing our part to continue the legacy of Hip-Hop, Urban, and electronic music.

Mike & Keys during Music Producer Convention II
Mike & Keys | Music Producer Convention II

Back in the day, unfortunately, a lot of the pioneers and those who helped shape the culture weren’t educated on the business side of things. So a lot of shady contracts were signed and many unfair deals left legends famous but broke. Not to mention the many producers who never received proper credit or publishing splits for their work. This is why the business aspect of the convention is very important to us as well. We learned the hard way about the industry and its unspoken rules, so we want to spare you mistakes through knowledge.

Scoop DeVille during Music Producer Convention II
Scoop DeVille | Music Producer Convention II

What better way to learn than from those who made it, learned the hard lessons along the way, and can show us the path to success under the creators' terms?

That being said, the music business is business. So our goal is not to demonize major labels, publishers, and corporations, far from it. Many industry players have a deep love for the game and the culture. They dedicate their lives to finding the best talent to present to the world, and without them, we might not get to discover half of the artists we know and love. At the end of the day, it’s all about finding a balance. Major labels are in business to make money. And executives take risks by betting on the next best talent, to recoup on the backend. It’s all about understanding the rules of the game.

Sylvain Gazaignes (Director BMG France) & Lion Scot talking about hip-hop industry during Music Producer Convention II
Sylvain Gazaignes (Director BMG France) & Lion Scot | Music Producer Convention II

This is why we also make a point of inviting execs, industry experts, and real players on the field to give you a 360-degree vision of the market. It’s important you understand the math and the rules from the people who run the game. You need to know your rights. You must understand splits, royalties, publishing… And what it really costs to launch or promote a project. Radio spins, concerts, playlists, syncs,… All these things matter, a LOT!

Karim Thiam (Director Magnificent Music Publishing) & Julien Essome talking hip-hop industry during Music Producer Convention I
Karim Thiam (Director Magnificent Music Publishing) & Julien Essome | Music Producer Convention I

Back in the day, to put it simply, labels owned the recording studios and had huge expenses to record, distribute and sell an album; so they owned and exploited the master. Executives found talent and built the marketing to turn them into stars. Nowadays, your online stats are your resume. Your community and level of interaction are what’s in the scope. You can, should, and are even expected to do it yourself. The days of getting “signed” and just being “the artist” are over, but teams can be built to attain that kind of level, it takes time, and most importantly, relationships with like-minded people.

DJ Khalil (Aftermath Records) exchanging contact info during Music Producer Convention I
DJ Khalil (Aftermath Records) exchanging contact info with attendees | Music Producer Convention I

Whatever your position, we believe you have to be passionate about music to even have a chance in this type of field. But not everybody is made to become a number one producer, there are many roles to be played. Each one must find his own lane, yet you have to know it even exists or be conscious that it’s missing to create your own. So you’ll hear from people with diverse backgrounds during our debates and conferences to get the bigger picture of the industry as a whole.

As we always say, whether it’s an executive from a major label, an artist, or a producer, some people are just harder to access but we’re all human beings at the end of the day. Sometimes, it’s just about being in the right place at the right moment. And at MPC, we are building that space in time to make those interactions possible.

Not to mention, MPC is a celebration of beats and music production! The Challenge is not just a springboard competition, it's a concert, a party, and a live beat-making show! It's an opportunity to get together and party to celebrate our culture!

Cheering crowd during Music Producer Convention I
Beautiful people | Music Producer Convention I

In 3 days you might get the keys you need and make the connections you never knew you needed to unlock major doors on your way toward your dreams as a music creator. And that’s why we do it…

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

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