A great time was had by all at the Mobile Beat Las Vegas DJ Conference on February 8, 9, 10 and 11, 2010 at the Riviera Hotel and Casino. DJs from all over the country and a few from around the world participated in seminars, product demos and parties. While it wasn’t exactly a mother load of information, I found a few solid nuggets in the seminars.
Andy Ebon gave us some expert tips about good and bad marketing. His presentation consisted of slides showing examples of printed advertisements that ranged from fantastic, to laughably bad. His no nonsense, sharp tongue style was right up my alley. Jeff Meuzelaar had some advanced search engine optimization techniques for us. He was nice enough to email the slides from his presentation to everyone who asked. This was really useful to me because his presentation contained MANY links to great resources. I’ve already used one of his tips to improve my website by going to www.WebSiteGrader.com and scanning my site to look for suggested improvements. You can check out your competitor’s sites too. Nick Covino did a fascinating how-to presentation on being a video jock. I had no idea you could convert video signals to CAT-5, network style connections. That’s great for me because I know how to make my own CAT-5 cables and I already have a box of 100 yards of it sitting in my garage. But as great as these presentations were, I really think the show lacked any “big ideas” as I have come to expect.
In the past 10 years, MBLV shows have included people and ideas that have revolutionized the mobile DJ industry. When Mark Ferrell made DJs realize that they were charging less for their services than most brides were paying for a veggie platter, it was revolutionary. When Jorge Lopez taught us that being self-employed doesn’t mean you own a real business, it was inspiring. When Randy Bartlett told us that improving your performance means making small adjustments, and doing things “1%” better, it was a paradigm shift. But there was an obvious lack of big ideas at MBLVX. Is there really a lack of innovation in this industry, or are there other factors at play? I asked the show producer, Mike Buonaccorso why industry giants like Mark Ferrell, Randy Bartlett, Peter Merry and Jorge Lopez did not present. Mike responded via email and I got the impression that he would be more than willing to showcase the next big idea. As he put it, he “just provides the microphone.” So where do we find new talent in our industry?
There’s a term floating around the interwebs called “crowd sourcing.” It’s also known as distributive problem solving. My point is, maybe it’s up to us, the masses, to recruit the next industry giant. If you know someone who you think has the chops to lead our industry out of an innovation rut, call him or her out! Ask them to consider submitting a proposal to present a seminar to Mobile Beat. Ask them to make the industry better by sharing their unique ideas. Some leaders lead because they choose to. Some need to hear the call. It’s up to us to make some noise (or as Spaky B. would say, “make some NOY-EEEEESE!!”). Think of your colleagues whom you consider to have a maven’s perspective, and start recruiting!
One thing that has always bugged me about the show, and this year was no different, was the lack of any sort of special effect lighting in the party room. This year, like the last two, the parties were at the “Top of the Riv.” It’s basically a ballroom on the Penthouse level of the Riviera hotel. You would think if you are throwing a party for DJs, you would want to bring better lights than what the average DJ brings to a wedding. Yet they never have more than par cans (colored light cans). The irony goes even deeper when you consider that the sponsor of one of the parties is a special effect light manufacturer. Want some more irony? That manufacturer has multiples of every light they make sitting in boxes in the downstairs exhibit hall. To be fair, the lights in the exhibit hall are not owned by the manufacturer, they are owned by an independent dealer. But it’s hard for me to believe some sort of arrangement to put up some neat lights couldn’t be reached. Don’t they have anything new and cool to show off?
The absolute high point for me was the performance by DJ Kool. You know, the “Let Me Clear My Throat” guy. He got his start as a mobile DJ and only became a recoding artist after his style as a mobile DJ got him noticed. People liked the way he rocked the turntables AND microphone. He has a natural talent for connecting with a crowd and entertaining. I can’t think of a single artist who would be more appropriate to DJ a DJ party.
The title of this post promises some fugly, so here it is. The Riviera has to be one of the dumpiest hotels in Las Vegas. The Riviera is only a half a rung up on the skank ladder from the Circus Circus. I was actually nervous about eating the food in such a dump. The best location we ever had was the Southpoint. It was new and clean. The service was exceptional and they had awesome, trustworthy food. The Southpoint was slightly removed from The Strip (a mere 10 minute cab ride away) and it had at least two large lounge areas. This meant that most DJs spent most of the time in the hotel, and you couldn’t help but meet DJs from all over the country just by hanging out. Southpoint, we miss you!
Regardless of where future Mobile Beat Conferences will be held, I’m sure I will be there. The negatives I have listed are no reason for a professional in this industry to stay away from the show. In fact, we will get out of the show whatever we put in. We need to attend, provide feedback to the show producers and recruit some new talent ourselves. The show is but one venue for the continued conversation we need to have about the current state, and future of our industry. The conversation is happening all around you. Participate!