Music University


The DMMC presents Music University, a music industry conference on October 4-5, 2014 at Drake University (Harmon Fine Arts Center and Meredith Hall, 2507 University Ave., Des Moines), featuring panels, forums, workshops, and presentations by national, regional and local music industry experts

This year’s conference will feature a talk and mini unplugged set from influential reggae rapper, Matisyahu, as well as many other notable speakers including Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü, Sugar), Dee Dee and Jules of Dum Dum Girls, Adam Hill (Ardent Studios), Alyssa DeHayes (Riot Act Media, formerly of Team Clermont), Joe Vent (A to Z Media), Craig Grossman and David Priebe (Green Room Music Source), and more. Read up about all of our speakers.

Music University provides musicians and industry professionals with resources to grow their careers, while creating an environment to make connections and network with individuals from across the country.

Download a PDF of the Music University schedule.



Saturday, October 4
Conference: 8:30 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. – Drake University
Music Showcase 1: 5:30 p.m. – Des Moines Social Club’s Basement Bar
Music Showcase 2: 8:30 p.m. – Vaudeville Mews

Sunday, October 5
Networking Brunch: 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – Mars Cafe
Music Video Screening: 11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. – Varsity Theatre
Conference: 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Drake University

Conference: Panels, forums, workshops and presentations by nearly 40 national, regional, and local music industry experts, on Saturday and Sunday, October 4-5 at Drake University in the Harmon Fine Arts Center and Meredith Hall (2507 University Avenue).

Music Showcases: The River Monks, Dylan Sires & Neighbors, and MR NASTI at Des Moines Social Club’s Basement Bar (901 Cherry Street). Free. All Ages. Saturday, October 4, at 5:30 p.m. PLUS, Bob Mould w/ Lucca Soria at Vaudeville Mews (212 4th Street). $10 with Music University registration pass (on sale here), $20 without Music University registration pass (on sale here), or $25 day of (if available). 21+. Saturday, October 4, at 9:30 p.m.

Networking Brunch: Mingle and enjoy brunch at Mars Cafe (2318 University Avenue) from 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 5.

Music Video Screening: Come watch locally produced music videos on the big screen at Varsity Theatre (1207 25th Street) from 11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. on Sunday, October 5. Free to attend for a Music University pass.



Saturday, October 4

8:30 a.m.
Registration Opens

9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. 
Community Forum: How Nonprofits Can Support Independent Musicians in the New Industry
Open forum discussion led by DMMC and Hear Nebraska
FREE to all – registration not required
Established in 2005, the nonprofit Des Moines Music Coalition has been working to promote central Iowa as a region of music and to provide education and support to musicians and others working in industry. Since then, the city and the industry has changed a lot, which has led to similar groups cropping up in other communities around the country. Bring your ideas on how such groups can best aid their communities, and specifically Greater Des Moines, in this forum hosted by representatives of the Des Moines Music Coalition and Hear Nebraska. This free open forum is does not require registration to Music University.

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. 
Producing a Proper Show (And Not Losing Money)
Speakers: Burke VanRaalte (Wooly’s, First Fleet Concerts), Amedeo Rossi (80/35, Nitefall on the River, Vaudeville Mews)
Moderator: Andre Perry (Englert Theatre)
Whether you are producing your first show for your band or your hundredth as a promoter, there are always things that can go wrong. Concert promotion is a risky business, but being prepared and organized will help you put on a successful show. This discussion will cover the logistics of keeping down costs, making everyone happy, and hopefully making some money.

Songwriting Workshop with Bob Mould
Speaker: Bob Mould (Musician)
Well into his fourth decade as a singer-songwriter, Mould is as relevant, ferocious, and poignant as he has ever been. Bob Mould’s journey as singer-songwriter, guitarist, author, DJ, and all-around MVP began in 1979 with the formation of Hüsker Dü. In 1988, Mould began the first part of a solo career producing the aforementioned Workbook and the heavy Black Sheets of Rain. In 1992, Bob gave the world Sugar, a reimagined power trio that toured the globe and produced two albums and an EP. Throughout the decades, Mould has consistently recorded, toured, and perfected his craft(s). Join Bob Mould for a small-group songwriting workshop. Space is limited and sign-ups will be first come, first serve the morning of the conference, during registration.

Marketing on a Shoestring: Promote Like a Pro with an Indie Budget
Speakers: Alyssa DeHayes (Riot Act Media), Dustin Smith (Musician, The Maytags)
Moderator: Jill Haverkamp (On Pitch)
You’ve spent your life developing as a songwriter and artist, and have followed that up with the time, financial, and emotional investment of making a record. Wouldn’t it be nice if some people actually heard it? Well, you have to tell them about it! Your album release isn’t done the day it comes out, that’s just the beginning. Learn about how to prepare and budget for a campaign to spread the word about your music. This session will dig into details about marketing, radio, and more.

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
From Podcasting to Public Radio
Speakers: Brian Campos (Pants Off Podcast), Chad Taylor (Cityview, Critical Mass), Joe Lawler (Juice, Critical Mass), Mark Simmet (Iowa Public Radio)
Moderator: John Pemble (Iowa Public Radio)
Traditional radio outlets continue to become more and more restrictive and inaccessible to independent artists. Navigating the challenges of sharing your music through audio broadcasting seems to be a foggy path, and the future isn’t clear. Listeners are migrating to digital listening via “podcasts” and Soundcloud. College, community, and public radio continue to play new, original music, but getting airplay isn’t easy. Join Iowa Public Radio’s John Pemble is this investigation into where and when music lovers are listening, who they are, and how to best situate yourself to get played by radio shows and podcasters alike.

Website Demolition Derby: Does Your Site Cut It?
Speakers: Alyssa DeHayes (Riot Act Media), Amedeo Rossi (80/35, Nitefall on the River, Vaudeville Mews), John Solarz (8/7 Central)
Moderator: Adrien Daller (Musician, Trouble Lights)
Calling all bands! Do you have a website? Do you know if it sucks or not? Come to this session with your website in hand; our review panel of publicist Alyssa DeHayes, promoter Amedeo Rossi (80/35, Nitefall on the River), and web designer John Solarz (8/7 Central) will bring it up on a projection to review and give advice on how to better design your site to appeal to fans and booking agents alike. This is also great for anyone looking to avoid rookie mistakes with their first website.

Dum Dum Girls Workshop
Speakers: Dee Dee and Jules of Dum Dum Girls (Musicians)
Since they emerged at a time when C-86-inspired acts like Vivian Girls and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart were in vogue, it’s little wonder that California’s Dum Dum Girls — a group whose ’60s-inflected lo-fi pop brings to mind acts like Black Tambourine and Dolly Mixture — became something of a sensation on the indie circuit soon after the release of their first single. Join Dee Dee and Jules of the group for a team songwriting challenge in which 5 teams of two each will work to write with as few chords as possible. “Three chords good, two chords better, one chord best.” Space is limited and sign-ups will be first come, first serve the morning of the conference, during registration.

Best of Both Worlds: Integrating Tape and Digital in the Studio
Speakers: Adam Hill (Ardent Studios), Brandon Darner (Musician, The Envy Corps; Producer, Imagine Dragons)
Analog or digital, what’s better? Fortunately, with modern technology, you don’t necessarily have to pick between the two! Tape machines and computers can work together in any recording setting with great results, but it helps if you know what you’re doing! Learn about the benefits and potential pitfalls of tracking to tape and how to use tape machines in a digital recording environment. Adam Hill is the the “tape guy” at Memphis, Tennessee’s legendary Ardent Studios, and he and Brandon Darner will act as your guides in this workshop.

12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Lunch: $10 (optional)
Networking, plus special session and performance. Food provided.

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
From the Studio to Reality: Pressing Vinyl and CDs and Distributing Your Music
Speaker: Joe Vent (A to Z Media), Christopher Ford (Maximum Ames Records, Des Moines Music Coalition)
Moderator: Tommy Doggett (Guitar Center)
This is your chance to ask every question you can think of about the logistics of making a physical product out of your music and getting it into the hands of your fans. What’re the benefits of producing vinyl or cds in a world in which digital music consumption is overwhelmingly becoming the norm? What should you budget for and consider in the production of your product? Moderator Tommy Doggett (Guitar Center) will lead this conversation with A to Z Media’s Joe Vent and Maximum Ames Records’ Christopher Ford, but come with questions as this will be open to audience q&a throughout.

Conversation with Dum Dum Girls
Speakers: Dee Dee and Jules of Dum Dum Girls (Musicians)
Join Alyssa DeHayes (Riot Act Media, Arrowhawk Records) in a conversation with Dee Dee and Jules of Dum Dum Girls about their time as working musicians and performers, starting a 60s inspired pop band in 2008, and the challenges and opportunities that come with being a female musical artist. There will also be time for audience Q&A.

Paying For Your Project: Exploring Funding Opportunities from Traditional To Cutting Edge
Speakers: Veronica O’Hern (Iowa Arts Council), John June Year (Band), Mary McAdams (Musician)
Moderator: Margi Weiss (Fundraising Consultant)
One of the biggest mistakes artists make when starting a new project is in budgeting: do you have any idea how much your album is costing you? What’s the value of your time and how much of it are you subsidizing as a “donation”? You can’t pay for a project if you don’t know how much it costs! You shouldn’t underfund an album or other music-related project; you’re just selling yourself short and holding yourself back. Luckily, there are a number of different ways you can raise money to help pay for your vision. Join funding strategist Margi Weiss in a discussion with Veronica O’Hern (Iowa Arts Council), Mary McAdams (singer-songwriter and three-time Iowa Arts Council grantee), and members of independent band John June Year (who successfully used Kickstarter to fund their $6000 album project earlier this year) to start thinking smart about how to reach your funding goals.

2:30 p.m. –  3:30 p.m.
Producing Music for Film
Speakers: Nathan Cook (Music Producer, Liam Hayes, A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III), Tony Bohnenkamp (Songwriter)
Moderators: Brandon Darner and Luke Pettipoole  (Musicians, Producers)
Try to think of one movie you’ve seen that doesn’t incorporate music in some way. They are few and far between. Most films and tv shows rely heavily on music for dramatic effect and to propel a story forward. This conversation will cover a range of topics from composing and producing music specifically for movies, writing songs for television shows, and being ready with your original songs in case someone wants to use one in an audiovisual context (Do you know what a “tv track” is?). Note: This conversation will not cover licensing and publishing topics, which is something you should definitely know about before you allow your music to be used in film.

A Conversation with Bob Mould
Speaker: Bob Mould (Musician)
Join Bob Mould and Jeff Inman in a conversation about his career, music as art, and his thoughts on the current state of the industry and what it means to be an independent artist in 2014. There will also be time for audience Q&A.

What a Manager Can Do for a Great Artist
Speakers: David Priebe (Green Room Music Source) + MAIDS
Moderator: David Mainelli (Entrepreneur and Musician, Bazile Mills)
Let’s get serious. Do you really need a manager? When should you be thinking about management and what should a manager be doing for you? With the right partner, a manager can help you in your career, but only when you’re ready as an artist. However, “managing” your artistic career is something that someone will have to do from day one, whether it’s you or someone else who is working for you. Even if you don’t feel ready to add to your team today, this discussion is valuable in providing considerations for when you do feel ready. Join entrepreneur and musician David Mainelli as he probes these topics with Green Room Music Source’s David Priebe and members of Des Moines electronic dance duo MAIDS, who has been managed by Bluestocking Agency since March 2014.

3:45 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
You Can’t Do It Alone: Getting the Support of a Booking Agency
Speakers: Craig Grossman (Green Room Music Source), Patrick Tape Fleming (Gloom Balloon, Poison Control Center)
Moderator: David Priebe (Green Room Music Source)
Every band should start off by booking themselves, but at some point in your career you will hopefully develop a resume and reputation that presents value to someone who can help you book smarter. A booking agent is key to getting you paid more for better shows, and, importantly, freeing up more of your time to focus on your craft and other aspects of your music business. In this discussion, learn about how to identify when it’s time to start looking for a booking agent and what information you should be tracking over the course of your career to increase your chances of finding the right partner to take you to the next level.

The Fundamentals: Marketing, Recording, Touring, Distribution
Speakers: The River Monks (Musicians)
You gotta start somewhere. Every successful musician started with no talent, no smarts, and a product that no one wants to hear. But somehow they muddle through, learning the hard way. If you’re just starting out, skip some of the the hard lessons with this fundamentals class with The River Monks, a band who has worked their way from new nobodies to an established act, releasing two full-length albums, touring the country, and debuting their two latest music videos via USAToday and Country Music Television.

Social Media Advertising: Why It Pays to Play with Social Ads
Speakers: Jill Haverkamp and Hillary Ferry (On Pitch)
Learn how to use social media advertising to amp up your bandwidth on Facebook, Twitter and more. You’re likely already engaging your fans with backstage photos, downloads, live videos and more, but if you want to reach an even bigger audience, you’ve got to pay to play. This session will cover the benefits, best practices, creation and management of social advertising campaigns to help you amplify your reach. Whether you’re promoting an upcoming show or generating buzz about your latest release, we’ll teach you how to reach the right fans in the right channels with quality content and social ads.

Music Showcases

5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
The River Monks, Dylan Sires & Neighbors, and MR NASTI
Des Moines Social Club’s Basement Bar, 900 Mulberry Street, Des Moines
All Ages

9:30 p.m. – Midnight
Bob Mould with Lucca Soria
Vaudeville Mews, 212 4th Street, Des Moines
21+ only
$10 with Music University registration pass, buy showcase + MU registration here
$20 without Music University registration pass, buy showcase only here
$25 day of (if available)


Sunday, October 5

9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m
Networking Brunch at Mars Cafe

11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Music Video Screening of locally produced videos at Varsity Theatre

12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
DIY to the Top: How a few guys from Marshalltown, Iowa created one of America’s most successful hardcore bands
Speaker: Jeffrey Eaton (Musician, Modern Life Is War)
Moderator: Elliot Imes (Musician, Tyborn Jig, H.D. Harmsen & The Electrophones)
Modern Life Is War is a hardcore punk band from Marshalltown, Iowa. Formed in 2002, they are known for their incendiary live shows and unique take on the melodic hardcore and hardcore sound, incorporating unusual song structures and deeply thoughtful lyrics. During Modern Life Is War’s six-year original run, the band released three full-length albums and one self-titled 7″ EP. Despite a growing profile on the underground hardcore circuit all over the world, and garnering critical acclaim from numerous musical outlets, Modern Life Is War announced its dissolution in early 2008. The band then reunited in 2013 and has been playing shows since. Their recent album Fever Hunting has received critical praise from the likes of Pitchfork and more. Local musician Elliot Imes (Tyborn Jig, H.D. Harmsen & The Electrophones) will talk to the band’s lead singer, Jeffrey Eaton, about their approach to DIY touring, performance, promotion, and more.

12:35 p.m. – 12:55 p.m.
Dum Dum Girls Acoustic Performance

1:00 p.m. –  2:00 p.m.
Matisyahu Talk + Mini-Unplugged Session
Presented in part by the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines
Speaker: Matisyahu (Musician)
Matisyahu released his breakout album Live at Stubb’s in 2005. Since then, he has pushed himself creatively breaking with expectation and remaking his musical image with every album. Reinvigorated and reinvented, Matisyahu will perform a short selection of songs from his latest album Akeda, and lead a question and answer session with the audience.  Grammy Award nominated artist Matisyahu has come a long way since 2005 when he released his breakout album, Live at Stubb’s, and captured audiences of all backgrounds with the chart topper “King without a Crown.” Since then he has proven to be one of the most dynamic and creative artists in the industry today, breaking with convention at every turn and remaking his musical image with nearly every album. His anthem “One Day” was chosen as the theme song for NBC’s 2011 Winter Olympics coverage, and 2012′s Spark Seeker debuted in the Billboard Top 20. His latest release, Akeda, is a record that internalizes much of Matisyahu’s  journey over the past decades and expresses it in his most personal and emotional release to date.


Standard Pass: $35
Musicians & Students: $20
Day of: $40
Drake Students: Free
Lunch: $10 (optional)
Music Showcase with Bob Mould: $10 w/ advance conference registration (optional)

Registration is now open! Get your conference pass now at Advance registration is recommended. Details on where to pick up your passes and check-in the day of the conference, will be coming soon.

Contact or 515-657-7620.

Music University is presented by the Des Moines Music Coalition with support from David and Trudy Hurd, Bravo, Greater Des Moines Partnership, Bankers TrustIowa Public Radio, Tikly, Drake University, Guitar Center, YelpSaturday Mfg., and On Pitch.