Playlist Live, and The Value of Meeting in Meatspace

/ Mar 21, 2014

playlist live

Attending a conference is an investment: It requires time off from work, travel expenses, a hotel room, overpriced conference center food, and a sick day or two when you get home (so that you can recover from the conference). But for those who attend Playlist Live, Vidcon, and other events, it’s an investment that can pay out big down the line.

“For many of our attendees, Playlist Live is the first large-scale entertainment event they’ve been to,” Playlist Live founder Jared Mendelewicz said via email. “When you mix in community engagement activities such as meet-and-greets, and meeting new friends, the event becomes far more important to the individual. It becomes a true, personal experience.”

And it can also lead to unexpected benefits. Just one example — director Dan Dobi has attended both Playlist Live and Vidcon over the years (plus YouStar Live in Poland), and has found that the conference experience had multiple benefits.

“It really puts a face to a name,” he said via phone. “Especially since some people are really hard to get ahold of. And the people you can get one-on-one with means a more personal experience.”

“We always say that you get out of Playlist Live what you put into Playlist Live,” said Mendelewicz. “If you’re looking to meet-and-greet with as many creators as you physically can, we want you to accomplish that.”

What’s key to making a conference like Playlist Live work for you? Showing up with something to actually talk about. “Going to a conference with a specific project to promote is ESSENTIAL,” Dobi said. “If you have something to plug and promote, it’s absolutely worth it.”

Because it’s also a place where new talent can be discovered. “Playlist Live has always been known for bringing out up-and-comers to appear and perform that often wouldn’t get the opportunity at an event this size. Did you know that Austin Mahone’s first live performance was our first Playlist Live in 2011? Now he’s an unstoppable pop music sensation,” Mendelewicz said.

Not only do conferences offer valuable networking experiences for Dobi, but they directly led to him enlisting several YouTubers, including Grace Helbig, to appear in his 2013 documentary “Please Subscribe,” which actually premiered at last year’s Playlist Live.

Because what’s also key is taking the opportunity to expand your circles. “It’s about meeting new people — the mini-networks within smaller groups,” Dobi said. “It’s good to meet new people and find out what they do, because that’s how communities grow.”

Jim Louderback, GM of Discovery Digital Networks, remembered his first meeting with Phil DeFranco, which took place at SXSW one year; DeFranco was trying to attend a live “Diggnation” taping (a one-time annual tradition at SXSW) with a mutual acquaintance of Louderback, who asked for his help in getting into the show.

“I met Phil and loved him,” Louderback said in a phone interview — which eventually led to DeFranco joining Revision3 as a programming executive, following the company’s acquisition of his YouTube properties.

If you really want to meet somebody speaking on a panel, Louderback recommended arriving early: “Lots of times, speakers are just hanging out beforehand,” he said.

“Be up to talk to anybody — don’t isolate yourself in a corner,” he added. “Everybody’s pretty friendly, usually.”

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