Startups

What to expect at the 2022 tech-meets-arts Philly Music Fest

Expect the return of the annual event's Tech Tour, with panels exploring innovation in both technology and music between live sets.

At Philly Music Fest 2018.

(Courtesy photo)

Startup lawyer Greg Seltzer realized a few years back that his two worlds, tech and music, had a lot of crossover.

“I was digging into some metrics and came up with a few variables, but saw that the workforce of tech and startup is populated with a lot of people that are in bands, who are in music,” he said back in 2019.

Now in its sixth year, the city’s blended tech and music festival, Philly Music Fest, will return this fall. Organized by Seltzer and wife Jenn Seltzer, it’s taken a closer iteration to its early days after a virtual version in 2020 and a pandemic-cautious version last year.

Over five days in October, folks will be able to hear live music, attend music industry events, and check out this year’s signature event, Inside Hustle, which will gather folks from the music world to talk about the journey from DIY production to national touring.

Bruce Warren, assistant general manager of programming at WXPN, said that while the scene here is growing, Philly’s been slower to cultivate adjacent professions in the music industry. Many tech-adjacent roles like radio, publicity, legal, accounting, finance and even NFTs have boomed in recent years, but they’ve grown more slowly here.

“The Philly music scene has made incredible strides in the last five or so years, as a bunch of bands are breaking out nationally, but Inside Hustle is uniquely focusing on the support system for musicians,” Warren said in a statement. “We try and do our part at WXPN, but musicians need a village to succeed.”

Seltzer’s blend of worlds comes into play on Friday, Oct. 14, when musicians and local startups mingle for the festival’s annual Tech Tour. Panels exploring innovation in both technology and music will be held between live musical sets. Though the location is TBD now, in the past it’s been held at tech offices, like Guru’s HQ in the North American Building.

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This year’s Philly Music Fest will also hit a bunch of neighborhoods, with Ardmore Music Hall, World Cafe Live, Jonny Brenda’s, Milkboy, REC Philly and Underground Arts all booked for shows and panels. And of course, you’ll be able to catch local acts such as Stereo League, Perpetual Motion and Mannequin Pussy, among others. Tickets to events throughout the festival are on sale now, and as the org’s a nonprofit, funds go toward supporting local musicians, independent music venues and music education programs for kids. In 2021, the org donated $75,000 to music education programs.

“In order to grow a music industry in Philadelphia, we need to aggregate the disparate parts of the scene, facilitate collaboration, educate, and pave a path for non-musicians that want to dedicate their professional life to supporting musicians,” Seltzer said in a statement. “We need to create a home in Philadelphia for managers, agents, promoters and publicists, rather than have our people leave for Los Angeles, New York and Nashville.”

Philly Music Fest returns Oct. 10 to 15.

People: Greg Seltzer
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