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The Sandy Feldstein Industry Roundtable at the 2018 NAMM Show featured professional perspectives about what it takes to have a career in music and, appropriately, was opened by SUNY Potsdam President and champion of experiential learning, Dr. Kristin Esterberg.

It was an afternoon packed with insights from leading industry figures, Scott Goodman (CEO of Zoom North America), Lauren Haas Amanfoh (President and COO of Royalton Music Center), and Terri Winston, Executive Director of the Women’s Audio Mission, all held together by the expertise of host, Joe Lamond, President and CEO of NAMM.

In addition, the session featured a performance by Nashville-based powerhouse duo, TOWNE (pictured above).

Students in the industry overview seminar Music Business II had a chance to talk to Steevie Steeves and Jon Decious of TOWNE and get some fascinating insights on music-making in the city best known as the epicenter of Country.

Q: Nashville today is more than the city of Country Music, a symbiosis of many things; still, is the choice of gigs limited?

TOWNE: Not at all! There are venues here that fit all shapes and sizes and sounds: from old school country to new school country, to death metal DJ's and everything in between. 

Q: Is it difficult to ‘branch out’ if you want to do something slightly different?

TOWNE: Nashville is more musically diverse now than ever before so, we would say, it's probably never been easier to branch out than it is right now. With that said, the heart of the city still revolves around a well written song. So, "branch out as much as you want as long as your songs don't suck", is a good rule of thumb.

Q: Across Nashville, there are easily over 250 venues. How do you market yourself in this crowded environment?

TOWNE: A typical Nashville club on a typical Nashville night is made up of 2 types of people, typically: tourists and other musicians. Neither of which you can count on to become die-hard fans who come to your shows consistently.  So, if your aim is to reach non-music-playing-full-time-Nashvillians that may actually become real fans: leaving town and generating a buzz is really the best way to build a fan base here. The local talent pool is too deep to draw a crowd based on talent alone (most everyone here is talented- that's why they're here). You've got to create a "must see" quality and give the locals a reason to get off the couch, fight traffic, and come see you play. So, to answer your question: we play as many shows outside of Nashville as humanly possible and, in turn, wind up getting fans in Nashville. 

Q: Finally, on an average night you would find acts practically in every bar. Is it a blessing or a curse to be ‘right at the center’ of it all?

TOWNE: It's a little of both, probably. It's a curse in the sense that, with so many people playing every night, you realize the town would never miss you if you never played another note. On the other hand, seeing all of those performers chasing the same dream we are is inspiring and reminds us that we're not in this alone.

To find out more about the band, visit their page, www.townemusic.com; check them out on FB, www.facebook.com/towneband; or follow them on Instagram/twitter, @townemusic.

To listen to their music, catch them live in NYC on March 13th (Rockwood Music Hall) or find them here on Spotify.