Relix Live Music Conference 2019, Day One: Roger McNamee, Guster and more
photo by Marc Millman
“It’s not about right and left. It’s about right and wrong,” venture capitalist/author/tech activist Roger McNamee told a captivated audience at the third annual Relix Live Music Conference.
Throughout the May 15 discussion, McNamee—an early investor in Facebook—explored the themes of his new book, Zucked, with Relix Editor-in-Chief Dean Budnick. McNamee lamented the cultural and political impact of data mining as well as “the algorithmic boosting of misinformation, hate speech and conspiracy theories” through once-trusted social media platforms.
During his off hours, McNamee fronts the band Moonalice, which has over 420,000 fans on Facebook. It’s an irony he happily admitted at the RLMC. “My fucking band lives on Facebook,” he said to laughs in the audience. “Where do you go? They have a monopoly.”
Technology was just one of the topics of discussion on Tuesday. During the “Bright Lights Big Stage” panel, lighting designer Christopher Ragan explained how he approaches his improvisational work with bands like Dead & Company as opposed to more choreographed work with acts like The Strokes. “I try not to look at the setlists,” he said of Dead & Company. “I find that it leads to opening more doors.”
Activism was also on the minds of a lot of panelists.
“For folks that are feeling disenfranchised right now, this is so empowering,” Mollie Farrell said during the “Amplifying Awareness and Action” panel, explaining HeadCount’s cross-country voter registration program.
“The Grateful Dead weren’t the Grateful Dead when they started doing benefits,” Cameron Sears of the Rex Foundation later added. “When you start [engaging in activism] at the very beginning of your career, that will see you through the remainder of your career. It’s part of who you are.”
Gender equality and diversity were also hot topics during the “Meet Me In The Conference Room” panel, with Marilyn Laverty of Shore Fire Media saying, “If we’re not going to lead [with diversity] in our business, how can we expect corporate America to do the same thing?”
The first day of the Relix Live Music Conference closed with “I Was A Teenage Guster Rep,” an open discussion led by bandmates Ryan Miller and Brian Rosenworcel and featuring a panel of Guster-reps-turned-music-professionals Johnny Beach (The Bowery Presents), Noah Chernin (Dalton Sim Management), Michael Corcoran (mTheory), Laurence Freedman (Telegraph Road Management), Mike Greenhaus (Relix), Rich Schaefer (AEG Presents), Dalton Sim (Dalton Sim Management), Carla Sosenko (Us Weekly).
“Looking at this panel, these are mostly people who emailed me when they were teenagers,” Rosenworcel said, marveling at the group.
Below, watch video of the full day of RLMC 2019, day one, and tune in now to the second day of panels and discussions for free via The Relix Channel at Relix.com/Live.