Have you ever wondered where your favorite artists performed before their songs became hits? The answer is the College Music Journal (CMJ) music marathon. CMJ is special because it features rising artists for free, or for a very low price, allowing its main audience–college students–to catch performers up-close with the intimacy that smaller venues offer.

With its 30-year legacy, CMJ transforms these start-ups into well-known names for the 120,000-person crowds it draws. Past Grammy-nominated or popular performers associated with the program include Regina Spektor (2004), Passion Pit (2008), Lady Gaga (2008), Lana del Rey (2009), Avicii (2010) and Ra Ra Riot, who performed at Stony Brooklyn last Fall.

CMJ is different from other festivals because it is more than just a five-day series of concerts. A full badge includes access to panels by speakers from Warner Bros Records, VEVO, Billboard, Universal Music Group and SoundCloud. Controversial topics include: “EDM: the Last Dance?”, “Recycled Sounds: Our Nostalgic Future” and “Paid in Full: Royalties in the Digital World”. There are also a variety of for-credit entertainment business/legal seminars for MBA and graduate students.

It is important to enjoy the music, as well as to think and discuss the future of the industry such as its societal function, its entrepreneurial management and legal issues of this field.

This year’s CMJ festival runs from Tuesday, Oct. 15 to Saturday, Oct. 19. With a glance at the list of 932 performing artists, it is not difficult to spot many names inspired from already famous bands, songs, or movies. Some of the artists to watch this year are:

Alternative Rock: Placebo, British band that gained 8.1 million listens on Spotify.

EDM: Black Light Dinner Party, featured at Grooveshark’s main page in 2012.

Electronic: Telepopmusik, who gained 5.3 million listens on Spotify.


Jazz: Joanna Wang, winner of best new creative artist at Beijing TopChart Pop Ceremony.



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