Propose a Conference Session


Please review all information below before completing the proposal form at the bottom of this page.

If you have a topic idea but are not interested in organizing the specific session, please submit a General Topic Suggestion through the proposal form at the bottom of this page. The information below is for Specific Session Proposals.  

Proposal Process

Proposals may be considered for the IBMA Business Conference. Proposals can be submitted by bluegrass and general music industry professionals.

IBMA Business Conference proposals address current music industry concerns pertaining to one or more of the IBMA’s membership constituencies (see “Target Audience” below), and they often speak to or incorporate some aspect of modern industry trends (see “Tips and Things to Keep in Mind” below). Conference sessions are typically around 50 minutes long and are scheduled Tuesday – Thursday, September 27-29 (see “Tips and Things to Keep in Mind” below).

Proposals must include the following information:

  • Primary Contact who is organizing the session and serving as moderator. The Primary Contact will work with his/her co-presenters to define and plan the session content, determine audiovisual needs, confirm session details with speakers, etc.
  • Session Information
    1. Format: Conference sessions typically follow one of the following formats:
      • Panel Discussion: 3-4 presenters from various backgrounds discuss their perspectives on a topic with one another and the audience. Be sure to reserve enough time for audience participation.
      • Presentation: A presenter delivers an educational speech or lecture on a specific topic. Typically, this includes audience engagement during or after the presentation. (Think along the lines of a TED Talk)
      • Round Table: A series of 4-6 topically related discussions occurring simultaneously, often led by table leaders and coordinated by an overall moderator. Attendees may rotate from table to table or stay put. Involvement of attendees in content presentation is encouraged.
      • Workshop/Demonstration: In-depth training or learning. It is expected that attendees actively participate in the session and may require attendees to have concrete ideas and/or materials to work on during the session (i.e. workshopping a song).
      • Pitch Event: Attendees pitch material or ideas to a panel of experts for constructive critique and feedback for improvement, refinement, or next steps.
      • Networking Event: Intended to introduce and familiarize two or more industry groups (i.e. broadcasters and labels) to develop, improve, or further construct business relationships.
      • Other innovative format ideas are welcome and can be submitted by selecting “Other” and filling in the accompanying text field.
    2. Title: Each session requires a title that accurately communicates the main topic presented in the session.
    3. Description (word limit: 100): Each session requires a description that accurately conveys the content of the session. Finalized titles and descriptions will be published in the printed conference program, online schedule, and conference app.
    4. Target Audience: Please identify the target audience(s) from the following IBMA membership constituencies: Agents/Managers/Publicists, Artists, Associations, Broadcasters, Composers, Educators, Electronic and Print Media, Event Producers/Talent Buyers, Luthiers & Merchandisers, Record Labels, and Recording/Sound Engineers. Select as many as apply, “Other,” or “All.”
    5. Audience Experience Level: Indicate the experience level required of audience members to benefit from your session. Is your session content suitable for entry-level attendees, intermediate, or advanced? You may alternately select “All” if your session is applicable to all experience levels.
  • Presenter Information
    • Number of Presenters: Please indicate the proposed number of presenters for the session, including the Primary Contact/Moderator.
    • Proposed Presenters: For each presenter, please include the following information:
      • Name
      • Organization (Company, Band, etc.)
      • Email

Selection Process

Proposals will be reviewed by our Education Committee and evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • How well the proposal addresses key issues facing the bluegrass community currently and in the future.
  • Potential to offer new knowledge and insights on key issues that may benefit attendees and enrich attendee experience.
  • Feasibility – Are the educational goals of the proposal realistic and attainable? Are the proposed presenters real possibilities? (For example, Dolly Parton would likely not be a real possibility for an IBMA Business Conference panel)
  • Coherence of the proposal – Are the main concept and goals of the session clear and understandable?

Session Confirmation

After sessions have been selected, moderators will be contacted via email and be required to confirm the panel via an online confirmation form. The confirmation will require the following additional information for the selected session:

  • Presenter Information for those participating in the session as follows (used in online and print schedules, as well as for event and session promotion):
    • Name
    • Organization
    • Email
    • Bio
    • Headshot

Tips and Things to Keep in Mind

  • Consider how your session can speak to the current state of the industry. Incorporate lessons and ideas that apply to modern problems and trends.
  • Brainstorm ways to make your session dynamic and interactive, integrating audience participation into the session (beyond question and answer at the end).
  • Plan on a 50-minute session (including Q&A), or specify if your proposal will need a longer time slot.
  • Be sure to focus session time on substantive content. DO NOT spend time on presenter bios during the session. This information consumes valuable session time and will be available to attendees via our conference program. Be realistic in setting session goals and picking possible presenters (i.e. pick presenters you have a reasonable chance of securing for your session).
  • If accepted, your session may be scheduled at any time during the morning or afternoon on any of the conference days, September 27-29.
  • Conference registration WILL be provided for speakers on the day of their presentation. Registration WILL NOT be provided for speakers on days they are not presenting. Speakers will need to purchase a conference registration to attend events on other days of the conference.
  • Any session or speaker cancellations after August 31 will be subject to a disqualification for consideration for the next two consecutive years.
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