Meet Talia Kosh, the founder of local non-profit organization New Mexico Lawyers for the Arts and all-around do-gooder. Kosh founded NMLFA in 2008 to provide pro bono advice to New Mexico artists, filmmakers and musicians who otherwise might not be able to effectively make their way through the many intricacies of New Mexico's culture-based industries.
"We help with various concerns on anything from basic legal concepts to contract negotiation and education programs," Kosh tells SFR.
One such program is the upcoming Business of Music Summit on Nov. 7 and 8 at Warehouse 21. For two days, NMLFA will present and moderate panels on musical elements such as production, the future of music in New Mexico, the state of radio, the business of the DJ and how to effectively market music. The summit is, fundamentally, a means for local musicians to address head-on many of the issues our scene and then take action.
There are many aspects to the scene that are oft dissected but never actually remedied. Issues like lack of a proper venue, how to create and entice fans, setting a trajectory for success, how to present your product to the largest possible audience while maintaining its value and so on. And though many who operate within the scene are fully aware of the problems it creates, many of us—myself included—tend to bitch and whine and not actually work toward any specific end or change.
Additionally, the summit will not only serve to help artists sharpen their non-performance skills, it will help them to maybe learn a thing or two about self-promotion, contract navigation and/or a whole mess of other topics that perhaps hasn't even occurred to some.
By stocking the panels with local movers and shakers like Mikey Baker, Brian Hardgroove, Paul Feathericci, Oona Bender and many, many others, the summit will be able to address key music issues from multiple angles, which is smart. Certainly every corner of our scene has its own viewpoint on what must be done in order to revitalize Santa Fe music, and this is the first time in memory that all of these people will be in one room working together.
"We're talking about what are some of the obstacles that we all face in creating a vibrant music scene…how can musicians stay sustainable given alternative income models or navigate streaming services or even just get their name out there without giving away too much for free," Kosh says. "Really this is just a starting point to a much broader commitment for all local artists, because we can keep talking about venues and money and all that, but unless there's some big funder out there who just wants to pay for everything, we have to figure out how else we can bolster local music. There was once a much more vibrant scene in Santa Fe, and I think we can get back there."
Though the summit focuses on the many sides of music, Kosh and fellow organizer Shannon Murphy have designed the panels to be accessible and of interest to non-musicians as well. After all, nightlife, music—hell, art in general—are things that concern just about everyone. Music seems to be the one medium that truly connects everyone, and if we can all unite (even loosely) under a few cohesive goals and work toward specific ends, there might just be hope for the future of music in Santa Fe. Just don't expect great reviews for everything that ever happens.
"Yes, we're doing this for the musicians, but [the summit] potentially serves everybody," Kosh adds. "The more people that show up and become a part of the conversation, the better our chances for identifying what absolutely must be done, at which point we can stop just saying we are doing things and actually do them."
The Business of Music Summit
2-8:45 pm Thursday, Nov 7;
2-9 pm Friday, Nov. 8. Free.
Warehouse 21, 1614 Paseo de Peralta