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#InConversationWith Portia Sabin, President, Music Business Association


Portia Sabin

"People want to move to cities with vibrant music scenes, making it easier for businesses to recruit talent. This message seems like an important one to continue to repeat!"


We are a community of people in every profession and sector using music to create more value in towns and cities all over the world. In the special series #InConversationWith, we talk to accomplished members of our community and uncover their journey.


This story features Portia Sabin, President, Music Business Association.


Profile at a Glance

Dr. Portia Sabin is President of the Music Business Association. While working on her Ph.D. at Columbia University, she played drums, recorded, and toured with NYC band The Hissyfits. She founded Shotclock Management in 2004 and ran the legendary independent label, Kill Rock Stars, for 13 years. She is the host of a podcast about the music business called The Future of What. Sabin is a former board member of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of The

Recording Academy, the RIAA, and the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) and is currently on the Advisory Boards of NIVA and VevaCollect.



How did you get to where you are today, professionally?


Hard work and luck! I started as a musician, became an artist manager, ran an independent record label for 13 years, and served on several boards in the music industry, which taught me a lot about the business and allowed me to meet people from many sectors of the industry.


Which would you say is the main project the Music Association is working on right now? For those who aren’t familiar, please describe it and talk a little bit about it.


We are a business-to-business trade association. We create events that educate the music industry as well as bring executives together to network and do business. Right now we are working on several one-day events as well as gearing up to release our Call for Proposals for the Music Biz 2024 conference. This event is crowdsourced so we are looking forward to receiving proposals from every sector of the industry!


How does your work impact the music ecosystem of your city, the rest of the country? Do you have any milestones that you’d like to share?


The Music Biz conference brings 2100+ executives from 30+ countries to Nashville, TN each year for 4-5 days, putting lots of money into the local ecosystem through parties, dinners, hotel rooms, etc.



What would you like to see discussed more regarding music cities topics? What do you think are the most pressing topics to address?


I think focusing on the contributions to the local economy provided by having a music ecosystem are invaluable... people want to move to cities with vibrant music scenes, making it easier for businesses to recruit talent. This message seems like an important one to continue to repeat!


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Music Business Association

About Music Business Association:


Music Business Association has:


+ a commitment to reflect the global music industry by ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion in all our events and initiatives, as well as in our Board of Directors and staff. Diversity encompasses not only race and gender, but also company type, size, ownership, industry sector, and level of professional experience.


+ a belief that when people work together, it makes our industry stronger.


+ a goal of facilitating communication & cooperation to promote overall commercial growth and ensure the wellbeing of ALL industry professionals.


Music Biz creates the rooms in which the important conversations that shape the future of our industry take place. Representing more than 90 percent of the industry at large, our Association serves as the connective tissue for the global music business and provides a trusted forum where ideas & collaboration can flourish.


Connect with Music Business Association:


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