“Absolutely incredible,” said DJ Miza Modibedi, when FDRMX asked him what he thought of New York City. The prominent DJ and producer came all the way from South Africa for the 2014 CMJ Music Marathon, a unique festival that prides itself on being unheard and underground.
The annual event was founded by Joanne Abbot Green and Robert Haber in 1980, in an effort to help industry figures discover new artists in the college radio realm. With the help of founding media group CMJ Holdings Corp. and hosting agency Big Picture Media, smaller artists have the chance to take over the big apple. The marathon will be racing ahead until October 25th, with shows in more than 80 venues throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan.
The nonstop lineup features over 1,300 names, including around 60 Australian acts, and, as the New York Times puts it, “what seems to be every band in Brooklyn.” Some of the bigger groups you can expect to hear are Bombay Bicycle Club, The Kills, Foster the People, and Milo Greene. Until then, the breakout artists continue to flood the streets with fresh new music that embodies the hipster psalm, “I liked them before they were big.”
Spectators are encouraged to download the CMJ 2014 app to guide their selections as they wade through the exotic names in the massive welcome booklet, which unfolds like a handkerchief in a magic trick. The app allows users to get a feel for the artists with samples of their music, and also provides details on when and where to hunt them down.
Where there are cool sponsors, there are cool merch tables. CMJ Music Marathon 2014 is sponsored by Champion USA, New York University, Sonicbids, Sounds Australia, ASCAP, Kaotica, SESAC, MailChimp, GCA Entertainment, HD Radio, BMI, YouTube, VitaCoco, Fresh Rights, and Selfie. Partners include Big Picture Media, The Bosco, Supper, Pancakes and Whiskey, Escape Music Festival, IMFCON, Reeper Bahn Festival, SyncSummit, WOMEX, Breathe Sunshine Conference, Yelp, Insound, BestNewBands.com, Fun Fun Fun Fest, Idobi Radio, The Next2Shine, and Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue.