Listen Up / December 2011

Who to see and what to hear in December.

by Todd Coder

Rachel Yamagata

I turned 37 years old last month and can truly say that my 36th year was one of the most enjoyable of my life.  I celebrated my first year of marriage to my best friend.  We traveled to Europe and South Africa in March, enjoyed a great anniversary trip to Chicago in October and have plans to vacation internationally next year.  At the homestead, we recently brought in a new addition (puppy, not baby), and she certainly keeps us on our toes.  I have been lucky enough to surround myself with amazing friends and family that love and care about me unconditionally.  Needless to say, I am much luckier than I deserve.

Professionally, I now have a full year of experience working with the Birmingham-based ticketing company, TicketBiscuit.  I have learned much about this side of the industry and continue to learn more each day.  I also continue to work as the talent buyer for what I consider one of the premiere music venues in, not only the Southeast, but the entire county.  WorkPlay underwent a change of ownership last March and the modifications have been subtle, but positive and effective.  It’s exciting to be a part of something that means so much to our city.  Finally, I have been fortunate to be involved with the Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores since its inception.  This last year, the event sold out two weeks in advance and has been nominated by Pollstar for Music Festival of the Year.  The festival continues to grow on many different levels, all in positive ways, and I am privileged to be a part of it.  I am very lucky to have the opportunity to work with all three of these entities and the people associated with them.

My wife jokes that I have eight jobs, but thankfully, everything that I do is intertwined.  All aspects of my career are music- industry-related, but more important, they all feed off of one another.  In this business, relationships are integral to your success, and I have found that the more that you do, the more that you experience, the better off you’ll be in the long run, at least for me.  Many of the people that I interact with in the industry tend to focus solely on one side or one angle of the business, which is fine.  Things just happened a bit differently for me, and I’m OK with that.

Normally in this column, I talk about a lot about the music industry.  For example, over the last year, we have discussed what works in our market and what doesn’t, festivals and all they have to offer, and the rights and wrongs of the industry as a whole.  This month, I decided instead to open up and tell you a little more about me, rather than just sharing my opinions.


This seems appropriate during the holidays, as many of us look back on 2011 and reflect on what we did, who we did it with and where we did it.  Some of us look back regretfully at the end of a year, while others take with them the positives and turn the negatives into life’s lessons.  I always attempt to gain a clear perspective at the end of each year and try to figure out the cause of both my mistakes and my accomplishments.  I want to learn from my slipups so I can be a better person, both personally and professionally.  I want my life to be a positive one, not just for me, but for those I encounter from time to time, and those I spend every day with.  Unfortunately, I don’t always feel that I make that happen.  For me, talking about it makes it a bit more real and, I hope, will help me gain that perspective that I am looking for—not just at the end of the year but all year long.  Thanks for letting me lay on your leather sofa for a bit to talk this out.   Have a great month. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  See you in 2012. •

Todd Coder is the Director of Music Account Development at TicketBiscuit.  He is also the talent buyer at WorkPlay Theatre and for The Hangout Music Festival.

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