Eb Reinbergs: TDOT 2018

words by: james johnson

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It’s always a great conversation when we speak with Eb Reinbergs. Eb is the man behind TDOT Fest, one of the most amazing urban music conferences you’ll find in North America. The festival takes place every year in Toronto, and has grown into an extravagant event that allows rising artists to gain some of the best exposure of their careers. We’ve connected with Eb to talk about this year’s conference, we is running as we speak in Dundas Square out in Toronto. Check out the exclusive below!!


U.G. Digital Magazine: It’s so amazing being able to reconnect with you. Obviously, you and I first connected a few years back, and it’s always good to see the progress you’re making in this industry with all the things you’re doing. 


Eb Reinbergs: Oh, no problem. It goes both ways. 


U.G. Digital Magazine: There’s so much you’re doing, but for me, it’s huge to see TDOT Fest and the progression there. That’s happening this weekend. What happens this year?


Eb Reinbergs: We’ve expanded this year, and we’ll start with that. We get so many submissions that we could no longer widdle down 200 submissions to 30 acts. So it’s become a full a week. Wednesday, Thursdays and Friday will be special. Six slots over the weekend will be from acts showcased Wednesday through Friday. Two will make it onto Sunday from each day. We’re opening it up to these acts. This is all for the development aspect of these artists. We like the music, so they’ve passed round one. We need to know more now about how they market, and their game plan to launch. We like to provide feedback, and its more than just having good music. We want to stress that. 50 acts may make it into the second interview stage. Then maybe 25 will get an invite for Sunday’s performance. It’s more than music. Do you have a team and a plan. That’s what we want to stress; the artist who is working on their career. 


U.G. Digital Magazine: That’s music to my ears man. Growing up, I always wanted to work as an A&R, and these days, development has flown out the window. This is amazing that you’re bringing that aspect back. That’s huge. It also speaks volumes to the artists getting a second chance at performing. 


Eb Reinbergs: That’s right. It also gives something to aspire to. We want to showcase acts that will blow up. Everything matters. We can link it all together. It’s a different move for us. We’ve also expanded our requirements for assessing the artists. 


U.G. Digital Magazine: What do you do with the artist who comes in without the marketing, promo, and team?


Eb Reinbergs: That’s why we have this. It’s more work-intensive for us, but we have those conversations so we can guide them and give assistance. When they submit music, we can find out what they’re doing already. Are they trying to work it into movies, commercials, and so on. We try to build the complementary businesses to move them forward. 


U.G. Digital Magazine: Right. It’s like a one-stop shop. What they don’t have, they may be able to get it through you. That’s amazing. 


Eb Reinbergs: Thank you. We have a few companies that we can send things to for artists. We’re building Spotify playlists as well. We’ll also keep our submission engines active all year round. 


U.G. Digital Magazine: I’m looking forward to it all. I try to get there every year, but it’s so amazing. 


Eb Reinbergs: Great. 


U.G. Digital Magazine: So you’ve launched your own label. How does it tie into this?


Eb Reinbergs: The goal of the label is not to put out albums. It’s more for singles, and bringing artists together. It allows us to work with the artists within the festival and we can promote and launch them. 


U.G. Digital Magazine: That’s amazing, and of course it’s different than the norm. It shows that you’re adjusting to the shift of the industry. Most artists are not doing albums as much, so this is perfect. 


Eb Reinbergs: Right. The music doesn’t make them money. They need assistance in blowing themselves up. Nobody wants to be locked down anymore. Everybody wants independence. We want to allow them to be independent. We can work that one single and help them remain independent. 


U.G. Digital Magazine: With CUMC, how does it all connect?


Eb Reinbergs: That was the focus when we started. We wanted to get urban music in a room together. They can network and learn. Saturday is the conference. Sunday is TDOT Fest. Wednesday through Friday, we’ll have a few events. By expanding to a full week, it’s all possible. If you’re getting on our stage, you’ve signed a contract to be at our conference. You have to learn about publishing, social media, what a 360 deal is, the relevance of radio, and so on. Come learn, and then jump on the stage Sunday. 


U.G. Digital Magazine: This is so awesome. 


Eb Reinbergs: Right. This is about development. We want to give them that opportunity. Those who are serious about their game, you’ll meet them over and over again. The ones who aren’t, they’ll be late, and just want to jump on stage. This is where you can sit through and find the nuggets of gold, and not just those with talent. It takes more than talent to make it in this industry. 


U.G. Digital Magazine: You’ll definitely get those who aren’t as serious, but you definitely will get some who are very serious. 


Eb Reinbergs: Where else does an act get an opportunity to learn how to perform in front of 10,000 people? To learn? It’s like swimming. You can read as much as you want; you still don’t know how until someone pushes you in the water. You have to get on stage to learn. The opportunity does not come around a lot for those with no traction behind them. 


U.G. Digital Magazine: What are some of the success stories you’ve seen for people who have participated in the past?


Eb Reinbergs: We’ve had a number of acts who have gone on to do small tours in Europe, they’re working with Drake and his label, or The Weeknd and his label. We truly fuel these artists, give them incentive, and support them. Many call back for advice, and we support them. We call them TDOT Fest alumni. We’ve had some artists who are now signed to major labels. 


U.G. Digital Magazine: Obviously, this has grown tremendously. What other things would you like to see come from it?


Eb Reinbergs: We’ve been around a number of years. I think that being an urban music festival is not easy. There are stigmas. Sometimes it’s hard to find sponsors. One of our themes is stop the violence, and we constantly put the message out there. I would like to bring on corporate sponsors. I would like to support these communities, and see us on the map in that direction. I also hope to see some of the other organizations in the community join us in making this bigger. There are urban magazines, urban social media platforms, and urban stores. Come in and host a night. Host an event. We can make this a bigger week. 


U.G. Digital Magazine: I love the entire idea behind it all. I’d love to see it bigger. This is so amazing. When you talk about being more inclusive, how do you get to a point where labels and organizations here in the states are involved?


Eb Reinbergs: That’s an interesting question. Let’s look at it from the perspective of festivals, say, in Atlanta. I don’t see a lot of Canadian organizations getting involved there. It’s more regional. Maybe we begin to partner, and promote each other. We only rise working together. 


U.G. Digital Magazine: Exactly. There’s a number of artists from Toronto, and Canada in general, who are doing so well here. Many are here, and doing so well, that it seems like a no-brainer. 


Eb Reinbergs: We follow a model and blueprint created there in the U.S. Those individuals who are successful are pulling up the people around them. Drake has OVO, and The Weeknd has XO. They’re adding artists from their cities. Now they’re pulling up those around them. We’re following that model, and now that we’re on the map, we can continue to have those conversations to work with others. 


U.G. Digital Magazine: That’s so dope. 


Eb Reinbergs: Another thing I would love to do is utilize technology for speakers. To fly so many people in is not possible, but to get them on a screen is easy. We can Skype people in. I can bring in U.S. influencers that way, keep our budget down, and expand their reach. We’ve putting the money into the infrastructure to be sure we have all the technology. 


U.G. Digital Magazine: Being a full week, it has to be amazing for the city. 


Eb Reinbergs: It’s our first time, but I don’t believe in the status quo. Even looking at the Warriors, they won the championship this year. They won’t be the same team next year. I always push my team to make it bigger. We can’t rest knowing we’ll do the same things this year.


U.G. Digital Magazine: How does your law firm connect with all the other pieces?


Eb Reinbergs: It’s always been a cornerstone. I practice entertainment law. I wanted my clients in the room together, and this was a great way to do it. It was always a marketing arm of my practice. It’s mainly me, although there are other lawyers, but it’s me with the entertainment aspect of things. I wanted to support something, so I created the event that I wanted to support with. I reach out to clients all the time, and say I just did that work for you and you’re happy, so this is what I want you to do. They’re happy to do so if they’re available or in town. It’s a win-win. The festival is an arm of the firm, and the firm is a cornerstone of the festival. Everything in my life seems to have this synergy that it all intertwines into one. If not, I wouldn’t be able to do it. 


U.G. Digital Magazine: Any type of last words Eb?


Eb Reinbergs: It’s just that we’re glad to share the stage with those urban music cities. There’s a big move to be a music city in North America. We’re glad to share the stage as an urban music city. We love the welcoming we are getting from other cities: Atlanta, New York, Miami, and we’re glad to be on the stage with them.