ASCAP Expo overrun

Quincy Jones' session among overcrowded panels

The music biz may be hard-hit, but you couldn’t tell from the record crowds of industry aspirants overrunning ASCAP Expo Thursday-Saturday at the Hollywood Renaissance.

In its fifth year, the performance rights org’s conference drew nearly 2,700 registrants. (The total includes panelists, press and staff, according to an ASCAP spokeswoman.)

Number represents a 15% increase over 2009, and a 40% increase over the confab’s debut session in 2006.

Event, known as the I Create Music conference, drew a primarily entry-level audience to three days of nuts-and-bolts panels focusing primarily on songwriting and production.

Confab attracted more than 70 sponsoring bodies ranging from equipment manufact- urers to software producers.

Attendance visibly taxed the Renaissance’s resources. Hallways were perpetually jammed; small meeting rooms filled to capacity before panel sessions began, with the overflow forced to monitor closed-circuit TV s.

Size of this year’s conference was evident at Thursday’s opening plenary session, an SRO panel in the hotel’s grand ballroom featuring big-name songwriters Jason Mraz (author of ASCAP’s song of the year, the long-running hit “I’m Yours”), C. “Tricky” Stewart, Brian Tyler, Phil Vassar and ASCAP prez and chair of the board Paul Williams. Quincy Jones’ session, conducted by rapper-actor Ludacris, and a joint interview with Justin Timberlake and Bill Withers also attracted throngs.

Befitting the Hollywood locale, TV and film were focal points of well-attended panels. Variety executive editor Steven Gaydos hosted movie scorers Klaus Badelt (“Gladiator”), Ramin Djawadi (“Iron Man”) and Deborah Lurie (“Nine”) on Friday.

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