Skylar Gudasz, a singer and songwriter, shares feelings similar to Anderson's about the success of the industry in Chapel Hill.
“Anything is possible," Gudasz said in a written statement. "Chapel Hill and the greater triangle is a great place with a lot of examples of people who have made sustainable careers in the music industry — Merge Records, Mandolin Orange, Trekky Records, 9th Wonder, Redeye Worldwide, etc."
For Anderson, evidence of success at the local level is part of what encouraged him and his friends to pursue careers in the music industry.
“Hearing record labels, you know even a local label like Merge Records, kind of in our backyard, sort of showed us that this was attainable,” Anderson said.
Ultimately, the panel is there to answer the public’s questions. And while most answers are a matter of personal experience, Anderson hopes there is one thing that all people learn from the event.
“I think if there's any kind of wisdom that I can impart to younger people who are interested is that, you just have to go out there and do it,” Anderson said. “That's the way that I did it, and my friends who I kind of came up with, we figured all this out, there's no rulebook, there's no playbook.”
Billy Maupin, general manager of Yep Roc Records, comes to the panel with a different perspective.
“I think I bring to this panel the expertise of actually working at a label for more than 20 years,” Maupin said. “I think I can look at it and probably share from my experience the value in artists affiliating with a label.”
Maupin also believes that the event provides great networking opportunities for those looking to break into the industry, something he admits was valuable to him early in his own career.
“When I came into the business, the internet wasn't a thing, the people tweeting, and you know, information was scarce so you had to develop relationships with people and kind of learn as you were doing," Maupin said. “So, I think events like this help break down those barriers and certainly would have benefitted me early in my career.”
Gudasz said that success in the music industry does not always come easy.
“Being a musician as your job can be very difficult in our society, and contrary to how it is often glamorized, it can be very hard, all-encompassing work with no clock out time and no regular paycheck, which is unhealthy,” Gudasz said in a written statement.
Anderson said success was never a guarantee, and instead it was passion that drove him to pursue a career. For others, Anderson believes the same feeling applies to prospective professional musicians.
“It's not a thing that happens quickly, so I think you have to do it because you love it, and then if you're successful in that then that's kind of the cherry on top,” Anderson said.