CMJ Artist Announcement Party Recap

By Alex Horowitz

Last night a packed house at New York’s famed Mercury Lounge was treated to not only stellar performances by Tanlines and Sinkane (and, of course, an open bar) but, more importantly, to the official artist line-up announcement for a New York City tradition that began back in 1980: the CMJ Music Marathon.

Last night’s festivities also included, in addition to the live sets, the unveiling of the official CMJ 2012 T-Shirt, featuring a design commissioned by designer and Les Savy Fav frontman Tim Harrington.

Also of note to music tech nerds like us was the manner in which the above lineup was disseminated to the attendees of last night’s soiree — almost lost in the shuffle of gigantic sweatshirts and other Champion Athletics swag was a small USB stick in every swag bag, pre-loaded with everything you need to know (so far) about CMJ 2012.  The USB stick, in addition to being a practical as well as tech-savvy choice, served to reinforce the subtle but persistent theme that CMJ 2012 is not your dad’s CMJ, as the festival continues to evolve to include not only more digital awareness, but all manner of modern musicians as well.

Perhaps behind the scenes the eclectic musical choices were less of a casual evolution for CMJ and more of a strategy, as the press release contained in my brand new USB stick makes it very clear that CMJ made a conscious decision to continue to broaden their musical range in 2012.  According to their press release, the “2012 festival includes CMJ’s most wide-reaching line-up to date, drawing on acts from a broad spectrum of countries, backgrounds, and genres.”

As far as strategies go, one would think it’s a pretty smart move, as radio stations all across the country struggle to keep up with people’s ever widening range of musical preferences as music of all kinds becomes increasingly ubiquitous.

With even more acts to be announced in due time, the official artist line-up (so far) for CMJ 2012 consists of:

The Presets, The Walkmen, Mountain Goats, Kimbra, GZA, OFF!, King Tuff, Killer Mike, Com Truise, DIIV, Pig Destroyer, The Jezabels, Electric Guest, Poolside, Daughn Gibson, Robert DeLong, Icona Pop, Emma Louise, Mac DeMarco, Prince Rama, Young Magic, MS MR, Sundress, The Soul Rebels, Twerps

See the full line-up at

So what do you think of the CMJ lineup so far?  An eclectic mix, or a mess?  Any deserving acts left off the lineup so far?  Sound off in the comments, and be sure to check out for the most up-to-date CMJ info.