It’s almost that time again - that time of year when every band and singer worth their salt makes that annual pilgrimage to Mecca (Austin) for the week-long SXSW festival. A week of no sleep, watered-down drinks, bad food, unrewarding performances and the heartbreak of the ultimate realization that it wasn’t really worth it. Never have so many spent so much time and money for so little notoriety and reward.
Entries in SXSW (13)
The days of Woodstock, Lilith Fair, and Lollapalooza may be behind us, but that doesn’t mean that the current generation of concertgoer has to miss out on the festival experience. From the highs of enjoying the best in modern music, with tens of thousands of like-minded souls, to the lows of enduring those same people ahead of you in line for the Porta-Potty, anyone with a ticket can enjoy some amazing festival experiences.
Author Zig Ziglar was often as saying, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”
Your music career is no different. Unless you have a target that you are reaching for, you’ll just continue down random pathways hoping to get somewhere. How will you know what successful looks like if you haven’t defined success for yourself? You need to begin by creating (or revisiting) your goals.
There’s a popular business acronym that says goals should be S.M.A.R.T., or Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. In a band, I think goals should be SMARTER, because they need to include Everyone and be Revisited often.
In some of my other articles, such as How to Book SXSW, I mention the importance of playing often. However, I need to add a disclaimer: it isn’t just about the quantity of shows plated, it’s also about the quality. While in theory, it sounds good to perform as much as possible because you can gain more exposure, the results can be quite different.
There is such a thing as playing too often, especially in the same market. Here are some of the biggest reasons why you should limit the number of shows you play:
This is the time of year where many artists many artists are starting to get their SXSW rejection letters. It’s also the time of year where you’ll see many contests on Sonicbids, ReverbNation, and other sites that try to have you have your fans vote your way into a slot at the festival. However, eager artists who want to break into the music industry will begin finding other ways to a part of the action and that includes unofficial SXSW showcases or other festivals taking place in Austin at the same time. Before you jump at any of these opportunities, you better educate yourself.
It’s January so that means artists are clamoring to get their applications in for CMJ Music Marathon, a large industry festival based in New York City, NY. I’ve written about booking and playing music festivals such as SXSW in the past before and many of same ideas hold true here. These are the top 3 things you need to know about booking CMJ:
I’ve written many things about booking, such as a step-by-step guide on booking a tour and a few things on getting into SXSW, but what happens if you don’t have a massive history of touring the country? What if this is a new band and this is your first gig? How do you get started?
Here are some tips on booking your band’s first show:
A while I ago, I wrote an article called “How to Book SXSW and Is It Worth It?”
Now that the application window for SXSW is open again, I think it’s time to revisit some of these concepts. First of all, if you read the previous article, you’ll know that I spend a lot of time discussing the appropriateness of your act applying for the festival. The committee that reviews applications looks at multiple factors to see if you are at an industry level worthy of the event. If not, you’ll be rejected fairly early in the process. If you are ready though, here’s what you can do to prepare:
How To Make Your SXSW Sticky! Advice From The Indie Max 100 Experts on How To Keep Your Conference Alive
So you FINALLY went to SXSW, and now after days of music, food, panels and networking (*phew*), you’re back home. So what can you do now to maximize your time spent in Austin? Here are a few pieces of advice. Plus a few photos I took at SXSW 2010 - Full album on Facebook
AFTER YOU GET HOME
Create Your Own Lasting Media
So, no blog covered your performance? No photographer snapped your photo for Rolling Stone? That’s OK! Make your own media around your experience at SXSW. Write up a blog about what you did, and who you met, and post it on your MySpace, Facbook and Last.fm. Snap photos and post them on Facebook and Flickr with tags, or record some videos for your YouTube Channel! Let your experience live online for years to come!
- Ariel Hyatt
The Indie Maximum 100 Goes To Texas ...Industry Experts & Musicians Dish Out Their Best SXSW Tips - Part 2: While You Are There
Now that you know what to do to prepare before you get on the road, you need to know what to do while you’re there! Here’s what the indie Maximum 100 experts have to say:
WHILE YOU ARE THERE
Go With The Flow
Don’t bother jotting down the bands you want to see because chances are, you will not make it to most of them. You’ll be on your way to see the band you “must see,” and you will absolutely run into someone you know on the street, then one thing leads to another, and you missed the show.
As a follow up to last week’s The SXSW Survival Guide, I’ve decided to take some of the best tips from some of the experts of today’s music industry and provide them for you here! I took the time to talk to some of the contributors from our 2009 Indie Maximum Exposure list to see what they had to say.
Over the next several days, I will be posting all-new tips that you can use to maximize your South by Southwest experience.
At last count, if I’m correct, I’ve attended the SXSW Conference at least seventeen times, and on many of those visits I have been very grateful for the opportunity to speak on a panel. When Brian Zisk, a co-founder of the SanFran MusicTech conference, invited me to speak again on a panel in December, and also to join him on his panel at this year’s SXSW, I gave pause.
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(Updated January 13, 2016)