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SXSW - Long On Experience, Short On Years

My name is David Jacobs and I consider myself somewhat of a veteran of SXSW. As a matter of fact, people tell me often they remember me there15 years ago, but these memories are quite hazy to me. Was I drunk? No. Actually, I was 8 years old. Now, at 23 years old, I find myself as the youngest person to ever appear as a panelist at SXSW.

I was born into the music industry, and have attended SXSW every year for the last 15 years. My father worked in the business and SXSW became a common family vacation. My earliest memories of SXSW are (what I now have been told to be) of epic parties my Dad threw at the Driskill Hotel, loud shows at Stubbs and bars that I was way too young to be in, playing cards and kick the can with drunken bands backstage, and perusing the swag bags for free toys.

By the time I was 15 years old, the music industry had been well established as a huge part of my life and SXSW certainly played a huge part in making that happen. So, I began interning at various places in the music business. Record labels, management companies, radio stations and everything in between. Then college came and SXSW appeared back in my life in full force and cemented where my life has led me thus far.

During my 4 years at USC studying Business, I spent each Spring Break at SXSW (SXSW was kind enough to schedule the festival during the week I had off). I worked on the panel’s crew those 4 years and got to work hands on with industry professionals and musicians as well as sit in on various panels and soak up all the information that was being presented. From learning how to get your artists work visas in foreign countries to how Miles Davis recorded Kinda Blue, SXSW exposed me to it all.

After 4 years of college and SXSW conditioning, came the question that faces every college graduate: what the fuck do I do now? I weighed my options and decided that I never want to live in a suit and tie, my Motorhead shirt and long hair suit me just fine, so off to the music business I went! Using the knowledge that I had gained over my tenure at SXSW as well as the contacts I had developed, I set out on a slew of meetings to figure out where I wanted to work in the music biz. Because of my knowledge gained at SXSW, I knew to stay away from the major record label structure.

I found myself searching for companies with a progressive business model and discovered Rocket Science, a ‘premiere label services engine’. Their combination of major label structure with an a la carte services menu was too enticing for me to overlook. I’m happy to say that after 8 months I’m still a member of team Rocket Science, running marketing campaigns for artists like Chrissie Hynde, Filter, Ace Frehley, and Liz Phair!

Next week, SXSW returns once again in my life, but this time I won’t be working with the great people on the panels crew, I am going to be a panelist. It’s an incredible honor to be the youngest panelist SXSW has ever had, to represent Rocket Science, and to be a part of what I consider to be the greatest convention and festival this industry has to offer. See ya in Austin!!!!!!

David Jacobs of My Rocket Science


Reader Comments (1)

Good to know the benefits of starting so young! I started music when I was about your age, too, and now I'm trying to figure things out for myself in a business model sense. Maybe I just need to collaborate with someone like you, hehe.

BTW, the record is called Kind OF Blue. ;)

March 26 | Unregistered CommenterKenny Jaworski

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