Mar 16


En Route to SXSW

Author: brendan

I’m sitting at the airport gate right now waiting for my flight out to LAX, then I’m on my way to Austin for SXSW.  Luckily there is wireless at my gate so I can go through the massive list of panels, shows, talks, keynotes, and booths at the festival to decide where I want to go and who I want to meet.  I already have a couple plans to meet up with some cool like-minded companies as Oniracom (like TopSpin and CultureJam), see some of our clients play (Rogue Wave, The Middle East, The Northern Crowns, Christa Borden), and meet up with some companies we already have the pleasure to work with (Justin.TV, TAO, and Luck Media).  It’s going to be a busy 4 days to say the least, but I’m excited to take it all in.

Here are the panels I’m most excited about:

1) Your Fans Are Your Livelihood
How can artists and labels use new technologies and services to sell directly to consumers, retain more of the sale price and build relationships with fans? Services are emerging which offer the framework to go direct. Learn what the new intermediaries can and can’t do for you and your fans.

This one caught my interest immediately because it is moderated by Glenn Peoples (Senior Editorial Analyst at Billboard).  I’ve been following Glenn’s writing on the state of the music industry since before I started working in the industry.  There are a ton of people who write about the music industry, but this guy is the top of the top.  Highly recommended.  I really look forward to meeting him.

2) The Future of Online Music Videos
Music videos are a critical extension of a record label’s brand. Until recently, labels have found it difficult to mitigate online video piracy without alienating the user communities built around music. Now, labels are embracing sophisticated online video technology to do just that, while also introducing new revenue opportunities.

I feel like this is something we are all trying to figure out.  I have had more than one client ask me what to do with their new music video.  Frequent questions include: Is VEVO actually working?  Should I just release it on YouTube as a promotional tool?  Should I only upload to one site? Where should I premiere it?  Hopefully this panel will give some insight on how to gauge and measure success with your strategy.

3) The Cultural Significance of Direct-to-Fan Marketing
For years, major label artists have been pressured into creating “hits” to satisfy unit sales and revenue objectives. With the emergence of direct-to-fan marketing, artists can now break from adhering to the hit-driven model. What will be the significance of such a change?

I’m excited to hear something new about direct-to-fan marketing: the cultural significance.  In all these panels, I’m trying to avoid “introduction panels” that would spend an hour introducing me to something I already know.  Will be cool to see what Ian Rogers (CEO, Topspin Media) has to say.

4) Building a High Value Fan List
Most artists collect email addresses at shows without realizing their true value. Learn specific strategies you can utilize to turn your generic email list into gold.

If there is one thing that will not ever change in the music industry, it’s the fact that you need super fans.  Mailing lists are not being utilized to full potential to collect the information for your super fans, and it’s something I have been focusing on with out clients at Oniracom.  Will be interesting to hear what I may not have learned yet.

5) Artists: Getting a Digital Ass-Kicking?
Is the web dominating you, or are you dominating the web? Be the master of your domain! All artists must face the daunting task of determining where, when and how to make their home on the web. As the various number of tech tools and social networks increases, so does the level of complexity in making this important decision. Learn the do’s and don’ts of the digital arena as an artist, as well as the top 10 practices you can adopt to build, manage, and accelerate your digital presence.

Crossing my fingers this isn’t an introduction that is going to explain Twitter to me (ugh).  If it’s not, this panel will be a great discussion.  And if it is? Maybe there are some artist managers looking for some new web guys in there. smile

If you’re out at SXSW, shoot me an @reply on Twitter.  We are @oniracom.  Or you can always email me: brendan at  I’d love to meet up and say hi!