Things changed here in April 2019. TGTF will be further evolving in 2020. Stay tuned!

SXSW 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Live at Leeds 2016 | 2015 | 2014
Sound City 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Great Escape 2018 | 2015 | 2013 | 2012

Don't forget to like There Goes the Fear on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Output Belfast 2020: Music Conference Roundup

 
By on Wednesday, 19th February 2020 at 11:00 am
 

For years, I had truly meant to visit Northern Ireland and specifically for Output Belfast. But it never quite worked out previously. Part of it had to do with the amount of previewing I would be doing here at TGTF for SXSW a month later, whether I was doing the work alone or with a team of TGTF writers. It somehow felt irresponsible to take a trip across the pond to attend this right before the global event of the year in Austin. And since I’m bandying around the word ‘irresponsible’ in this article, then there probably should be a mention here about the fact that I have thrown all caution to the wind to pursue a longtime dream of mine, and I feel like I had good fortune that Output Belfast would be the first event I covered as I take a giant step forward towards that dream.

Belfast, as some of my longtime friends from the city ‘warned’ me, is not a large city. For a girl of the suburbs, this is perfectly fine, and to be honest, the location made my first time attending Output a breeze and a pleasure. It is certainly a music town, with a series of interesting music shops, big and small. To have the opportunity to see both Tim Wheeler of Ash and local artist Arborist performing in two of them on the same Saturday afternoon is pretty neat. And even though the capital of Northern Ireland might be considered small by its own denizens, Output Belfast is a well-attended conference. So well attended that I was thwarted in getting into the opening keynotes sessions that began the proceedings on Thursday because it was already full up when I arrived. After consuming a consoling gluten-free flapjack from the MAC coffee bar, I settled into “A Biased History of Music in Advertising”, a talk by Josh Rabinowitz of Brooklyn Music Experience.

As we think about the ubiquity of advertising and syncs in today’s world, it’s easy to forget that around 35 to 40 years ago, sampling of music for the purpose of mass market advertising was just not a thing. From British Airways using a Beastie Boys’ clip without permission to the Beatles’ Apple Records siccing their lawyers on Nike for using ‘Revolution’ to sell fancy trainers, there was a time when music use and advertising did not go hand in hand and to the artist’s benefit. It should also be noted that sync placement has led to awareness of and increased popularity for an artist, probably best exemplified by Australian rockers Jet and their song ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’, used to great effect in an Apple iPod commercial that I can still hear playing in my head. Rabinowitz says there’s a reason why so many artists want in on an Apple music promotion, and it’s because Apple do a great job in highlighting the right kind of music that fits into their campaigns.

In next session “Music PR in the 24-Hour News Cycle”, we learned from several PRs about what it takes to keep artists ‘in’ within a crowded business that, like New York City, never really sleeps. I think one of the most interesting takeaways was from Bee Adamic of Liberty PR, who do press for Northern Irish artists ROE and Beauty Sleep. Adamic said that it was important to her and her colleagues that they truly understood an artist they represented and the image that they wanted to put out to the world. In an industry where image is king, I can see where trying to play up a certain image to target a particular demographic can lead to the detriment of the artist’s work, and where the artist may lose him/herself in a chase for what may be the Holy Grail of images to some Prs and management. If we talk about younger artists and emerging talent, they are the most vulnerable (if you will) and malleable to image pressure.

In contrast, the “PRS Foundation Presents: Funding Opportunities in Northern Ireland in 2020” session was interesting in that it had representatives from PPL (Davy Wales) and Arts Council NI (Jo Wright) talking about their roles in helping local artists secure much needed funding and why such funding is so important. Maybe I should stop being so surprised, but after years of attending various events like this, it is still gobsmacking to me that there’s quite a few bands who aren’t aware they are eligible to apply for grants to get them where they need to go. This is not to say that grants are for everyone: you must prove to the funders that you are at a certain level of your career and that you’ve thought through how you would use the funding if awarded it. But half the battle appears to understanding what is available and how to go about requesting help.

TGTF is familiar with artist manager Declan Legge, as he manages Jealous of the Birds (Naomi Hamilton), and I’ve watched Naomi and her band move from strength to strength over the years, playing some of their best shows ever at SXSW 2019. Legge made several very useful comments to the artist-heavy crowd, including truly considering what level of funding you actually need at your current level instead of asking for the moon and the stars.

For a brief time early on at my tenure at TGTF, I tried my hand at song syncing, submitting my pitches to briefs that came my way. It isn’t easy to get a song placement and there are many reasons, including the sheer volume of responses to a brief, finicky and fickle clients and the ability of clear a track for use. So when I heard there would be a live demonstration of how successful sync professionals in the music business work at Output Belfast, I definitely wanted to be there.

What ensued over the hour was five of these folks, cans on ears, working furiously through wifi to come up with an appropriate track for an Orange Theory fitness club advert. The five people had different career backgrounds, and when we listened to their selections against the visual backdrop of the fitness club brief, it was just amazing to see how each of the selections worked and in their own way. It just goes to show that there are different approaches to placement: there is no set formula or ‘right way’ that works every time, which means us the listeners will continue to be surprised as new music and new adverts pop up.

The final conference session of Output Belfast occurred on Friday morning. Entitled the “Deezer Optimisation Session” with Adam Read of the streaming service, I learned quite a lot on what Deezer can do for artists. Perhaps because it was the first time I’ve really had someone explain to me how these services can help break an artist, but I was really impressed, especially with the stone-cold examples of how Deezer’s commitment in 2018 to leverage Lewis Capaldi and Sam Fender have led to their mega success in the UK and beyond. As an American, I am much more familiar with Spotify, though I may dip my toes into the Deezer pond and see if I may want to switch allegiances.

As is the case whenever industry professionals attend events like this, you never get to see everything and talk to everyone you want to. It was oft repeated by many who attended this year’s event that it could easily go into a second day next year to decrease the clashes and increase the knowledge sharing. Time will tell if Output will indeed expand. In any event, it was a job well done to the organisers, panelists and moderators, and sponsors, and Output Belfast proved definitely to be a worthy event to attend for artists, management or really anyone in the UK or Europe interested in learning some major keys into how to roll with the punches in this ever-evolving industry.

 

Preview: Output Belfast 2020 – The Conference

 
By on Monday, 20th January 2020 at 11:00 am
 

Last week, the full daytime schedule for the highly anticipated 2020 edition of Output Belfast was released. Taking place on the eve of Valentine’s Day, the daytime schedule for this annual event held in the capital of Northern Ireland is chock full of interesting speakers and useful sessions not just for those living in Northern Ireland, but for anyone involved in the music industry. I was kindly invited to this year’s proceedings, so I have come out of ‘retirement’ and am pleased to provide you the following outline on what I plan to sit in on while in attendance there.

The programming is bookended with two fantastic keynotes. The day will begin at 10 AM with The Music Industry in 2020 – Tracks, Trends, Opportunities, a three-person panel starring Paul Pacifico, Chief Executive of the Association of Independent Music (AIM); Beverley Whitrick, Strategic Director, Music Venues Trust; and Tom Kiehl, Acting Chief Executive of UK Music. Hang around for the whole day, because from 4 to 5 PM, things finish up with Blurred Lines – When Two Tunes Collide – Who Are You Going to Call?, the closing keynote led by musicologist Peter Oxendale and focussing on the big issue of music copyright infringement, plagiarism and litigation, which has become the one of the biggest elephants in the room in our industry since the dawn of the Internet.

The above paragraph should have convinced you that it’s worth it to stay at the MAC all day for Output. But what will you be doing in the intervening hours? In the 11.30 AM slot, you can learn about the key developments of music usage in the last 2 decades from former Director of Music at advertising firm Grey Josh Rabinowitz. This session, entitled A Biased History of Music in Advertising, will be hosted by Output Belfast’s own Mark Gordon. In the Irish Music Rights Association (IMRO) presentation How to Write a Hit moderated by Mary-Kate “May Kay” Geraghty (ex-Fight Like Apes), we’ll hear from Philip Magee, producer for two bands we love here at TGTF, Kodaline and The Script, and Ross Gautreau, A&R Director of Karma Artists. For some local flavour, attend Branded – Creating And So I Watch You From Afar’s Branding, which will see Rory Friers from the enduring Belfast instrumentalists and graphic designer Tim Farrell chat with Thomas Camblin of Rally. We will no doubt learn about that famous triangle that has become an important part of the band’s identity.

In the 12.40 PM ‘brown bag’ slot, two of the sessions focus squarely on the big bad “B” word of the music industry. Yes, folks, I mean business, and we’ve all heard the horror stories. In Music Industry Contract Essentials – Copyright and Monetising Your IP, lawyers Jonathan Tait (BTO Solicitors) and Pete Bott (Sound Advice Solicitors) will discuss contracts, copyright and music law with Score Draw Music’s Mary Johnston. While the the EU economic situation continues to be a tricky one with the uncertainty of the UK’s Brexit, there is some good news. The Creative Europe-presented Music Moves Europe – Accessing Funding will touch on the funding available to Northern Irish organisations and venues through the EU’s programme to support the cultural, creative and audiovisual sectors. This session will feature Rosie Le Garsmeur of Creative Europe Desk UK, Jess Partridge of In Stereo Group and Keychange and Paul Pacifico (AIM). NB: In the following time slot, there will be the similar but artist-directed Funding Opportunities in Northern Ireland in 2020, presented by PRS Foundation.

There’s more interesting sessions to be had post-lunch at Output Belfast. I had considered several times to start my own record label at TGTF, and the tips to come from The Joy of Running an Independent Label – How to Set Up and Grow Your Own would have come in handy. Rubyworks’ Ceri Dixon, Scruff of the Neck’s Mark Lippmann, and Pizza Pizza Records’ Joey Edwards will be sharing their own experiences in the trenches. And in a session I had never thought I’d see a music conference, there is a religion-themed talk in the form of Praise You – How Worship Music is Hitting the Mainstream. I was not aware that religious music had hit the mainstream, but Doug Ross of Stabal Music and singer/songwriters Lucy Grimble and Steph Macleod (singer/songwriter) will be convincing moderator Paul McNeilly of Fuel Events of this.

In the penultimate slot at 2.45 PM will be the How Did You Manage That? live podcast with Trevor Dietz, manager of Fontaines DC, introduced by Jane Stynes of Music Managers Forum and with moderators Ally McCrae of the BBC and Sophie Paluch of Pouch Music. As one of the most exciting exports from the island of Ireland in the last 12 months, I’m expecting this session to be filled to the gills. If you can’t get in, equally interesting and more likely helpful to an artist’s bottom line is the session entitled Anatomy of an Advertising Placement, where John McCallion (Music Supervisor at Warners Dublin), Dina Coughlan (Planet of Sound), Phil Jones (Park The Van Records and Manager of The Magic Numbers and Yeasayer), Francesca O’Connor (Champion Sound and Quiet Arch), and Mark Gordon (Score Draw Music and Output Belfast) will be put to the test live, given a brief for which they must place a track to the brief by the end of the session. In my early years as a music editor and journo, I tried my hand at some briefs like this. This sounds much easier than it really is. The session will be moderation by Josh Rabinowitz.

Sign up for this year’s edition of Output Belfast, the 13th of February, at the official website. There, you will also find the entire conference schedule. This daytime event will take place at the MAC, 10 Exchange Street, West, and the Oh Yeah Music Centre, 15-21 Gordon Street, Belfast. Information on the free music showcases are set to follow.

 

SXSW 2018: Wrapping up with a final conference session and Saturday evening showcases – 17th March 2018

 
By on Thursday, 3rd May 2018 at 2:00 pm
 

Editor Mary and I started our final day at SXSW 2018 with a leisurely brunch, but we both had a full schedule of options for Saturday afternoon and evening. (You can read Mary’s Saturday recaps here and here.) I decided in the moment to play the day by ear, and my rather uncharacteristic spontaneity paid off in the form of several new-to-me acts, which I very much enjoyed.

Metzer internal

Before I set out to hear any live music, I did attend one last conference session at the Austin Convention Center. As a connoisseur of the singer/songwriter genre, I couldn’t pass up University of British Columbia musicologist David Metzer‘s discussion titled ‘Ballads: A History of Emotions in Popular Culture’. Here, Metzer explored the ballad’s changing role in popular music from the 1950s to the present, highlighting listeners’ growing desire “to experience feelings in bigger and bolder ways” and performers’ stylistic tendency to emote in increasingly virtuosic fashion. The presentation was necessarily brief, and Metzer used a simple but effective comparison between Whitney Houston’s iconic performance of ‘I Will Always Love You’ and Dolly Parton’s original version to make his point. True music nerds like myself can find a more expanded discussion in Metzer’s book, ‘The Ballad in American Popular Music: From Elvis to Beyoncé’, which I promptly ordered when I returned home from Austin the next day.

Harry Pane internal

After a quick walk around the Trade Expo and a celebratory green cocktail for St. Patrick’s Day, Mary and I both had time to check out SXSW’s Second Play Stages, which feature official Showcasing Artists playing acoustic “happy hour” shows in the lounges of downtown Austin hotels. These shows are casual and quite intimate, with small crowds gathered in close and passersby stopping to listen at the fringes. I chose the Hilton’s Cannon & Bell lounge, where English singer/songwriter Harry Pane was playing his final set of the week. Pane was both relaxed and engaging on the small stage, and his songs were candidly emotional in this stripped back setting. His performance of ‘Fletcher Bay’, written after a trip to New Zealand with his late father, was particularly moving. You can have a listen to a similar live performance courtesy of London Live Sessions just below.

After a quick post-show interview with Pane (which will publish on TGTF in the coming days), I headed to Barracuda, whose two stages were hosting the combined Artist Group International and Xtra Mile Recordings showcase. While there would undoubtedly be a larger crowd later in the evening, when British folk-punk artists Skinny Lister and Frank Turner were slated to play the outdoor stage, the mood was mellow in both venues when I arrived for the beginning of the night’s set list.

Many Rooms internal

First on the outdoor stage was Houston singer/songwriter Brianna Hunt, performing under the moniker Many Rooms. The audience was thin at this point in the evening, and Hunt’s muted demeanor on stage didn’t attract the punters’ attention straightaway, but as her set continued, the fragile beauty of her songs gradually drew focus to the stage. Many Rooms’ debut album ‘There is a Presence Here’ is available now on Other People Records; you can listen to album track ‘which is to say, everything’ just through here.

Non Canon internal

Between sets on the outdoor stage, I peeked inside to catch a couple of songs from Allman Brown, who had caught my attention earlier in the week, while I waited to hear English folk singer Non Canon. Non Canon is the mildly pretentious stage name of singer/songwriter Barry Dolan, who describes the term as “anything [that] exists apart from the story we know and love”. His music is true to that description, pairing obscure literary allusions with pop culture references in an odd, but ultimately thought-provoking way. Though his set here was stripped back to voice and guitar, his recordings feature a fuller array of instrumental sounds and unusual harmonic variations, as evidenced in ‘Splinter of the Mind’s Eye’.

The remainder of the Barracuda lineup included The RPMs (who Mary saw the previous afternoon) and Will Varley, as well as the aforementioned Skinny Lister and Frank Turner. As I had seen the latter three recently (Varley and Skinny Lister in February at Phoenix’s Valley Bar, and Turner on Thursday evening), I decided to head to the Parish, which was hosting British indie label Bella Union.

Field Division internal

As we’ve mentioned in the past, Bella Union is a sure bet for high quality songwriting and musicianship, but also for music that is a bit off-the-beaten-path. Their Saturday night showcase at the Parish was no different. I missed indie pop songwriter Ari Roar, but arrived in time to catch American folk duo Field Division. On the surface, this pair, comprised of Evelyn Taylor and Nicholas Frampton, is yet another in a long string of Laurel Canyon-influenced artists, but on closer listening, their powerful lyrics and sharp instrumental arrangements create a deeper and more tangible sonic presence. Keep an eye out for their debut LP ‘Dark Matter Dreams’, which is due for release on the 22nd of June and features the propulsive motion of ‘River in Reverse’.

Hilang Child internal

More subdued but nonetheless hypnotic, electronic dream pop artist Hilang Child (aka Ed Riman) took the stage next and dazzled the growing audience with his effortless vocals and deftly textured instrumental layers. His carefully crafted soundscapes are replete with splendid dynamic and harmonic colour, which fill in and expand beautifully upon his delicately poetic lyrics. Hilang Child’s standout track ‘Growing Things’ will feature on his upcoming debut LP, which is due out later this year.

Tiny Ruins

New Zealand folk band Tiny Ruins has evolved from the solo work of frontwoman Hollie Fullbrook into a full four-piece ensemble, though they were represented in Austin by only two of their number, Fullbrook and bassist Cass Basil. Their thoughtful folk songs were mesmerising with just the pair of them, but they added another dimension of rhythmic interest when drummer Jim White joined them on stage midway through their set. Tiny Ruins’ third album is due out on Bella Union later this year; in the meantime, take a listen to the subtle yet exquisite ‘Me at the Museum, You in the Wintergardens’, courtesy of Flying Nun Records.

Xylouris White internal

Jim White took only a brief hiatus from the stage after Tiny Ruins’ set before returning for his main show as part of avante garde folk-rock duo Xylouris White. Xylouris White finds the virtuosic Australian drummer joining forces with equally skilled Cretan lute player and singer George Xylouris to create a musical experience that is best described as “intense”. Any words I write here will undoubtedly fail to convey the awesome power of their live performance. The unlikely but fluidly-synchronised pair released their third LP ‘Mother’ back in January, and it’s not to be missed for anyone excited by the idea of dynamic jazz-rock-folk fusion.

Ezra Furman internal

The final act on the Bella Union bill, and the final act for me at SXSW 2018 was Ezra Furman, whom I’d seen on Thursday at the Luck Reunion. The late night atmosphere of the Parish on Saturday night was an entirely different context for Furman and his band The Visions, and the dark drama of songs like ‘Suck the Blood from My Wound’ took on a new level of depth and potency in this set. Here, Furman combined his intellectual, heavily metaphorical lyricism with a visceral musicality to create a full gestalt that was somehow greater than the simple sum of its parts. In this regard, he fits in nicely with his Bella Union colleagues, who all made a positive impression on this showcase, and who made my last night in Austin a uniquely memorable one.

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2018: this year’s conference programming in the Music Industry track

 
By on Wednesday, 21st February 2018 at 11:00 am
 

Header photo of Shakey Graves by Greg Giannukos

SXSW Music Conference programming under the umbrella of the Music Industry track is intended to guide artists and other industry professionals through the promises and potential pitfalls of everyday business in the music world. This year’s Music Industry programming includes panel sessions on a variety of current trends and topics of interest, as well as touching base with the basics.

Music Industry Culture
Carrying on from programming at SXSW 2016 and SXSW 2017, this year’s music conference continues its meta-examination of music industry culture, starting with a question that digs down to the very root of the investigation. On Wednesday the 14th of March, a panel session titled ‘Is Culture Change in the Music Industry Possible?’ will consider “whether it is possible for such a complex, fragmented [industry] to develop a common culture, what an ideal music industry culture might look like, and most importantly, how we actually get there.”

A continued emphasis on feminism in the music industry manifests in several conference sessions, including ‘Women in Music: Break the Ceiling + Bridge the Gap’ on the 14th of March and ‘Sexual Misconduct in the Music Industry’ the following day. The former panel promises to “explore the challenges women face in negotiating and share tactics to become a better negotiator” as well as assessing “the current status of the gender and wage gaps and the impact these barriers have had on women in our industry.” The latter panel will specifically address sexual misconduct, with focus on “the pervasiveness of sexual misconduct and how this aggression affects the psyche of women working in music in regards to performance, promotions, equal pay and influence.”

Music Curation and Experience
‘Barriers to Innovation for New Music Experiences’ will begin the week on the 13th of March with a panel set to examine “current hurdles and roadblocks that face those building a new generation of music services and experiences”. In the spirit of an evolving music experience, a historical session titled ‘Curation, Collaboration & Community’ on the 14th of March “will outline the journey of Tileyard Studios and the revolutionary transformation of a dilapidated area of London to one of the most exciting music creators’ hubs in the world.”

Conference programming also reflects a continued interest in the ways modern listeners prefer to consume music, with topics ranging from terrestrial radio to digital playlist collaboration on the table for discussion. On one end of that spectrum, ‘Measuring What Matters in a Playlist-First World’ on the 14th of March will dive into the data on digital playlists with discussion about “how to understand and measure them” as well as what those measurements might reveal about “music consumption, marketing, and music creation”. At the other extreme, a session on the 16th of March called ‘Is This the Golden Age of Alternative Radio?’ finds that medium inexplicably “on the rise” and will examine how best to take advantage of its current popularity.

On the related topic of music curation and discovery, Pitchfork founder and editor-in-chief Ryan Schreiber will lead a panel on the 15th of March titled ‘Why Music Journalism Matters in the Streaming Era’, with discussion on “navigating new challenges, providing crucial context, and how to evolve as [music streaming] services threaten to push into the realm of content creation.” The following afternoon, ‘Stop the Scroll: Creative Strategy in Social Media’ will help online curators “learn how to make a creatively driven social strategy . . . [and] deliver campaigns that keep fans coming back for more.”

Artist Issues
Professional issues facing artists in the current music business atmosphere are, as always, at the center of this year’s Music Industry track. Early in the week on the 14th of March, ‘Beyond the Band: Shakey Graves’ will take a look at the “many different elements that comprise a successful career as a musician” in the context of Do617’s Beyond the Band partnership with Berklee College of Music and LATW Group. The featured artist on the panel is Shakey Graves’ Alejandro Rose-Garcia, pictured at top.

In the same vein of cooperation and collaboration, ‘The Band is With Me: The Art of Team Building’ on the 16th of March will talk about how to assemble a strong team of professionals behind a career artist, in the areas of “artist service platforms, PR, development/management, and marketing/touring.” More specifically, ‘What Does an Artist Manager Do and How to Get One’ on the 17th of March will find artist managers sharing “practical, concrete steps every artist can take to go about obtaining management” and ways for “up and coming managers . . . to help grow their clients’ careers exponentially.”

Financial issues are always at the forefront of an artists’ career, and there are many scheduled conference sessions surrounding the delicate topic of money. On the 15th of March ‘New Ways to Finance a Music Career’ will discuss artists’ “options [and] tools to self-finance their career outside of the traditional label/publisher system.” On the 16th of March, ‘We Will Rock You: Make a Big Noise with the Brands’ promises helpful tips on “how you can win that brand and help the brand tell a story [that will] come alive with your music.” In the same time slot, ‘Paid in Full: Fixing Music Rights for Artists’ covers the difficulties of “connecting billions of global streams to the right parties” and “how smart minds are working to find solutions.”

Mentor Sessions
A large number of Mentor Sessions with music industry professionals are listed under the Music Industry track. These sessions require RSVP, and access will only be available to badge types listed as having Primary Access. Featured mentors include record label executives, public relations professionals, artist development managers, marketing specialists and attorneys.

As with all of the SXSW 2018 events we cover here at TGTF, music conference programming is subject to change. We suggest you consult the official SXSW 2018 schedule for the latest additions and editions.

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017: this year’s conference programming on Activism and the Arts

 
By on Friday, 10th March 2017 at 2:00 pm
 

If you follow any of your favourite musicians on Twitter or Facebook, you might have seen them post to social media about causes that are near and dear to their hearts. Many artists, like recent SXSW alumnae Natalie Prass and Lissie, go a step further and elect to donate proceeds from their work to charitable causes, contributing to both fundraising and awareness. Conference programming at SXSW 2017 has taken notice of this kind of artist activism, recruiting an eclectic variety of speakers and panelists to highlight the trend.

For a bit of background, the SXSW 2017 Music Conference and Festival officially begins on Monday the 13th of March but the Interactive and Film portions of SXSW start ahead of the weekend on Friday the 10th. The intersection among the three conferences, where participants from all three disciplines come together, is known as Convergence. One of the seven Convergence tracks at this year’s SXSW is titled Social Impact, and its conference sessions are intended to “highlight innovative ideas from the creative industries that are contributing to a better, more equitable world.”

Cecile Richards press photo

On Friday the 10th of March, Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Cecile Richards and Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp will start the Social Impact proceedings what will likely be a heavily attended conference session called ‘Activism, Allyship and Where We Go from Here’. Another popular choice will likely be ‘The Celebrity (Activist) Industrial Complex’ on the 13th of March, in which panelists Anne Helen Peterson of BuzzFeed, Elisa Kreisinger of Refinery 29 and Glen Weldon of NPR will tackle the question: “Do celebrities have a responsibility to use their power and privilege for good?”

Two sessions more specific to music activism will happen on Wednesday the 15th of March. ‘Creating For a Cause: Music for Action & Awareness’ will “discuss currencies and methods of giving to communities, organisations and nonprofits”, as well as building philanthropic partnerships and creating cause awareness. In a session on the ‘Healing Power of Music’, Chris Funk of The Decemberists will join a panel which focuses on delivering music therapy alongside medical services to hospitals and vulnerable patient populations.

Chris Funk press photo

Under the auspices of the Music Conference proper, sessions in both the Music Industry and Music Influencers tracks take aim at artist activism. In the aptly-titled Talk 20 session ‘Artivism’ on the 17th of March, artist, educator and activist Malcolm London will engage audiences by sharing original poetry and discussing his work with community arts organisations and social movements. Management teams for Usher and Panic! At the Disco will appear on the panel ‘Cause Marketing for Musicians in 2017’, scheduled for the 16th of March, where they “will share how entertainers are building measurable support for amazing charities while growing their brand affinity.” Extravagant Records founder Weldon Angelos, joined by rapper Snoop Dogg and attorneys Vikrant Reddy and Mark Holden, will comprise a panel titled ‘Artist to Advocate: Fighting for Criminal Justice’ on the 18th of March. Angelos will talk with members of the music community gathered in Austin about his unjust prison sentence for a minor drug crime and will also discuss “how artists can work together to achieve lasting reform.”

Weldon Angelos press photo

Activism and the arts have evolved from a fringe concept to one of the key components of conference programming at SXSW 2017. Given the current political climate here in America, we expect to see a variety of in-person examples of social activism during the music conference and festival in Austin next week. Keep an eye on TGTF for our ongoing coverage; as always, any information we bring to you about SXSW 2017 is subject to change. You can stay up-to-date on the official SXSW schedule by clicking here.

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017: this year’s conference programming on Music Cities

 
By on Thursday, 9th March 2017 at 3:00 pm
 

The idea of developing so-called “music cities” became popular in the music industry following Sound Diplomacy Music Cities Conventions in Brighton and Washington, DC in 2015. Our own editor Mary attended the Music Cities Convention in DC that year and was impressed by the breadth of expertise among the convention attendees, as well as their universal dedication to keeping music alive and well at the community level.

Though Austin certainly already fits the definition of a music city, the SXSW Music Conference picked up on the idea in 2016 with a pair of conference sessions, ‘How To Build A Music City’ and ‘Why Every Music City Should Have A Night Mayor’ specifically geared toward further development of music cities in America. The sessions examined the roles and interactions between “musicians, entrepreneurs, and innovators” and city government representatives in encouraging curation and maintenance of vibrant local music scenes.

PARTYBABY at SXSW 2016

This year’s SXSW Music Conference takes the music cities concept a step or two farther, expanding its offerings on the subject to build upon the foundation laid in last year’s sessions. Two main sessions in the Music Industry track focus directly on building music cities, while a number of other sessions deal with peripherally related topics relevant to supporting music within a city’s infrastructure.

On Thursday the 16th of March, leaders from established music cities will present ‘How To Build A Music City – The Launch’. Their aim is to follow last year’s discussions regarding advocacy and resource management with advice on specific planning processes for building successful music programs and fostering thriving local music communities.

The next day, Friday the 17th of March, expands the music cities concept to a broader global vision, taking on the idea of a vast, worldwide ‘Music Cities Network’. According to the official Conference schedule, “This session will talk necessities, goals, agenda and benefits of a global music cities network. It will focus on knowledge exchange and policy, city development and city marketing.”

JoJo Abot at SXSW 2016

Also in the Music Industry Track are a handful of sessions focused on more specific aspects of local music culture. On the 15th of March, ‘New Nashville: The Evolution of Music Publishing’ will look to Nashville as an established music city to “give examples of current and past ideas that have shaped the industry; what’s working, what’s not working, and what does the future hold?” A condensed Talk 20 session on that same day titled ‘Music Industry Development for Diverse Communities’ will tackle questions such as “How well do we do at supporting and representing the full spectrum of diversity in our communities?” and “How do we balance championing the artists best positioned to have success in the market with the full diversity of the region we represent?” An even more specialised session on the 17th of March called ‘I Remember That Band: Preserving Local Music’ talks about how local music archives get started, how they impact the music scene, and what kinds of information they can provide about their local communities.

More peripherally, the Touring & Live Experience Track features several panel sessions relevant to music culture in smaller cities. ‘How to Sell Your Event to a City’, on the 15th of March, encourages formation of “positive, mutually beneficial, and long lasting relationships with the host cities and their respective tourism boards and local government, by concentrating on increased local economic growth”. Music festivals, specifically, are addressed under topics such as ‘Rethinking the Future of Music Festivals’ (17th March), ‘Families at Music Festivals’ (16th March), and ‘The Definitive Profile of the Festival Superfan’ (16th March), while community-level events in smaller spaces are discussed in ‘Intimate Spaces: Programming Small Venues’ (16th March) and ‘Saving Small Venues & The Independent Music Scene’ (18th March).

The Spook School at SXSW 2016

With their 2017 programming, the SXSW Music Conference is getting behind Sound Diplomacy and the Music Cities Convention’s overarching goals of “improving urban planning, quality of life, city policy and development strategies through music” and exploring “the role and impact of music across education, employment, community building, placemaking, licensing and regulation.” And after 30 years of playing host to SXSW, what better city is there to illustrate the challenges and successes of cultivating a local music scene than Austin itself?

As always, the SXSW Music conference schedule is subject to change; for complete, updated information on Music Conference tracks at SXSW 2017, consult the official SXSW schedule here.

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

RSS Feed   RSS Feed  

Learn More About Us

Privacy Policy

Keep TGTF online! Donate here.