Billboard.biz's 2012 SXSW Blog
Fred Mills, Editor, Blurt Magazine
Billboard.biz: What's the best band/artist you've seen yet?
Fred Mills: Bruce Springsteen is the default answer but if you're referring to a band, I'd say Cotton Mather- they were just tight as hell.
Who are you most excited to see?
Death of Samantha- I've been a huge fan of theirs for a while but I'd never seen them back in the day and like most writers, I have a soft spot about anything from Cleveland.
What's the best party you've been to?
This is self-promoting but the Blurt Party, which is the only one I've been to! It was magnificent, modesty aside.
What's the best panel or keynote you've seen?
Producing Ecstacy. Even for a non-tech person like me, it was eye-opening to hear about how music production can enhance or take away from music.
What's the best gossip you've heard?
I'm out of the loop for that but I found out beforehand that the Sidewinders were reuniting. I didn't believe it until I ran into the singer and he confirmed that. They did one unannounced show and they were great.
Who have you met/do you hope to meet that you're really excited about?
Ran into the dB's and re-established old friendships with them. It had been about 10 years.
Who/what do you think people will be buzzing about after SXSW 2012 is over?
Speculation about how much was the cost to construct the giant Doritos machine on the street.
Photo/Interview: Jason Gross
March 17, 2012 | Performance
Jack White Rocks Career Retrospective at Third Man Records SXSW Showcase
By Gary Graff, Austin
Karen Elson surely knew the answer when she asked her audience Friday night at the Stage on Sixth: "Are you ready for Jack?"
The night was dedicated to Jack White's Third Man Records label, but as his ex-wife plainly knew, he was the star of the show and the reason a line of hopefuls stretched more than block past the entrance to the club, where Third Man's yellow Rolling Record Store was parked. It was only the White Stripes/Raconteurs/Dead Weather man's fourth full solo show, but the buzz was on that it was as much, if not more, the place to be on Friday as his onetime Detroit colleague Eminem's Shady 2.0 bash across town at the Austin Music Hall.
Fortunately, White's two-part concert - witnessed by Bill Murray and Stooges drummer Scott "Rock Action" Asheton -- lived up to the expectations and hype, with an hour and a half (plus intermission) of material from throughout his career to this point.
As on "Saturday Night Live" and the recent Third Man third anniversary celebration in Nashville, White played with two different groups - one all-female, one all-male. The former was a bit more stately during its nine-song set, with a gray-suited White leading the troupe - including periodic duet partner Ruby Amansu - through renditions of the Stripes' "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground," "Hotel Yorba" and "Icky Thump," as well as the Raconteurs' "Top Yourself" and "You Know What I Know," his contribution to the "Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams" project. The upcoming solo album "Blunderbuss," meanwhile, was represented by the enthusiastically received "Sixteen Saltines" and "Weep Themselves to Sleep."
What are you most excited about this SXSW?
Bruce Springsteen, by far. I actually met him the other night and it was one of the greatest single moments of my entire life.
What panels have you gone to, or are you going to, that you're excited about?
I went to an independent managers panel that <> moderated... That was pretty cool... Other than that, listening to more of the music, to be honest.
What parties are or will be the best?
The ones that I can remember. The Paste party's been pretty fun... Anything involving the Nashville music scene has been pretty cool. The Red Light party at Stubb's was pretty cool. I'm looking forward to seeing Tom Morello tonight because I suspect they might have a special guest.
(photo/interview: Kim Loop)
March 17, 2012 | PANEL
SXSW Panel Explores The World of Music Licensing In Advertising
By Jeff Miller, Austin
"Beyond Just Music Licensing In Advertising" may be a dry title for a SXSW panel, but this one was particularly relevant: the music festival's become nothing if not an excuse for corporations from Doritos to Nokia to breakfast biscuit company Belvita to try to leverage their interests by associating them with music.
So it was a surprise when members of the panel, especially moderator Eric "DJ Bunny Ears" Johnson (executive producer of music at DDB Chicago), suggested that using music was often a tough sell to ad clients. "Music is a powerful force that's being underutilized," he said at the beginning of the discussion.
One example used was a collaboration with the indie band the National and AmEx, in which the band curated a series of concerts at a venue called the Annex, culminating in a surprise bus trip by attending concertgoers to a larger venue featuring a show from the band -- all to raise money for Red Hot. "It was branded AmEx, but it was a good way to launch [their album] "High Violet," said Brigitte Green, the senior director of film & TV at the Beggar's Group.
March 16, 2012 | PANEL
Secrets Behind K-Pop's Global Success Explored at SXSW Panel
By Andrew Hampp, Austin
"Do Music Moguls Know A Secret About K-Pop?" That was the question posed by a Friday afternoon panel looking to shed some light on Korean pop's transition from Asian music craze to American crossover, as well as the big business that already exists in the U.S.
David Zedeck, a music agent who books bands like Girls Generation for Creative Artists Agency, said K-pop is already selling out 1,700 to 2,500-capacity venues in cities like Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta and Denver, and often at record rates. Recently, when Girls Generation wanted to premiere a new music video at New York's Best Buy Theater, they invited fans via Twitter -- and 1,500 schoolkids showed up that day. "I was bumming out that we gave it away for free," Zedeck said. "But we could take any one of these groups and do 16 to 18 real arena dates in North America."
Between K-pop's growing U.S. presence and enormous popularity in Japan, more people are listening to Korean pop around the world (most of whom don't understand the language) than Koreans themselves, said Jeff Yang, who writes the "Tao Jones" column for the Wall Street Journal. "All sorts of things are happening that are establishing this opportunity for K-Pop to crossover. It could be essentially like Latin music for the Asian immigrant community or immigrant-plus community. I don't even feel I can bet which way it's going to go right now."
March 16, 2012 | man on the street
Cashmere Agency's Ryan Ford: SXSW Q&A
By Erika Ramirez, Austin
Cashmere Agency's Ryan Ford @ SXSW. (Photo: Erika Ramirez)
After moderating SXSW panel "From the Blocks to the Blogs," Cashmere Agency's Vice President Ryan Ford chatted with us of SXSW, from what he's looking forward to to the rumblings of special appearances.
Billboard.biz: What's the best band/artist you¹ve seen yet?
Ryan Ford: I was really impressed by 2 Chainz at the Fader Fort. Cashmere Agecny had the opportunity to work with him while he was still Tity Boi and with Playaz Circle on Def Jam. It's really amazing to see how an artist that has been bubbling under for years can reinvent themselves while simultaneously staying true to their core base. Its amazing to see how many different types of people now know who 2 Chainz is and were rocking hard with him at the Fader Fort.
Who are you most excited to see?
I'm really excited to see Mystikal. He's hip-hop's James Brown. I've been a fan since way back but never had the chance to see him live. He did a bid and was away for awhile but from what I've seen he hasn't lost a step. He's on YMCMB now and is one of the headliners at the Vibe House show that Cashmere Agency is doing with Adidas andAllHipHop.com. I'll get my chance there.
What¹s the best panel or keynote you¹ve seen?
I'm a little partial obviously but I really feel like the panel that I moderated was a great one. It was called From The Blocks To The Blogs and we discussed the future of the multi-cultrual audience and their interactions with social media. The urban audience is such an important component to growing and utilized these various social media platforms but yet I go all over the county to new media panels and we are rarely the topic of discussion. SXSW recognizes us for our music celebrities and industry tastemakers, now we see them really starting to give us credit during the interactive portion. That's refreshing.
What¹s the best gossip you¹ve heard?
That Eminem is coming out at the Shady 2.0 show. I don't really thinkthat's much of a stretch though. It is his label. I'm also hearing thatSnoop Dogg is in town and is going to pop up a few surprise appearances.And I know where one is at but I can't say yet. LOL.who have you met/do you hope to meet that you're really excited about? Man, I need to meet Sean Parker again. I had the chance to meet him briefly with the Stampede Management team, Snoop Dogg and Mark Zuckerberg at his F8 Conference after-party in San Francisco a few months back. Ireally dig how he is attacking the online space -- just going full speed into projects that he believes in, partying and making billions ofdollars doing it. What's more hip-hop than that?
Who/what do you think people will be buzzing about after SXSW 2012 is over?
That's an easy one. Friday and Saturday's Cashmere/Vibe House residency is boasting the best and most comprehensive lineup of urban artists at SXSW. We brought our Respect the West showcase back to SXSW for the third year in a row because we are based in LA and get to see many of these up and coming artists in our offices all of the time. Its really nice to see someone like Kendrick Lamar, who has been a part of all of our Respect The West showcases grow into one of the most talked about artists at the festival. Three years ago he really didn't have a chance to perform as many showcases but we believed he and Jay Rock had a unique way oftruthfully representing the West Coast. They've been a part of ourRespect The West shows ever since.
March 16, 2012 | live
Backbeat: Snoop Dogg Plays Surprise Set Inside Giant Doritos Vending Machine at SXSW
By Andrew Hampp, Austin
Snoop In The Machine: Only Snoop himself didn't know he was playing inside a giant wending machine at SXSW. (Photo: Andrew Hampp)
The only person who didn't know Snoop Dogg played inside a giant Doritos vending machine Thursday night was…well, you guessed it.
"That was a vending machine? I was high as a motherf---er -- I didn't know that was a vending machine!" Snoop exclaimed shortly after his 45-minute set at the Doritos Jacked stage on 5th St. and Red River.
Snoop was the surprise guest at a product-launch party for Doritos' two new Jacked chip flavors, Enchilada Supreme and Smoky Chipotle BBQ. The event was co-hosted by Maxim magazine and featured performances from Cisco Adler, Austin's Ghostland Observatory and Snoop's old No Limit labelmate Mystikal. Snoop's appearance was successfully kept under wraps by Doritos up to an hour before the rapper hit the stage around midnight, though Snoop did invite a lot of speculation when he was spotted at the Austin airport Thursday afternoon.
By Andrew Hampp, Austin
Lionel Richie (left), who headlined Billboard's SXSW showcase at Austin's ACL LIve Theater, with The-Dream, who also performed. (Photo: Misha Vladimirskiy)
At first, Lionel Richie thought he'd be playing an outdoor venue.
The headliner of Billboard's South By Southwest showcase Wednesday night wasn't sure what to expect when he stepped onstage for his first performance at the music festival. Having seen the expansive backstage area of Austin's freshly renovated ACL Live Theater, Richie told Billboard executives last night after his hour-long set he was expecting to walk out to an amphitheater. "But then I looked up and I saw there was a roof and all these people, so I thought, 'OK. This is a shed. Cool.'"
From left: Richie's manager, Michael Richardson of In-House Management; Mercury Nashville President David Massey; Doc McGhee, Chairman, McGhee Entertainment. (Photo: Misha Vladimirskiy)
Richie filled the 3,000 capacity venue with loyal and newfound fans alike, including executives like Mercury Nashville President David Massey; Doc McGee of McGee Entertainment; Ken Levitan of Vector Management; Island Def Jam's Laura Swanson, Jon Vanhala and Eric Wong; Justin Shukat, general manager of Primary Wave; Jonathan Cohen, music booker for "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon"; Liana Farnham, senior VP of partnerships and events at Fuse; Seth Goldstein, co-founder of Turntable.FM; Steve Jang, co-founder and CEO of Schematic Labs and Soundtracking; Nikki Wheeler, music agent at United Talent Agency and Brian Nolan, senior director at Columbia Records Creative Agency.
L.A. soul troubadors Vintage Trouble (Richard Danielson, Rick Barrio Dill, Ty Taylor, Nalle Colt) who were also on the night's bill, with Billboard Editorial Director Bill Werde (Center). (Photo: Misha Vladimirskiy)
The great Kenny Rogers was the night's surprise guest and joined Richie onstage. (Photo: Misha Vladimirskiy)
By Jason Gross, Austin
Jez Bell, Director of Licensing Omnifone; Matt DeFilippis VP New Media & Technology ASCAP; Peter Bradbury Head of Rights BBC (Photo: Jason Gross)
Who cares about companies who collect royalties for songwriters and publishers (i.e. ASCAP, BMI)? You should - how they work and don¹t work has an effect on the whole industry.
Various horror stories were heard about the challenges of making payments to these organizations. James Buffett-Smith (Spotify¹s Head of Licensing Business Affairs) outlined the main problems: ³societies don¹t talk to each other or agree what they each have rights toŠ two societies sometimes insist on payment for the same thing they claim to own.² Jez Bell, director of licensing at Omnifone, describing the hardships of the Rara music service his company started from scratch- "if you¹re doing something new, you have to rehash your arguments with each collection society and by their nature, they¹re very cautious."
March 16, 2012 | live
Backbeat: Lil Wayne Films a Mountain Dew Spot Onstage During Young Money Gig @ SXSW
By Erika Ramirez, Austin
Lil Wayne filming a Mountain Dew spot onstage at South by Southwest on Thursday night (Photo: Karen Civil/@teamDEWeezy)
Lil Wayne was the headliner of one of the most anticipated concerts at this year's SXSW, which came in the wake of last week's announcement of his partnership with Mountain Dew. "DEWeezy" posters splattered across the streets of Austin, Texas since Monday helped garner a line of Weezy fans two blocks long on the night of the concert.
Las week, Mountain Dew informally announced their partnership with the rapper. Wayne and Mountain dew are teaming up for a specialized program, comprising advertising through out print, TV and digital landscapes. Both also plan to build skate parks around the U.S., starting with Wayne's hometown of New Orleans.
As fans were ushered into Austin Music Hall at around 9 p.m. on Thursday night, whispers of Nicki Minaj and Drake appearances abounded in the VIP section of the venue. Sadly, they were quickly silenced by a representative from Lil Wayne's camp, who said Drake is preparing for his European tour, while Minaj is busy with her own ventures.
March 16, 2012 | Man On the STreet
Man On The Street Interview: Andy Adelewitz: Paradigm
By Jeff Miller, Austin
Andy Adelewitz, publicist at Paradigm. (Photo: Jeff Miler)
Billboard. Biz: How many years have you been coming to South By?
Andy Adelewitz: This is my 11th year.
Why do you come back?
i work for a big talent agency, and its a chance for me to see an awful lot of our bands I don't get to catch up in the sticks [in Ithaca, NY] were I live. I always have a PR client or two, and they're doing interviews or playing showcases. It's the place to come see everybody by arrangement or happenstance.
Whats your favorite thing you've seen so far this year?
I just saw the Punch Brothers at the Red Light party, which was amazing. I saw Andy from Manchester Orchestra play last night, doing his solo project - he has an amazing way of playing really powerful songs in a really delicate way. He's a really gentle guitar player until he surprises you with a big chord that just knocks you over. It's an incredible, dynamic show for a one man thing.
What are you looking forward to for the rest of the week?
I'm just floating this week. I'm excited to check out Kimbra later. I may check out the Punch Brothers again. I'm floating around after that, seeing what I see. I like walking in a door that sounds good and just getting surprised by something. There's something good, every year.
By Jeff Miller, Austin
From left: Daniel Glass of Glass Note, lawyer John Strom (and former Blake Baby), musician Bob Mould, moderator Kim Glauber, Nada Surf's Matthews Caws, Merge's Mac McCaughan also of the band Superchunk, and CMT's Leslie Fram made up 'Creating Your Second Act' panel at SXSW. (Photo: Jeff Miller)
Networking was the name of the game at the Creating Your Second Act panel at SXSW, with all the panelists - including former SX keynote speaker Bob Mould and Merge records founder Mac McCaughan, who recently entered a deal together - discussing the importance of building a solid team, especially if your priority is reinvention.
The panel consisted of a diverse group with very different stories: McCaughan used to play in Superchunk, Mould was obviously the frontman of seminal bands Husker Du and Sugar, though he shared stories of attempting to become an electronic artist (and failing, at least commercially), and his current autobiography, which he collaborated on with notable author Michael Azzerad. Former major label guy Daniel Glass now runs burgeoning indie Glass Note, Lawyer John Strohm toured with the Lemonheads and Blake Babies in his earlier days, Leslie Fram - now at CMT (and barely speaking on the panel, thanks to laryngitis) made her name breaking bands on rock radio, and Matthew Caws, the lead singer for Nada Surf, watched his band climb to the heights of stardom and then fizzle out before they gained indie-artist credibility.
Each shared a similar story, though, of perseverance, letting art speak for itself, and aligning yourself with the right people to meet your goals. "We hope that life is long," Mould said. "You never know when you're going to end up in another spot with these people."
March 16, 2012 | Live
Bruce Springsteen Plays Historical SXSW Show With Tom Morello, Jimmy Cliff
By Gary Graff, Austin
Bruce Springsteen played an epic 2-hour and 50-minutee set at Austin's ACL Live at Moody Theater (Photo: Getty Images)
Bruce Springsteen came to South By Southwest to make a speech. He wound up making history - at least by the standards of his storied live performance legacy.
His show with the E Street Band on Thursday night at ACL Live at Moody Theater was a two-hour and 50-minute barn-burner that might have had, as Springsteen said, "a story to tell" based around his socially and politically conscious new album "Wrecking Ball" - which just a day earlier debuted atop the Billboard 200. But that ultimately gave way to a high-spirited and raucous revue marked by a parade of surprise guests and one-off song selections.
Tom Morello joined in to recreate his contributions to the "Wrecking Ball" tracks "Death to My Hometown" and "Jack of All Trades," while he pulled out his bag of guitar tricks while jamming with Springsteen on "The Ghost of Tom Joad." A red-clad Jimmy Cliff joined the E Street gang for "The Harder They Come," "Time Will Tell" and "Many Rivers to Cross" - and surprisingly NOT "Trapped" - while the Animals' Eric Burdon, whose influence Springsteen chronicled during his SXSW keynote speech earlier in the day, roared through "We Gotta Get Out of This Place."
The closing rendition of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land," meanwhile, was a spirited, all-hands-on-deck finale with Morello, Arcade Fire, Joe Ely and the evening's opening acts, Alejandro Escovedo and the Low Anthem.
March 15, 2012 | PHOTO
A2IM's Rich Bengloff Chats About the Buzz In Austin
By Dan Rys, Austin
A2IM President Rich Bengloff paused to talk to Billboard.biz following the "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" panel at SXSW Music, where he was in town to attend the 7th annual A2IM member's breakfast Thursday morning. The breakfast brings together indie labels from all over the country - labels such as JagJaguwar (Bloomington, IN), Rhymesayers (Minneapolis, MN) and Kill Rock Stars (Portland, OR) - to share business ideas in a central space.
"We believe in new ideas and catering to our fans," he said, discussing how his organization embraces new music models such as Spotify. "We embrace all new models - just as long as they're creator-generated."
While talking about some of the new music he's been listening to (he recently bought the new Sharon Van Etten, Bruce Springsteen and Andrew Bird Records), Glassnote Entertainment founder Daniel Glass, head of new media Jenna Lomanico, and head of press Alex Dunne stopped by on their way to see Glassnote Records signee Oberhofer perform. Glass had just flown into Austin after being at the White House Wednesday night with Mumford and Sons, as they performed (along with John Legend) for the Obamas and British Prime Minister David Cameron during the President's state dinner.
March 15, 2012 | PHOTO
SXSW Keynote: Bruce Springsteen Speaks to the Young Musicians and the Old Guard
Declaring that "every important musician in this town is asleep - or they will be by the time I finish this thing," Bruce Springsteen spent nearly 50 minutes early Thursday afternoon encouraging his musical colleagues and offering insights - some surprising - into his own career during his keynote speech at the South By Southwest Music + Media Conference.
Running on "Boss time," Springsteen started a bit later than expected and apparently went missing when SXSW co-founder Roland Swenson was ready to introduce him, but once on stage the New Jersey rock icon kept a packed ballroom at the Austin Convention Center spellbound with an often funny, frequently poignant, carefully constructed, and passionate address that stressed hard work and humility. "No one really agrees on anything in pop anymore," he explained. "You go Kiss, early theater-rock proponents expressing the true raging hormones of youth, or... they suck! You go Bruce Springsteen, natural-born poetic genius off the streets of Monmouth County, hardest-working musician in show business, voice of the common man, future of rock 'n' roll, or... he sucks! Get the f*** outta here!"
March 15, 2012 | PHOTO
Violin Monster Does His Part To Keep Austin Weird
Violin Monster Has a Tumblr: It takes all sorts to make SXSW what it is. A violinist sporting a monster mask is in Austin for the festival, but don't mistake him for a one-off publicity stunt. This "Violin Monster" has a website, a Facebook page with more than 1,600 fans, and a fan-run Tumblr. According to his website, he's been haunting cities, mostly Ann Arbor and New York, since 2010. (Photo: Kim Loop)
March 15, 2012 | Panel
SXSW Panel: Dance Music Execs Chat About the Death of Rock and Roll
By Jason Gross, Austin
In a year where SXSW's musical main attractions are Bruce Springsteen and Jack White, it's ironic that a panel is ready to (literally) dance on rock's grave. Still, it's undeniable that with the rise of DJs/producers Skrillex and deadmau5, dance music may get its biggest wave of popularity since disco's heyday.
Legendary Sire Records head Seymour Stein challenged the provocative title of the panel, insisting "dance music IS rock and roll." Simon White (from management company Chris and Simon) saw the evolution of dance music as cyclical- "it's changed the culture (in the U.K.) and it's gonna happen here. And eventually it's gonna be passé."
Pasquale Rotella, founder of concert producer Insomniac Inc., didn't see extreme disconnects among music types. "People are more open to listening to lots of genres of music nowadays." Lee Anderson, an agent at AM Only who represents Skillrex, saw the excitement happening with dance's sense of newness: "there's a sense of discovery with dance music with young people, and that's causing the explosion."
March 15, 2012 | Showcase
Backeat: La Vida Boheme, Duran, Jotdog, Radaid, More Rock Billboard Latin SXSW Showcase
By Judy Cantor-Navas, Austin
Colombian cumbia-pop rapper Duran (Photo: Judy Cantor-Navas)
The six artists at the Billboard Latin SXSW Showcase, who came to Austin from Colombia, Venezuela, Spain, Mexico and Miami, were each met at the Soho Lounge Wednesday night by fans who sang along to their songs and pressed close to the stage for pictures.
Girls lined up to kiss rapper Duran, who performed shirtless, at times with an accordion slung around his neck, while his Afro-Colombian band called everyone to dance with cumbia beats. The Mexican electro-pop group Jotdog's set proved literally explosive, blowing a fuse. The audience members, who had been mesmerized by the esoteric moves of singer Maria Barracuda, waited until they could begin again.
Photo: Judy Cantor-Navas)
Muchachito Bombo Infierno, from Barcelona, brought the grit of flamenco and street party feeling of rumba, as well as rock star charisma, to the stage. Muchachito, who traveled to Austin without his full band, beat his guitar and stomped on a board rigged to sound like an electronic cajon. Artist and cantautor Santos de Veracruz painted behind him while he sang, and joined in singing, with a voice that came deep from flamenco tradition.
March 15, 2012 | PANEL
SXSW Panel: Hip-Hop Execs Talk About The Social Media Effect
By Erika Ramirez, Austin
Hip-hop's presence at SXSW becomes stronger with each passing year. This year, hip-hop heavy weights such as 50 Cent, Lil Wayne and Jay-Z migrate to Austin, Texas to leave rumblings of their names.
Aside from hip-hop showcases, SXSW holds a range of panels benefitting the urban music world, from artistry, music business to social media. One of the festival's first hip-hop focused panels this years was Cashmere Agency's sponsored, "From The Blocks to the Blogs." The panel discussion which took place at the Austin Convention Center on Wednesday explored the impact social media has had on the hip-hop industry and it's growth
March 15, 2012 | DIARY
SXSW Diary: How Ambreen Razaq of the Windish Agency Handles 15 Artists, Not Eating @ SXSW 2012
Ambreen Razaq is one of Billboard.biz's 2012 SXSW diarists and an agency associate at the Windish Agency. This year she has fifteen artists playing the fest including Purity Ring, Friends,Tycho and Com Truise. This is her third SXSW.
Ambreen Razaq at the Chevy Sound Garage
Two days down, three more to go... and still so much to do!
I arrived on Tuesday afternoon from LA (on a flight of 90% SXSW goers, of course) and made the most of it. A couple friends and I decided to hit up a music tech mixer at The Belmont in the early evening to kick things off. I met some SXSW Interactive attendees... they're pretty different than music people, but I dig them and I really want to attend Interactive next year too.
After a bit of mingling, I left to go pick up my wristband at the Convention Center, which was a bit of a mess. By 8:30pm, I was incredibly cranky from spending almost two hours in line and having eaten only free plane pretzels all day... soooo I hit Iron Works! Last year I never made it there so I took advantage of a hungry and unscheduled moment and got my BBQ fix. It was oh so delicious!...
....Yesterday's schedule included: Forcefield PR and Terrorbird Media's Party at Red 7, Fader Fort, Echo and Echoplex Throwdown at Shangri-La, a meeting at the Hilton Starbucks that was originally scheduled to be at the W and upon arriving there and trying to find the person I was meeting I learned that they went to the wrong place (such is the nature of SXSW though, isn't it?), running to my hotel because I forgot my cell phone charger, waiting in the lobby for my friend because I also forgot a room key, speed walking to Frank's for a hot dog because all I'd eaten was a taco at noon (it was then 9pm... I need to get better at this eating thing), meeting up with people and "hydrating" at 508 House, going to the Chevy Sound Garage for a few hours, and then ending the night back at 508 House.
Prince Rama at the Chevy Sound Garage. (Photo: Ambreen Razaq)
March 15, 2012 | Showcase
Gary Clark Jr. & Ed Sheeran Rock Warner's SXSW Bash
By Gary Graff, Austin
If diversity remains one of South By Southwest's credos, you didn't have to look further than the second night of the Warner Music Group's The Warner Sound residency on Wednesday at La Zona Rosa.
Recalling old-school SXSW showcases, the seven-act affair hopped through a hodgepodge of styles and genres, leaping from blues to bluegrass and pop of varying shades. Heck, British songwriter Ed Sheeran did that all in one song, his show-closing epic "You Need Me, I Don't Need You," during which he nearly overheated his samplers and broke four strings on his guitar - without losing momentum. It was a veritable party in a single package.
It's hard to beat a legend, though, and it was clear Dr. John was in fine form, headhunting from the moment he swaggered onstage with his ornamented walking stick and kicked off his set with his biggest commercial hit, "Right Place, Wrong Time." Supported by a crack band that included fellow New Orleans keyboardist Jon Cleary, the Night Tripper's nine-song set previewed five songs -- "Revolution," "Ice Age," "Big Shot," "Locked Down" (on which he played guitar) and "You Lie" -- from his politically charged forthcoming album "Locked Down," which was produced by the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach. But John also ventured into "oldie but moldy" territory with hot renditions of "Loup Garou," an extended "Walk on Gilded Splinters" and a buoyant "Big Chief," clearly throwing down a kind of gauntlet to the younger talent that surrounded him on the bill.
March 15, 2012 | VIDEO
Bruce Springsteen Surprises Austin Music Awards: Video
Bruce Springsteen didn't wait until his scheduled events to get into the swing of things at South By Southwest this week.
The New Jersey rocker, who's delivering South By Southwest's keynote speech on Thursday, with an "intimate" performance that night, made surprise (though widely rumored) guest appearance on Wednesday night at the Austin Music Awards. As Joe Ely, who was himself a guest with Alejandro Escovedo, asked "Is there a guitar player in the house? We need another guitar player,"
Springsteen walked on to join Ely, Escovedo and Garland Jeffreys for a set that included Jimmie Dale Gimore's "Midnight Train," Escovedo's "Always a Friend," the oft-modified folk standard "Goin' Down This Old Dusty Road (Don't Want to Be Treated This Old Way)" and the Rolling Stones' "Beast of Burden," with Springsteen smirking as he sang the line "am I rich enough?"Fans began tweeting about Springsteen's possible cameo (he and Escovedo share management) earlier Wednesday, which led to some larger-than-usual lines outside the Austin Music Hall prior to the ceremony.
March 15, 2012 | PANEL
Mr. Muthaf---in' eXquire, Others Explain How to Create Video Hits With Social Media, Engagement at SXSW Panel
Mr. Muthaf---in' eXquire sure seems to have figured out the formula of turning music videos into music industry successes: relentlessness.
The rapper, a panelist at Wednesday's "Importance of Online Video and Social Media" discussion, transfomed himself from a security guard at a parking lot to the star of a video with 400,000-plus views (that features the likes of Danny Brown, El-P and Das Racist) in under six months, almost entirely based on his social media prowess and tireless work ethic. At Wednesday's panel, he shared some of the stories behind his success.
"Cultivating a fan base is like creating a cult -- that's why they call it cult-ivating," he said. "You want everyone to drink the Kool-Aid. You want people to say, 'I want to drink forties like eXquire does!' You have to create your brand and build it."
March 15, 2012 | SHOWCASE
Lionel Richie Lights Up SXSW at Billboard Showcase
With thousands of bands and fans having successfully descended upon Austin, Billboard said "Hello" to the 2012 South By Southwest Festival with a showcase at ACL Live at the Moody Theater Wednesday night. The event gathered five acts -- from emerging stars to kings of the charts, including the SXSW debut of pop and R&B icon, Lionel Richie.
After warm-up performances from The-Dream, Poliça, Vintage Trouble and Wallpaper., Richie hit the stage well past midnight and launched into a modernized take on classic single "Hello." Joined by a sizable band, he launched into "Running with the Night" and spent the next hour and a half walking back through his lengthy career. He ran through Commodores hits such as "Easy," "Fancy Dancer" and "Lady (You Bring Me Up)," as well as "Brick House" -- part of a funky encore which included a version of "All Night Long (All Night)" that could've kept the audience grooving for the rest of the week.
March 15, 2012 | BRANDING
Samsung, Chevrolet, Foursquare, John Mayer Led SXSWi Social Media Chatter
By Ki Mae Heussner, Adweek
South by Southwest Interactive conference is over, but a few top brands and companies left a considerable trail of social media chatter in their wake.
Samsung, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare and Chevrolet were among the brands that got the most social media love at the five-day tech confab in Austin, according to data from social media analysis firm NetBase.
Exclusively for Adweek, NetBase monitored the fire hose of social media commentary coming out of the conference. Over the five days, the company said, SXSW generated more than 500,000 mentions in total, primarily by people whose online accounts indicate that they are from California, New York and Texas (19 percent, 18 percent and 17 percent, respectively). The overwhelming majority of chatter was on Twitter (93 percent), with Facebook and blogs contributing 3 percent each.
"This is a show with an incredibly strong social voice," said Lisa Joy Rosner, chief marketing officer for NetBase. The volume is especially significant, she continued, when you consider that six years ago, there were just 200 tweets a day. Now, there are 300 million tweets a day globally, 100,000 of which came from SXSW this past week.
March 14, 2012 | SXSWi
SXSWi Endnotes: Code For America; Hot Apps, Cool People, Drained Batteries
Jen Pahlka (right) is an inspiration for civic-minded entrepreneurs. After successfully co-chairing the Web 2.0 expo and various Web 2.0 and Gov 2.0 events, she founded Code for America. The organization disrupts public service as we know it by plugging fellow developers with local governments to solve city problems. Her Plans for the 2012 include a new accelerator to support civic startups and help them provide their apps to local government entities. (Photo: Sandira Calviac)
Taking a break and some vitamin D near the Convention Center. (Photo: Sandira Calviac)
Hot Apps, Cool People, Drained Batteries
In the battle for the hottest app, Highlight seemed to have won the battle of the buzz, with Sonar a close second. Both mobile apps focus on helping to connect with people around you whom you don't know. Yet, a lot of SXSW attendees sounded skeptical: "SxSW is about reconnecting with the people you already know, and these apps introduce you to new people..." seemed to be the consensus.
Unlike last year, Naveen Selvadurai, Foursquare's cofounder, was MIA this year, taking a break after announcing his departure from the company 3 years after he founded it with Dennis Crowley who on the other hand was swamped with party hopping and meetings this past week.
Chatter focused around the battery drainage app use caused daily. A problem turned into a competitive advantage by some smart party planners. Indeed "the good parties offered phone charging stations" said Joshua Keay, CEO of Spontaneously, a Techstars startup which enables mobile users to get together with their favorite people.
Once again this year, the crème de la crème was hanging out at the Driskill Hotel or the Ginger Man perhaps only to charge their phones? (Photo: Sandira Calviac)
Say Cheese Y'all: Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and New Enterprise Associates (NEA)
hosted a party for startups and investors at the Parkside (Photo: Sandira Calviac)
Swollen Heads: Some of this year's tech entrepreneurs have clearly let their fortune and
welath go to their heads. (Photo: Sandira Calviac)
Alex Eller, Founder/CEO Theedle.com, a site that allows users to "post what you want people
to help you find, or help find things for others." (Photo: Sandira Calviac)
This guy! (Photo: Sandira Calviac)
March 14, 2012 | INTERVIEW
SXSW Q&A: SonicBids' Panos Panay
Q: Do you see a lot of good brand activation at Interactive?
A: I do. Quite a bit. It's pretty insane how many brands are here in various capacities.
Q: Over the years, is it more, or is it smarter activation or is it both?
A: I think it's both. It's think it's both more, so you see more brands present. You can even look outside here. In our periphery there's Bing right there and Ask Jeeves right there. But I also think as brands are figuring out social, and social is becoming a lot more important for them. And I also think that as brands are figuring out that music is such a great hook and that emotion music evokes is such a great way of reaching out to people, you're seeing [brands] a lot more present here and [being] a lot smarter in the way they're going out there and activating their brand campaigns.
March 14, 2012 | INTERVIEW
Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan Unloads Again: On Pitchfork, Twitter, 360 Deals, Why the '90s Were Better, More
Billboard.biz: I came of age when the Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana and Pearl Jam were coming up. Does a 15-year-old today have the same type of bands they can get behind? The five or six or seven arena-size bands that actually mean something?
Billy Corgan: It's so vital. Alternative culture at its best represents an evolution of values. I was talking about the misogyny and the racism in the early days -- we helped break some of those values down by just being there. Then you have the rise of - let's call it "false activism" - you know, "I'm Tweeting, therefore I'm active." "I Tweet therefore I am."
March 14, 2012 | PANEL
How To Get Your Music & Tech Startup Funded Panel @ SXSW
SXSW's "Getting Your Music/Tech Startup Funded" panel brought together a spectrum of financial backers, from the bottom level to the very high end. Moderated by the San Jose Mercury News' Peter Delevett, the panel was populated by Brian Zisk, founder/creator of the San Francisco Music Tech Summit, Larry Marcus, managing director at Walden Venture Capital (an investor in BandPage, SoundHound and Pandora, among others), and Hany Nada, co-founder and partner at GGV Capital (also an investor in BandPage, as well as a number of music tech companies in China).
Each panelist offered different advice relevant to the level of investment they typically offer; Zisk's focus on smaller companies caused him to emphasize easy working relationships, Marcus' mid-range ($500,000-$1.5 million) investments focused on concise, compact demos from companies on the cusp of breakthrough, while Hany's high-end ($100 million) level investments are reserved for companies with a macro vision such as China's YY, an audio communication service with 350 million registered users and an average peak of 10 million users per day.
March 14, 2012 | SHOWCASE
Backbeat: Teengirl Fantasy, Bear In Heaven Play Pitchfork Party While Kosha Dillz Self-Promotes
Tuesday night at SXSW always feels like a microcosm of a city in transition: the conference's Interactive component's ends and tech-geeks are celebrating its end while the Music nerds are arriving downtown, debating whether to go hard on their first night - or go home and get some rest to prepare for the marathon that lies ahead.
So it's no surprise that the Pitchfork Party at Mohawk was busy early, with attendees biding their time between conferences. LA Rapper Kosha Dillz was covertly posting fliers for his showcase during SXSW Music, but sang the praises of networking during Interactive. "There's more people that are hip on Twitter during interactive," said the rapper (whose song "Cellular Phone" was licensed by Bud Light for their Super Bowl ad this year), though he was far from saying the Music portion wouldn't be worthwhile. "I'm playing Paid Dues in LA this year," he said, so I want to see the people I'm playing with."
March 14, 2012 | FILM
Bee vs. Moth Provide Silent Treatment to 'The Oyster Princess'
Bee vs. Moth, the striking avant rock/jazz ensemble based in Austin, may be feeling a little bit of serendipity in the air. They will provide a live score during the screening of Ernst Lubitsch's 1919 silent comedy "The Oyster Princess" Thursday at noon at the Alamo Ritz and everyone they mention the project to, immediately responds "like 'The Artist'?"
March 14, 2012 | EXCLUSIVE
Ginger Baker Film Wins Top Documentary Prize at SXSW
Jay Bulger's documentary on drummer Ginger Baker, "Beware of Mr. Baker," won the Documentary Grand Jury prize Tuesday night, but where it might screen next is under wraps.
"We have been accepted to a bunch of festivals, but they have told us not to tell anyone," Fisher Stevens, one of three producers on the film, said on Sunday, the day after Saturday's world premiere screening.
March 14, 2012 | BACKBEAT
Backbeat: Heartless Bastards Rock RootMusic's Music Tech Mashup at @SXSWi
Music tech gatherings abounded in Austin Tuesday evening as SXSW's interactive conference ended, and the music attendees arrived in greater numbers. Billboard.biz missed the SXSW Music Tech Meet-Up at the Belmont (sponsored by Songkick, MXP4, SoundCloud, Topspin Media, Virb and others) but hit up two others.
March 14, 2012 | LIVE
Alabama Shakes' 'Austin City Limits' Taping: 8 Things Learned
1. Tuesday's taping was the third of the 38th season, the first two being the Civil Wars and Radiohead. The Shins will tape a show on March 17. During the year, they will tape 18 to 20 shows to create 13 episodes for PBS.
2. They performed all 12 songs on their album, which ATO will release April 10, plus a song titled "Makes Me Itch."
3. The night before, Jay-Z had nearly 3,000 people in the venue and his load out took until 7 a.m. The Alabama Shakes, playing in the venue's 800-capacity set-up, loaded in at 10 a.m.
4.The Alabama Shakes were booked three weeks before the appearance. Some bands are booked as early as six months out.
5. Director Gary Menotti goes old school and plots out every shot of the show during rehearsals and abides by his own script during the shoot. Each show is shot with between six and eight cameras.
6. The stage is modeled after the original venue's stage, two feet off the ground. For concerts that are not "ACL" showcases, a wider stage that is four feet high is used. No seat is more than 75 feet from the stage
7. 20,000 requests were submitted online within minutes for the 1,000 tickets available for Radiohead. On the day of the show, producer Terry Lickona let in about 150 fans without tickets who had waited outside all day.
8. "ACL" has two people tweeting before and during the tapings, providing details on rehearsal, backstage and control room activity and the set list.
March 13, 2012 | EXCLUSIVE
Exclusive: Ginger Baker Documentarian To Next Tackle Bill Laswell
"Beware of Mr. Baker" director Jay Bulger (center) and producer Fisher Stevens (right) are interviewed during the film's press day on Sunday, March 11.
After just a single screening on Saturday night, Jay Bulger's "Beware of Mr. Baker" became one of the most talked about films of the festival on Sunday (March 11). And while producers Andrew Karsch, Fisher Stevens and Erik H. Gordon are working on lining up more festivals and talking to distribution partners, Bulger is laying the groundwork for his second documentary, a feature on Bill Laswell.
While documenting the life of Ginger Baker in "Beware" meant moving in with Ginger Baker in South Africa, Bulger aims to take on Laswell's work in Ethiopia where he is working on projects based on the country's musical history. Laswell is married to the popular Ethiopian singer Egigayehu Shibabawu, also known as GiGi, who is living in exile in the U.S.
"Bill has made it his life's goal to do for Ethiopian music what (Island Records founder) Chris Blackwell did for Jamaica," Bulger tells Billboard. "Bill's gone there and he's building studios trying to mobilize and record their history. He's doing it all to teach his son where he came from. It's really beautiful. Bill, to me, is the next step in terms of musical explorers - he's played every genre there is but because he's a producer/bassist, he gets lost in history."
Since the 1970s, Laswell has made a career out of bringing various genres together into single projects, working with John Lydon in a hip-hop setting, Herbie Hancock's electric music such as "Rockit," creating ambient dub versions of the music of Miles Davis and Bob Marley and, for the last decade, funk, Ethiopian and reggae fusions.
"Beware of Mr. Baker" tells the story of drummer Baker, whose life runs from superstardom in Cream to playing with Fela Kuti for six years, working with jazz legends, turning to polo and dealing with broken marriages and heroin addiction for decades. Laswell brought in Baker to record on Public Image Ltd.'s 1986 release "Album."
March 13, 2012 | Photo
Photo: Billboard's Bill Werde, Spotify's Ken Parks, Disturbed's David Draiman
SXSW Spotify and The Future of Music Consumption panel (from left): Billboard's Editorial Director Bill Werde, Spotify's chief content officer Ken Parks and Disturbed's David Draiman.