Perhaps the biggest question for every artist at SXSW -- if not every artist making music today, save a lucky few -- is "how are we going to make money?" You can tweet up a storm, have enough Facebook friends to mount a small army, and have the love of the blog community, and still not see a cent from any of it. So it made sense that a panel on the future of artist compensation would be jammed.
Alas, the panel failed to break any new ground. Despite a heavy-hitting and accomplished group of speakers -- manager Jordan Kurland, Jagjaguwar Records head Darius Van Arman, music lawyer Edward Pierson, musician Rachel Flotard, and REM attorney Bertis Downs -- the speakers simply trod over familiar territory.
The takeaways? Three-sixty deals: they're complicated and can be good for a band (unless they are bad for a band). Signing a label deal: depends on what your goals are. Publishing deals: consider the need for short term cash flow versus long term strategy.
At the end, many questions were left unanswered. Maybe that's because, despite all the brainpower in the room and at the conference as a whole, no one knows just what the future will hold.