SXSW 2010 in review by James Wolff

076 It has become an obligatory pilgrimage for artists who are searching for their big break, for start-up social networking firms hoping to attract investors, and for organizations such as the Recording Arts Academy to reconnect with members across the states and the world. As thousands of sweaty hipster bands proclaiming new directions in organized chaos descend on Austin, the intrinsic team once again packed our bags, charged our phones, and prepared for a sleepless week of talent scouting and debauchery. Though the general feeling was that the festival was of a smaller scale this year, the musical performances and industry events did not fail to inspire and captivate. Like last year, walking through sixth street at night was a unique and amazing experience. Streets packed by what seems to be the majority of the music industry, all walking the streets together once a year, from punk bands to major label bosses, from folk singers to rap groups, from classical string quartets to broadway singers. Everyone here had a purpose, to advance there career, and SXSW does that like no other. Set against the backdrop of a vibrant liberal oasis in a southern desert, this festival is holds a special place in the hearts of all those who are lucky enough to attend.

I flew into Dallas this year instead of driving the 3,000 miles on a solo tour which led me across the nation with Scary River, and while my schedule was not packed with showcase performances, as in years past, this year was all about business. You can play shows anytime, any place, and while there are lots of talent scouts throwing record deals, the secret to the festival lies in the exclusive networking events held by companies like BMI, Sonicbids, and Gigmaven, and Billions booking. In today's world of faceless email communication (unless you have evolved to living 24/7 in a skype chatroom), it can be difficult and limiting to conduct business and make deals through a purely electronic medium. At SXSW we are able to meet, hang out, and share in the sunny experience with our colleagues, all within walking distance. Meeting at 3, and another at 3:30? Only at SXSW does it work. Real live human contact and direct face to face interaction with business contacts that live across the country, all while trying to talk over the music from an artist with a dream and an album to shop who is wondering who might be in the audience. THAT is what makes it fun, what makes it a blast, and what makes it special.

This year, while we did have a very busy meeting schedule, we also were on the ground and taking a direct part in the Twicketer sponsored Digiwaxx showcases. With our crew of eight, Intrinsic had small teams canvasing the city and multi-tasking at multiple events and parties, however The Ranch Digiwaxx showcases became our temporary headquarters. We conducted interviews with the artists for Film Industry Network, and one of our correspondents, Nick Bosco, introduced the twicketer concepts to the artists and we got great reaction footage. Additionally, as I am an associate member of the Recording Arts Academy, we had scheduled our Grammy U Correspondent to conduct select interviews for our showcases and artists. Dertrick was a rock star and he captivated the participants with engaging questions and good energy, later his own story became the focus of a news story through Film Industry Network and was broadcasted to over 140 countries. He has a great talent, and I am excited to work with him on future projects for the Grammy foundation and the Recording Arts Academy.

Performers at the Digiwaxx showcases who stood out were Shinobi Ninja and Nina B, and Miz Metro. While I was busy making meetings with Teressa Raiford, I noted several additional artists at several events which are clear winners of my imaginary next big supergroup title, honorable mentions include Yeasayer and Lost in Trees. We even had an intrinsic intern conduct an interview on a specially customized CLEAR bus that had an interview studio installed where they captured the La Strada interview (a NYC band I was billed on several shows together with last year on our trip to SXSW and on SXSW showcases). It is always a pleasure to see bands who I play with across the country on tours all meet up and eat tacos.

Lastly, the festival itself is full of spontaneity, great for extroverts because you never know who you are going to meet or run into. At the last event at a bar one block from our Ranch Digiwaxx showcase is a three story restaurant bar where Teressa, Nick, and I visited on the closing Sunday party right before we left back for Dallas. At this event we ran in Rod Williams after previously meeting at the Warner Bros Showcase which took place in our Hotel lobby the first night (I know, very cool). Rod is looking for music video production for his hit single; Warrior, and we discussed partnering him with our world class video directors and a public relations campaign to ensure television network success of the video.

In closing, it was another great year filled with meetings and showcases and networking. Stay tuned for a very exciting year and for more breaking national music industry stories!

James Wolff
Recording Arts Academy Associate Member
BMI Recognized Artist

Film Industry Network shout outs!

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