Thursday, March 16, 2017

Bypassing SXSW...and record deals

When you're a musician in Austin, everyone automatically assumes you participate in SXSW. After all, it's your hometown festival. Surely you've lined up showcases for every day, right?? Not necessarily.

Lots of Austin artists do exactly that. Some people even play multiple slots per day. And we have played several showcases over the years. In 2012, I wrote about our participation in the Fiesta Red Indie Fiesta - an unofficial showcase held in conjunction with SXSW. There are probably more unofficial showcases and events than official ones!

But over the years, we've realized that SX is not really our thang. I wrote in 2012 about what a hassle it can be, but more than that, it's a question of what you want to get out of it. When it started, it was an opportunity for local bands to get in front of industry tastemakers to try to get a record deal. Now tons of bands come from all over the world to play, and many of them already have record deals.

It's still an opportunity to get discovered, but without already having some connections, it's not terribly likely. And not only will you not get paid for your performance, if you're from out of town, it's probably costing you quite a bit in travel expenses. If you get a golden ticket from it (i.e. a record deal), the cost may be worth it. But that's a reeeeeeeally long shot.

Look out, Charlie. That golden ticket might be
more like gold-plated handcuffs.