An ROIer's Reflection from South by Southwest
Lionel Ritchie keeping us dancing all night long with a midnight performance; Fiona Apple’s triumphant return to the stage after a several year long hiatus; Jimmy Cliff inspiring us to “see clearly now that the rain has gone,” dancing next to Bill Murray...where else could this be aside from South by Southwest?!
SXSW is a Mecca for artists, producers and innovators to have the rare chance to come together and discuss the present and future status of the music industry. On March 13th to March 16th, I had three days to conquer the largest music festival in the United States with no time to lose! What could easily have been a chaotic and intimidating situation was easily manageable, thanks to the very nature of this conference – innovation and technology! In order to keep track of literally hundreds of workshops and performances, I used an iPhone app called “SXSW GO,” which organized all of the workshops and concerts I wanted to attend into an easy-to-navigate system, complete with a map and automatic notifications of changes to the schedule. As for those unfortunate moments when my iPhone battery ran out from all the tweeting and scheduling, I simply stopped by one of the many SXSW sponsored charging stations available throughout the city. I was blown away with the organization and professionalism from all the participants and staff.
The energy of SXSW was incredible. Everyday from 10am – 3am, the action was nonstop; music in bars, music in cafes, music in the streets! Then there’s the exhibition hall, buzzing with the latest and greatest in social media as well as the most effective tools to spread music to a global audience. I attended workshops ranging anywhere from legal advice for songwriters to panels that judged the next best thing in digital music. (Hold on tight, we’re about to enter the age where the music you listen to is actually listening to YOU!)
In addition to attending workshops and learning performance techniques by watching legendary artists, I also performed in four showcases, including a Beatles ukulele tribute. Performing for new audiences filled with music industry professionals was highly beneficial. One month later and I am already in talks of having my music licensed in film & TV, developing new musical projects, recording opportunities and new collaborations!
Literally everything I was hoping to gain from SXSW came true and then some! There is no substitution for networking with the best of the best. This exciting opportunity was all made possible with the help of ROI’s Micro Grant program. Quite literally, ROI is the gift that keeps giving, and I’m looking forward to giving back by sharing all that I’ve learned with my fellow ROI members. I highly recommend SXSW to all members, and thank you ROI for making this incredible experience possible!