adrian is rad


back from “south by”

Filed under: — adrian @ 9:20 pm

I just got back from “South by” as some (silly) people call it.

I saw around 38 bands in 5 days. It was pretty crazy. Some amazing stuff (like J Tillman (listen in, Tarky!), Two Sheds, and Fanfarlo) and some not so great stuff, but overall I was pretty thrilled with the stuff I saw.

But it got me thinking about music. I mean, even moreso than normal. After all, I had five days to basically only think about music. Here are some thoughts:

  • label: seeing so many great bands that are unsigned or not signed in America got me thinking that maybe I should start a label. I don’t know the second thing about starting a label, though–I know the first thing, the first thing is that it’s a time and money sink–so I’ll need to talk to some people and get a better idea of what’s involved if I’m serious about it.
  • self: I want to start recording and playing more music. I was even thinking about trying to get enough tracks together for a demo and maybe try to play a show sometimes. I don’t know what instrument I’d use. Maybe Wurly or banjo? I’m not sure. I need to get better at instruments as well.
  • self, pt 2: I think I ought to get decent at trumpet again and ply my trade to the bands of SF to play for them.
  • blog: I spend a whole lot of time on that thing. Is it worth it?
  • presents: I should present more shows, I think. I was even thinking it’d be cool to be involved in a party/ showcase at SxSW next year. I’ll need to talk to some people about how to go about this.

9 Responses to “back from “south by””

  1. Colin Says:

    Are unsigned bands looking for a label? I feel like labels are mostly unnecessary these days.

  2. J-dawg Says:

    Hey, saw your post then saw this article in my morning paper, thought you might find it interesting:,0,4220574.story

  3. adrian Says:

    Colin, it’s mostly money and promotion they need help with. Distribution isn’t a big deal these days with the internet.

    Jdawg, good article. I don’t think I’ll do the quit-the-job-to-start-a-record-label thing, though.

  4. Colin Says:

    In my estimation, labels have always basically acted like loan agencies. The difference is that most things that used to be expensive are now cheap and bands can often come up with the necessary money themselves. What would the money you mention pay for?

    I’ll add my own article for you to read:

  5. adrian Says:

    There’s a similar article I read earlier today (in fact, it’s linked in the article you linked).

    A band may build a small local fan base, or even a significant local fan base by playing gigs and they may build an even smaller fan base by repeatedly touring to the same cities. A few fans may come from randomly finding the band on myspace or something like that. But tastemakers are still important. Vampire Weekend is now playing sold out shows left and right, mostly because a series of increasingly big tastemakers picked up on them and promoted them.

    Say you only get the album and press kit to 100 bloggers and 100 radio stations. That costs money (and a lot more if you pay someone who’s actually good at it to do it). Digital press kits are possible, but I’d bet the pick-up rate from a physical press kit is still much better.

    Getting a good quality video shot, edited and up on youtube costs money. Do you see the sort of play-counts some youtube videos get? It’s ridiculous.

    It all adds up.

  6. mummy Says:

    Some of the stuff I have read is that the top bands that are on the radio have got there by basically bribing radio DJs to play them. Which makes something like South By so powerful…

  7. Tark Says:

    I would check J Tillman out but his myspace page keeps crashing my router.

  8. Jeff Miller Says:

    Independent artists and bands are desperate for help in many fronts. I suppose the role of labels has changed throughout the years, but I think some of them still function in the following helpful areas:

    promotion/publicity – this includes so many different aspects, from festival appearances, to radioplay, to TV shows, to TV/film placement.

    distribution – though the internet has changed this need, people are still buying CDs at some stores. And let’s face it, MP3s have a noticeably lower quality.

    financing for recording / videomaking costs

    There are also individuals out there (as opposed to labels), such as managers and publicists, who focus on a single aspect of the industry. It’s a horribly complicated thing for any one band or artist to try to stay on top of, without help.

  9. adrian is rad » bacon + sausage, white house style, sxsw and motown Says:

    […] once again headed to SxSW in a month and change. The preliminary list of bands is dizzying. I’m looking […]

Leave a Reply

Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free

Powered by WordPress