It’s Day Three of Music Week at SXSW and it just keeps getting busier. The infamous Doritos Stage is ready to rock, The Woodies are underway and people are lining up block after block to see their favorite bands and swig on some free beer.
There’s been a focus in the Convention Centre today about blurred lines between tech and music. I’d never have imagined Slash, the man who was so rock n’ roll he smoked in the shower in the 90s, would be hosting a Hackathon to find new ways to connect with his fans. He knows innovation causes economic growth and this in turn sparks the imagination and drive to create the next hashtag sensation.
Just as people who work in television now have to multi task (camera, edit, produce, direct, make tea, massage egos etc) it seems musicians need to get their heads around technology and social media in order to succeed in the demanding musical landscape of today. Although there is a balance between too many selfies and too much silence on Twitter, said Susan Vega on a panel about romancing the fan.
Generation Remix – the kids under 25 years old who have never known life without the internet and who according to Kevin O’Malley of Tech Talk / Studio, are going to ‘bend technology to their will.’
And it looks as though the car is next on the list for bending. All the music streaming services are talking about in car data, in car dashboards, and how long it’s going to be before the war on who owns this data begins.
Robert Scoble was incredibly passionate talking about new tech. Google Glass (which in a nut shell records what you see), he says is going to be a mega hit, as are JBL’s new speakers that compress audio at different rates depending on audio frequencies. Skrillex, a name that pops up relentlessly here at South By, would be streamed differently to say, Mozart for example.
As streaming services expand, the question of why so many people wax over $1000 a year on TV yet begrudge $9.99 a month on a music service is asked over and over. According to Kenna Brooks of MySpace, ‘it’s a psychology thing’. People have come to expect music for free since physical sales began to decline. Just 37% of people subscribing to a music service claim it’s because they want to support the artist.
Savvy musicians will work out ways to connect with (and make money) from fans by thinking outside of the track, the album and even the live show. It’s time to move on from courting and go steady.