Music Day Four at SXSW

Lactic acid is kicking in, eyes require drops, and the liver is grumbling. All in the name of music and fun. It’s Day Four!

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The Samsung Galaxy Experience is pretty hard to beat and a great way to start Day Four. The tech giants are serving up Vital Shots juice drinks to help the weary SXSWer regain energy levels. They’re also doing demos of their new music service, Milk. Named so because it’s ‘organic’ not because cows like dancing. There’s a create-your-own-merch stand where you can design t-shirts, nab free headphones, crash out on VERY comfy sofas and scoff free grub.  Oh and a stage. (Everywhere has a stage.) Milk claims to be ‘The Next Big Thing In Music’, I’m starting to wonder which one of these music services is telling the truth…

Chevy is the official car of SXSW but Mazda is an official partner for legendary party throwers, Fader Fort. You can grab a ride there, make a mini movie, and of course there’s a car to marvel at once you’re inside the venue – if you’re bored of the music!? Apparently Mazda have been working on some other music activations which we’ll take a look at after South By.

It’s not just the tech brands that want to be associated with music in Austin. Food product, you don’t just want to be on shelves in every major supermarket. You NEED a stage / activation / presence at in Austin this week. Doritos do it, and do it bold. OREO’s have done it in 3D. And Subway have shown up this year but appear to be a few sandwiches short of the entertainment picnic; it’s always very quiet there.  (On a side note, the food trucks in Austin serve up the tastiest Brussels sprouts in the world. They’re deep fried and come with more calories than a Mars Bar.)  Other unusual partnerships include beauty brands St Ives and Revlon handing out freebies at The Pandora Stage. Because nothing says rock n’ roll like hand cream for dry skin.

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Which leads me to the topic of authenticity. ‘An artist should not be made to feel like they are sacrificing their integrity.’ Just one of the many points raised in a panel on brands and music this morning.  Why do some brands make brilliant music partnerships while others leave you wondering, what do these triangular shape crisps have to do with music? Essentially it all comes down to truth, integrity and starting of a partnership on the right foot – which is probably wearing Converse. You only have to glance in Red Bull’s direction to see how a drink brand has turned itself into one of the most respected names in the music biz.

With all these brand activations going down, surely it’s only a matter of time before someone sponsors some Downtown sleep pods? I could sure use a nap. But wait, there’s about 500 hundred gigs on tonight.

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