Music Day Five at SXSW


It may have started out raining in Austin, but the music is still pouring! And so long as your GoPro is in a protective case you’re all good!

SEE music. Don’t just hear it! That’s the deal with GoPro, and everyone seems to be shooting on them.

The Cedar Courtyard is a great little venue and is doing cool stuff with the pocket-sized camera. Last year Bastille front man Dan Smith scared the four letter words out of the security guys by climbing the stage scaffolding. This year Filter Magazine teamed up with GoPro to provide some of the best entertainment on the streets of Austin.

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This brand partnership goes together like frozen and margarita. At Cedar you can watch live music, but in a way you’ve never seen before. There are cameras strategically placed on the stage and on instruments with a live feed on a big screen behind the band. Doesn’t always result in the prettiest angles for the singer, but it sure makes for an entertaining view point – especially when the drummer is wearing a camera.

Meanwhile in the Convention Centre, there’s talk on brands being tastemakers. Which obviously they are, but it’s how they distribute their ideas that seems to matter.

I asked the Brand Manager of Corona USA if brands are the new A&R, how long is it until they follow the lead of Red Bull and start their own record labels. ‘We’re not a music house. We just want to make sure that we’re relevant,’ and went to explain they have partnerships with Sony and Warner. But how long will it be ‘relevant’ merely to align oneself with music rather than distribute and own it too?

David Hargis of Verve Life said to be a ‘taste-maker you have to create or curate music.’ Which goes some way to explain why some brand activations at SXSW have not worked this year – that’s no strategy behind a logo placement.  ‘You can’t just stick your logo on something anymore. It has to be deeper than that,’ said Kerry Doyle of Team Detroit.  Austin is drowning in irrelevant logos this week.

Brand partnerships have to mean something, they have to tell a story, and have to feel right. Which links to yesterday’s point about authenticity. Perhaps some brands showing their faces at SXSW this year will work on their music strategies to make 2015’s Austin appearance more meaningful. SUB-way anyone?


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