Bands, Brands, and Backlash

Today's industry update features a couple of pieces from the New York Times that cast a critical eye on the current state of affairs betweent he worlds of music and corporate sponsorship. 

The first, by Jon Pareles makes note of the increase corporate creep at SXSW this year:

"It was, in a way, the income-inequality debate carried into the realm of attention: The tiny fraction of a percentage of performers who have made it big were grabbing even more exposure away from the struggling majority."

Read more here:

The next is a critique of the co-branding ventures now regularly engaged in by corporations and music artists. In this piece, David Carr notes the increasing corporatization of the festival. He takes aim specifically at Lady Gaga, who performed at a special, contest winner-only event set up in conjunction with Doritos:

"Her actions — to happily shill for Doritos, then deliver a lecture on the importance of independent thought — perfectly encapsulate the conflicted state of the industry.

Read more here:

And to top it all off, we have Lady Gaga herself devivering the Keynote Address, wherein she talks about her views on sponsorship:




The experience of being onstage in front of a crowd of drunken revelers is unique and terrifying. There’s a reason drink tickets are standard currency for the legions of touring bands that pull up to one of the thousands of venues in America, lugging Marshall stacks and smelling like a stranger’s cat. But being onstage playing music has an undeniable thrill and that’s why we do it.

However, setting up your gear is another matter entirely. And if you’re in the unfortunate position of not having a road crew, you can feel the prying eyes of ten to twelve jealous local know-it-alls glaring your way as you carefully unpack your cables and guitar, as you hit the snare drum a few times just to make sure it is, in fact, still a snare drum, and  as you search for the house bass rig’s power switch.

You aren’t wrong to think those eyes are judging you, because they most likely are. It’s not based on your clothes or your hair or what shoes you’re wearing. It’s actually solely based on the size of your pedalboard. Unbeknownst to most, the size of one’s pedalboard speaks volumes. Let's look at some real world examples, shall we?


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Nova Scotian Musicians to Showcase at SXSW

(March 11, 2014, Halifax, NS) Nova Scotia will be in full force at this year’s South By South West Music Conference and Festival (SXSW) as four of the province’s finest acts will perform during an afternoon showcase for music industry heavy weights. This SXSW exposure allows artists to make valuable business relationships that can help further their careers in the industry.
The showcase will be held on March 13, 2014 from 12pm to 3pm CST at Canada House (Friends Bar) in Austin, TX. 
Since starting in 1987, SXSW has blossomed into one of the world’s most inventive and interactive festivals. Specifically, SXSW is a cultural hub for the music, film and technology industries as it draws over 16,000 registrants from across the globe. The event provides an opportunity to promote Nova Scotia’s diverse music industry and some of its most exciting exporting artists.
Scott Long, Executive Director of Music Nova Scotia, sees an industry event like SXSW as a critical component of a successful creative industries export strategy. 
“The importance of SXSW as a driver for international business development in the creative industries can not be overstated. SXSW is the international meeting place for the music, film, and digital sectors,” he says. “The Ivany Commission report clearly states that exporting is essential to the future economic growth of Nova Scotia. Showcasing our creative assets at industry events such as SXSW allows Nova Scotians working in the creative industries to be competitive as exporters, to be confident in our product offering and to communicate our unique story on an international stage.” 
Acts that will be performing at the Nova Scotia SXSW showcase include Gloryhound, Ghettosocks, In-Flight Safety and Rich Aucoin. Not only will this showcase give artists opportunities to make music industry connections, it also motivates them to work harder at their careers.
“It goes beyond money. It's important for every band to get the reality checks found at SXSW,” says Jason Burns, manager for Rich Aucoin. “Most of the time when bands come back from a festival like SXSW they have a new fire burning underneath them and they take their art more seriously.”
The Nova Scotia SXSW showcase is a partnership between Music Nova Scotia, Halifax Pop Explosion, Film & Creative Industries Nova Scotia, ACOA and FACTOR
For more information, visit:


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