Labels

Well, my phone ate this last time, but I've got a free moment so I guess I'll type it all over again. [ Shakes angry fist. ]

It's fairly easy to become informed of the official SXSW events due to the main site's descriptions, mp3s, and the torrents. But that's only stuff after 7pm: finding out about the unofficial events, which are easily 2/3rds of it, is much harder because there is no centralized repository.

It seems like most of those events are label showcases, and I've had decent luck by showing up for one band that I've heard of and then staying for the later bands who turn out to be good.

This surprises me, though, because I tend to assume that these days, labels are as irrelevant as tastemakers as radio, or as which plant pressed your CD.

And yet evidence suggests (slightly) to the contrary here...

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7 Responses:

  1. whump says:

    wcities.com had a comprehensive event listing last year, including all the label showcases, at least via their XML api, I'd need to check to see if the website version (eventseekr) provides it again.

    http://austin-tx.eventseekr.com/#!Clubs is the current web listing, but I don't see the label showcases this time around, and that page is going to be a pita to use on your iPhone. (just tried it, yes, completely unusable and WCities wants you to use their app instead.)

    The SxSW event feed is a good acid test for a calendar app, site or service.

  2. Lokaen says:

    I cannot speak for genres outside of metal, but it is the case there that as labels become more numerous, smaller, are expected to do far less for a band, and get much much easier to get signed onto, a label functions less as someones business venture and more as a mutual musical appreciation club.

    • cd says:

      It's pretty much the same in some of the more esoteric parts of electronic music - you know that a label generally publishes bands with sounds in one or a few styles (see eg Hands Productions: mostly powernoise/harsh industrial and soundscapey electronica/ambient), so you can usually assume that if you like other bands on the label, a new band is probably at least worth a listen.

  3. uh says:

    forgive me if this is painfully stupid or fi there's an obvious reason why not, but, given your problems booking bands at DNA, have you considered trying to book these bands that you like at SXSW directlyi? giving them a business card and a "call me" hand-gesture-to-the-head or whatever (or "call %person% and we'll make it happen sometime" etc)

    • jwz says:

      Because putting on a successful show is not as simple as writing a check and opening the doors. It's actually a nontrivially-skilled job. For which I have been unable to hire someone competent. See the last 10 years of the DNA blog for details.

  4. Phill says:

    My girlfriend runs a label in the electronic scene.

    Labels, good labels at least, do a ton of work. She takes over all the marketing and publicity for new releases and bankrolls mastering fees, tour stops and even physical printing of records.

    Naturally, she's no where near breaking even - but they clearly provide a service.

    • jwz says:

      I didn't say they don't provide a service. CD pressing plants also provide a service. Not everybody has a duplicator, or knows how to write a press release.