L4M @ SXSW: The “Interactive” Experience

It’s off to another SXSW for us at L4M.  This year will be the first in 5 where we will not hosting a showcase.  Without necessarily meaning to, we seem to be have identified with a global trend:  Is Southby really worth it anymore? 

There have been numerous editorials, blogs, tweets etc. that have dismissed SXSW as washed up, too corporate, EXPENSIVE, and too cluttered.  I think I agree with the last three.

In preliminary discussions with our partners in Austin it became painfully clear that if we wanted to continue with the L4M showcase at the same magnitude as the years past, we would have to partner (i.e. get money from) several companies and probably become an “official showcase”.  While that was a possibility, partnering and becoming official means that you cannot choose your roster, venue or time slot.  Not sure why we would host a showcase with artists we don’t work with at a location we have not selected ourselves.  If we were just hosting a party to host a party it would make sense, but our purpose has always been to showcase our artists and give them a platform to express themselves in front of an audience of fans and industry folks.  With the number of large companies and sponsors and limited quality venues, our goal seemed unattainable.

This year we are heading down for interactive to see if the popular claim: “You can actually get business done at Interactive” rings true.  So far (after two days) it has become apparent that interactive really means plugged in; as in plugged into any electrical outlet.  While there are amazing entrepreneurs here, it is hard to have an actual conversation with anyone as the vast majority of attendees are “interacting” with their handheld devices, laptops (L4M is guilty of this) or other new dew hickey.   Definitely some cool stuff here, but hard to really feel connected (other than to an outlet).

More to come…

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