Tuned Out! 2 – Artists Rights Management
This episode, John Foley and Griffin Matthews sit down to discuss sxsw, artists rights management, and just what it’s like to be an artist.
Tune in to Tuned Out!
DJ Iron Mic hit up SXSW last month and brought us back these goodies!
Off the Record: Deniro Farrar
WARNING: EXPLICIT CONTENT. LISTENER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
DJ Iron Mic met up with WKNC fav Deniro Farrar to talk about gentrification, musical influences, and the NC hip hop community.
Off the Record: Chris Rivers
DJ Iron Mic met up with Chris Rivers at the Monster Outbreak House at SXSW, and discussed his role as a new artist in New York hip hop, and how the legacy of his father impacts that role. They also touched on where his artistic sound stands in comparison to the sound of current commercial hip hop, his outside the box musical influences, and future projects and tour dates.
Last month I had the pleasure of traveling to Austin, TX and attending a few day parties at South by South West!
SXSW day parties are a series of unofficial shows put on by various sponsors during the festival. These showcases are great for those like me who were unable to purchase a music pass as they are open to the general public and free to attend. (much like Hopscotch music festival’s day parties).
Every business in the city of Austin seemed to get into the swing of the Festival from venues like Spider house, pizza places like 100 Pizzitas even people’s homes become venues for the week.
Although I only attended three days and I should mention couldn’t go to every show I desired because of my age, (I’d say this festival is not the most under drinking age friendly) I was able to see good range of artists and fall in love with that southern city.
Here’s a photographic overview of a few places I went, and artists I saw.
Alex G. A WKNC favorite, this Low-fi band never disappoints live. Among many other places they played at outdoor venue Space 24Twenty which was sponsored by Urban Outfitters.
City of The Sun. Probably the most magical and unexpected performance I attended while in Austin. I had known the acoustic post rock band would be in Austin for the festival, but was bummed the only shows I could find were for pass holders only. To my surprise while walking into downtown I found them busking under a bridge.
Kississippi. I had no idea what “Eden House” was when I got the address for the Funeral sounds/Broken world media sponsored show only to find myself in someone’s cleared out living room to see the heartfelt indy-pop band among other artists.
Happy Abandon. Got a taste of back home seeing this Chapel Hill Indy band in Austin. Playing at 100 Pizzitas a pizza shop whose view of Downtown Austin’s skyline was as beautiful as their melodic sound.
Netherfriends. This solo project by Shawn Rosenblatt as he explicitly describes as “blues trap” undoubtedly wins the most unsettling performance I have seen.. ever. With a combination of rude humor, crude dancing, and technical difficulties although I had previously enjoyed his recordings its a wonder how he landed shows at SXSW.
Mother Falcon. These Austin natives put on their own showcase, “All the friends ball” where they invited bands from the area and nationally which they’ve developed relations with to play a day show at Spider house Cafe a beautiful outdoor venue, bar and restaurant. Although their set was cut short because of time restrictions this 15 piece orchestral folk band blew me away.
And the Kids. This upbeat indie-pop trio from Massachusetts played at And the Friends ball showcase at Spiderhouse Ballroom along with a deer they claimed to have “rescued.”
– DJ Whatsherface
6th Street in Austin, TX is the city’s main drag, with countless bars and quick food spots. Every single one of those bars has the ability to turn itself into a live music venue. During SXSW, a sizable portion of 6th is cut off from traffic, giving festival goers the ability to walk the streets freely. It’s wild, fun, and everything a festival goer would need to tell great stories when they get home. However, as Music Week comes to a close on Friday and Saturday, it turns into an open market for hopeful rappers, this year more than last.
About a million people descend onto Austin, TX for SXSW each year, so it’s a no-brainer for unsigned or unknown artists to gather their entourage and make themselves known to potential followers. Most of those bars on 6th Street are available for booking unofficial SXSW showcases, which many artists take advantage of.
That’s not the problem. I actually commend that type of persistence in artists.
The problem is there was a surprising amount of rappers who weren’t even booked for the unofficial shows, out on 6th, with their whole neighborhood flexing on everyone who walked by. They were either handing out free CDs, doing a little cypher, or standing around with big signs emblazoned with their stage names and pictures. What the f#*k are y’all doing? Seriously.
CDs are a dead medium, and 99.9% of people who get one handed to them throw them on the street when they get out of sight (the streets are literally covered in CDs). Not to mention, who is even carrying around a Discman anymore? If you’re handing out free CDs at an event like SX, you’re expecting drunk people from out of town to care about your music enough to bring it home with them and play it in their car. Probably not gonna happen fam. However, if you were lucky, click on this Noisey link. Maybe they reviewed one of your mixtapes.
On two occasions I walked past a crew not handing out CDs, but standing around with signs for a rapper. I was trying to read the social media handle associated with the artist they were promoting and got, “Yo whatchu starin’ at son?” Now I’m not a writer for Rolling Stone, or an A&R at Universal, but my title as the Urban Music Director at a well-known college radio station is definitely not something to shrug at. Actually, at a SX panel session about promoting music on college campuses, Frank DeCicco, Senior Director of College Marketing at Sony Music Entertainment, and Todd Goodwin, Vice President of College & Lifestyle Marketing at Universal Music Group, said that college stations are still the number 1… I’ll say it again, NUMBER 1 outlet that consumers use to find out about new artists. So the mean mugging street team literally told one of the very few people who could help them on 6th Street, not to stare at their advertisement. Sigh.
To the artists on 6th Street: All of this nonsense displays a below average hustle game. Pressing CDs in bulk is expensive. The only reason an artist should be pressing CDs is for promotional use, to be distributed to actual media outlets, and possibly selling them at your shows. Also, printing can get up to a few hundred dollars for large signs and posters that will end up being torn down by city sanitation hours after you leave. None of these promotional materials will translate into revenue for your brand.
With all that money spent, an artist could invest in hiring a real publicist, a legitimate promotion campaign, and a music badge for SXSW. Those would provide more than enough outreach to media outlets and listeners. Going to sessions alone at SX gives you a year’s worth of networking. Seriously, everyone you need to meet is there.
With all this said, rappers please put more thought into who you let represent your work, and don’t waste your time at SX; make it count. There are too many opportunities abound to be posted on the block in a city that you’re not even from. Isn’t that the life you’re trying to get away from anyway?
However I did see one exception… the dude in the above picture. He had all of 6th Street going crazy by setting up a PA system and doing a show out in the middle of the street. Good for you bruh. Then again, I couldn’t find out who he was from anyone, so there’s a lesson to be learned in that too. If anyone knows who he is, email me at email@example.com because he was dope.
Missed out on SX this year? Made it to SX, but already miss the heck out of it? Don’t worry, DJ Iron Mic’s got you!
Click here to listen!
Chill Moody – November Funk
$ave Dat Money – Lil Dicky feat. Fetty Wap
Ready – Chaz French feat. Goldlink
The Pessimist – Wale feat. J. Cole
Shards – GRRL
Antidote – Travis Scott
Clearest Blue – CHVRCHES
L$D – A$AP Rocky
New Level – A$AP Ferg feat. Future
The Waters – Anderson .Paak feat. BJ the Chicago Kid
Who Dey Rockin Wit – Trae tha Truth feat. Yo Gotti
Law – Yo Gotti feat. E-40
Top – Lil Uzi Vert
Bounce – Flatbush Zombies
Victory Laps – Doomstarks
Ready or Not – Fugees
Where U Been? – 2 Chainz feat. Cap 1
Live at the Barbecue – Main Source feat. Nas
We Takin Over – DJ Khaled feat. T.I., Fat Joe, Akon, Lil Wayne, & Birdman
N.Y. State of Mind – Nas
Lonely Cities – Tigertown
I Wanna Be Your Dog – The Stooges
Changes – Charles Bradley
2 Phones – Kevin Gates
The Seed 2.0 – The Roots feat. Cody Chestnut
O.P.P. – Naughty by Nature
Lights On – Big Grams
ATLiens – Outkast
Blow the Whistle – Too $hort
Ready – Joey Bada$$
Knock Tha Hustle – Cozz feat. J. Cole
Fire – Vince Staples
Sanity – Boulevards
Go – Domo Genesis
Bust it Open – Scotty ATL feat. B.o.B.
Boom Clap – Charli XCX
Cherchez LaGhost – Ghostface Killah feat. U-God
It G Ma (Remix) – Keith Ape feat. A$AP Ferg, Father, Wacka Flocka Flame, and Dumbfounded
All The Way Up – Fat Joe feat. French Monatana
Good Knight – Kirk Knight feat. Joey Bada$$, Flatbush Zombies, & Dizzy Wright
Talib Kweli – Get By
From artists as obscure as Chill Moody and Tiger Town, to superstars like Nas and 2 Chainz, SXSW 2016 supplied days upon days of amazing performances. This is just the beginning of everything I got to experience on my trip to Austin.
Khaled and Chainz
AUSTIN, TX – Days after President Obama came to Texas to speak at the tech portion of SXSW, Michelle Obama, accompanied by a panel of female superstars led by Queen Latifah, rapper Missy Elliot, songwriter Diane Warren, and actress Sophia Bush; spoke as the keynote to kickoff SXSW Music Week, Wednesday morning.
The focus of Obama’s speech was on her “Let Girls Learn” initiative, a program that aims to help improve education quality for the 62 million girls around the world who aren’t in school for various reasons. The panel also spoke about the new single that was recorded to promote Let Girls Learn, “This is For My Girls,” featuring Zendaya, Kelly Rowland, Lea Michele, Kelly Clarkson, Janelle Monae, and recent Parkwood Entertainment signees Chloe and Halle.
All of the panelists spoke about their experiences as women who never gave up on their goals, but emphasized that men and women should be allies in the effort to help women around the world. “There are a lot of ‘men only’ tables out there,” said Obama, “and if you want to strengthen your organization you have to bring women to the table as well.”
Obama cited economic reasons such as, countries with a larger population of educated women having stronger GDPs; and Queen Latifah pointed out that when women are able to be included in the professional workspace, it creates the ability to handle issues from a broader perspective.
Being that it was a music conference, the ladies also spoke about the artists they listened to growing up. Queen Latifah gave the most detailed response, talking about her experiences as the only girl in her crew as a young rapper and how that was a good experience for her because there was no sexism, just collaboration.
The First Lady wrapped up her speech with a couple questions from the audience, one of which created quite a stir. She was asked whether or not she would run for President. She unfortunately declined the possibility, stating that she’s had a wholesome experience as First Lady, and that it wouldn’t be fair for her family, especially her two daughters that are entering young adulthood. However, she did admit that she’ll miss being in the White House, and that she’ll miss helping and working with young people.
In a political climate where the loudest opinions always seem to be passionately against the Obamas, the First Lady’s discussion in Austin was in front of a friendly crowd that most likely wouldn’t exist outside of the city’s limits. She seemed relaxed and at home, which is fitting for a conference like SXSW where work and fun intersect every day, and stood as a perfect way to usher in the greatest music festival of the year.
-DJ Iron Mic