DJ Bunny Ears and Dan Gross take on SXSW 2019
SXSW, the epic two week Austin extravaganza that plays out each March, hosts an unending array of panel discussions and keynote presentations. You can find conference emphasis on Interactive Media, Film, Music…and now Gaming too.
Your faithful music producers DJ Bunny Ears and Dan Gross went to SXSW Music this year to participate in the mentorship program and build relationships across industries while discovering music new and old. Attending this fest is just like participating in the ultimate speed dating of artists and business peeps. We’re grateful we’re able to go! In 5 days, each of us saw well over 30 bands and reconnected with music business allies from a wide range of countries. That's pretty remarkable. Bunny even rode in an elevator with and got to know Redman a bit. And we both DJ’d the BMI Brunch at the Four Seasons Hotel on Friday morning to about 750 attendees.
The conference provided the usual how-to’s and tips, but we found lots of gems too. Some music panels melded data and art, exploring the relationship between metrics and A&R. Mastercard’s CMO Raja Rajamannar joined a conversation with Björn Ulvaeus of Abba and shared sonic branding executions, and also gave a presentation on Storytelling through Tech and Experiences. Hotel ballrooms hosted a wide array of fresh VR experiences too.
In the past, many thought this festival got too big. The saturation of big bands and multinational brands made music discovery tough and the brand atmosphere cluttered. But big artist headliners and brands largely skipped out this year. Even expected brands like Spotify and Netflix pulled their activations down by mid-week, when the Music Conference days hit their stride, and notable music presences like Apple Music, Pandora, and TuneIn skipped entirely (though Apple Music has been a rare participant over the years).
The artists that played this year seemed more accessible than in years past, as lineup curation reflected more discovery and less recognizable chart toppers. Listen to some of our favorite discoveries in the playlist at the top of this post.