SXSW '10

Well, as you can tell by the title of this most recent offering, it's South by Southwest or SXSW time again. I completely blew the deadline to get an act onto one of the stages, so I won't be performing this year. I am, however, in the thick of things as I work on 6th st here in Austin, TX right in the heart of where everything is happening. I have to say that I have noticed that this years lineup of industry people look pretty overly serious and beleaguered. Some are obviously just overly serious, hipster, and self righteous, and to each his own. The ones that frighten me, however, are the downcast, jaded, non-hip industry crowd that are serious for another reason. Of course that reason is because they are spending their last dollars to showcase their indie labels band(s). I've seen it time and time again. I sometimes sit and wonder what happened to the sheer joy that makes people get into music for their livelihood, and then of course I remember the current state of affairs of the industry. It is increasingly difficult for artists with bands, and bands for that matter, to make a living doing what they love. And that goes for the record exec as well. We live in a time when the label/artist is expected to put out a top dollar product only to be given away for free in a lot of cases. Name another industry where that happens. Aside from film. So perhaps the overly seriousness comes from the fact that they are laying out a ton of cash with no certainty of a return, and for some that means a cash outlay on a showcase and advertising at the expense of a car or house payment this month. For that I am frightened. Not because I am in that position, but because that could be me very easily. But perhaps 2010 is the year that things turn around for the industry and we have another boom like back in the late '80's and early '90's and maybe the amount of product given away free will turn into dollars that will fuel the industry and make real artists again. Thoughts?

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