Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

SXSW 2008 – Tuesday, the quiet before the storm

It’s the day before it all kicks off. Bands have already begun to arrive in dribs and drabs, but the real invasion gets underway on Wednesday. As you walk around the city, venues which are only used for music shows …

Wed, Mar 12, 2008, 14:37

   

It’s the day before it all kicks off. Bands have already begun to arrive in dribs and drabs, but the real invasion gets underway on Wednesday. As you walk around the city, venues which are only used for music shows for one week a year have roadies and production people running around looking very busy. Every single possible area which could hold a stage has been pressed into service. Last year, I ended up at a gig in a garden centre out in east Texas so I must check out that one again. I mean, I could do with a new cactus plant for my own garden.

Both SXSW’s interactive and film fests are winding down. I spent a couple of hours wandering around the convention centre, checking out a few panels at the interactive fest. Two chinwags about blogging – The Future of Corporate Blogging and Bloggers Who Made It – were serious yawnfests. I think I’d have got better etertainment out of scrutinising my belly-fluff.

The one panel which did zing was How Piracy Will Save the Music Industry. On one side, you had Jason Schwartz from digital music label Robber Baron Music, who take a very pro-active role to working with the pirates to promote and market his acts. On the other side, you had Randy Saaf from MediaDefender Inc, a company who provide internet piracy prevention technologies. As far as the room was concerned, this was a battle between good and evil. Schwartz provided a fascinating rundown on how music and movies get pirated and the pyramid taking the pirated content from The Scene who do the initial pirating right through private IRC sites down to public P2P networks. He also ran through how a label such as his could use piracy channels to promote one of their acts. Saaf explained how his company flooded the P2P networks with fake files to confuse everyone. To be honest, he didn’t really have much else to say. When the panel moved to questions from the floor, I felt a little sorry for Saaf as every single person with a question had a go at him and his company. Pity he didn’t ask all those techie geeks in the room how they would feel if their own work was pirated.

I then decided to go to do my bit for the record industry and went to Waterloo Records. It’s the best record shop in town bcause it has an amazing spread of stock and cheap-as-chips prices, especially if you have an euro credit card.

The band business begins today. More reports tomorrow.

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