Saturday, March 08, 2008

SXSW 2008: It's all about the, erm, hairgel commercials

An interesting take on SXSW from the Wall Street Journal. Sure, it's where exciting new bands gather to preen and show off... and then get co-opted to appear on a mobile phone ad:

Over its 22 years, South by Southwest has become the nation's biggest showcase for emerging music talent, speeding the ascent of stars like Amy Winehouse and the Strokes. The festival still plays host to edgy acts, from blistering heavy-metal bands to rock groups with unprintable names, all striving to impress critics, record labels and concert bookers. But increasingly the tone in Austin is being set by a new guard of talent scouts, especially those from industries like television and advertising who can score licensing deals for new music acts.

Yes, yes, we know: bands have got to eat. But it's a little disappointing that SXSW is turning into a barrel where they can be hoovered up like so many fish. It'd be nice to think that bands turn up on advertisements because someone has made an emotional connection between track and product; this is more akin to a ad-track Amsterdam, where bands sit in the windows hoping for passing trade.


Joris said...

but why would you need to see a band perform live if you're looking for music for your tv ad or hbo series?

simon h b said...

I think it's more you know you need a tune for an advert, and so you wander round until you find a band that sounds like it's doing a soundtrack for your product, rather than thinking "I'd like Holy Fuck to be used on my Poptarts commercial, I better go and see them live."

Joris said...

still, listening to the mp3's on the sxsw site sounds like a cheaper way than trekking all the way to austin. less fun, too. i kinda see their point...

sven945 said...

But seeing a band live can make you rethink your first opinions of a band. I've lost count of the number of times I've listened to a track by a band who I'm seeing supporting someone later and I've thought the track was fairly mediocre, but I've really enjoyed them live. Then the track seems to sound far better on a second listen on myspace.

However, when you're looking for songs to immediately grab people into buying the cleaning fluid that you're advertising, my above point becomes completely invalid.

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