Ballroom Dancing

SXSW Panels

Ballroom Dancing
Photo By Gary Miller

A Field Guide to Indie Labels

Austin Convention Center, Wednesday, March 14

"Try to hold your resources as much as possible," Yep Roc founder Glenn Dicker pled. "Try to grow slowly and organically. Be patient." For this panel of indie-label big wigs, "organic" is the key word. Every label initially came out of a passion for music, but the question on everybody's minds is, said New West's Cameron Strang, "How do we go from being a record company to being a music company?" As the music industry becomes more digitalized, smaller labels are feeling the strain of spreading (and losing) their already-tight resources. The panelists waxed on tips for getting distribution and the importance of finding bands with "realistic expectations." On the flip side is being prudent about the capabilities of the label. "We've been making mistakes since day one," Matador head and Austinite Gerard Cosloy laughed as he spoke of his label's early naivete, overzealousness, and coping with "high-profile flame-outs" (guess who). At the end of the day, Saddle Creek's Robb Nansel admitted, "It's all about who you know."

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