Do a 360 Deal With Yourself

SXSW Panels

Ballroom Dancing
Photo by Gary Miller

Do a 360 Deal with Yourself

Austin Convention Center, Thursday, March 19

Like Wednesday's panel on the Artist as Entrepreneur, the emphasis of Thursday's Do a 360 Deal With Yourself discussion was less on artists' abilities to harness the current deluge of digital tools themselves than the capabilities to properly build a team in support of their goals. Moderated by Ian Rogers of Topspin Media, who opened declaring, "With a lot of choice comes a lot of responsibility," the panel attempted to balance the worth of traditional, label-based models with the DIY possibilities of the digital age. Artists John Wesley Harding and Dresden Doll Amanda Palmer added levity to their experienced advice, forwarding that major labels may have their place for some artists simply for their manpower but that artists then become bound to the labels' plans and strategies rather than labels facilitating the bands'. Yet as Nettwerk Management's Christopher Moon stressed, the relationship between bands and their fans is now more about quality than quantity, and artists' strategies need to reflect that precision. As this panel epitomized, the excitement that energized many of the previous years' South by Southwest discussions on the self-promoting possibilities of emerging technologies for artists seem to have shifted this year to a recognition that artists are overwhelmed, and customized companies are finally forming to accommodate their more individual goals, business partners working to realize a band's strategy rather than dictate it.

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