SXSW 2011 was a busy seven days for 7digital!
VP of North America Vickie Nauman attended both the Interactive and Music portion of SXSW and had the great pleasure of talking to start ups, consumer electronics companies RIM and Toshiba, artist-to-fan services, live performance social apps, music discovery services, gaming companies, and streaming services who are all using the 7digital platform. “Music has become so complex that it doesn’t make sense for most companies to do their own licensing or set up a secure platform, especially if they want a broad international service. All of these innovative companies are instead focusing on creating their own best in class user experience, and relying on 7digital’s API to take care of the rest,” Nauman commented.
Once the Music portion of SXSW began, Nauman was joined by Anna Siegel, who manages the US and Canadian 7digital.com stores. She met with labels and artists throughout the week and had the opportunity to film interviews and performances for the site. SXSW Music always proves to be a spectacular setting for new music discovery, particularly fostered by the label and distributor day showcases of new artists. Recorded music was not forgotten by Sony Music Group, who invited 7digital for a lovely preview listening session of their exciting upcoming releases. 7digital partnered up with the UK Trade and Investment to host an official SXSWi showcase at the British Music Embassy and enjoyed a Great British Breakfast in Austin. While the interactive portion of the festival continues to outgrow the music portion – bringing many new faces and discussions to the event – companies that bridge the two fields are finding new ways to interact with potential partners and existing contacts. This was encouraged by two very successful music tech meet-ups held by Rdio and Topspin. Jack White was out and about promoting the legacy of physical album sales through his mobile records store van, spotted by the 7digital team one late night in Austin.
Vickie Nauman spoke on two panels – one SXSW Interactive panel with British innovator ARM, discussing the future of mobile payments, and another called “Music Plus Devices – What Works?” during SXSW Music, which included representatives from Toshiba, Sonos, and Qualcomm. This was a great discussion about the importance and complexity around enabling music in your favorite laptop, smart phone, or tablet. With these panel speakers we heard examples of what it takes to make a successful partnership between digital content services, mobile, car and home devices, and platforms in a positive discussion about the future of the music business.
Quote from Brian Foster (Sr Mgr Business Dev, Alliances Mktg Toshiba America) during the panel, “There are three criteria for a good partnership between a consumer electronics and a music company – First, you need a solution consumers want – and people want music. Second, you want to work with a company that is well-established in the market – 7digital is working with Toshiba in all of our key territories. Third, you want a partner with a lot of proven experience and expertise.”
Vickie’s favorite live performances of SXSW 2011: The Black Angels (big dark rock sound from Austin TX), The Soundtrack of our Lives (Sweden), Bright Light Social Hour (amazing 20 year olds from Austin channeling psychedelic garage rock), supremely infectious performers Fitz and the Tantrums (from Silver Lake’s Dangerbird Records), The Naked and Famous (New Zealand), Alejandro Escovedo and his full orchestra, DeVotchKa in the new ACL Live hall, Duff McKagan’s acoustic set, North Mississippi All Stars, Charles Bradley, Surfer Blood, Chapel Club, Jonquil, and finally… a brand new discovery, San Diego’s Dynamite Walls.
Anna’s favorite live performances of SXSW 2011: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Yuck, Dirty Beaches, La Sera, Charles Bradley, Toro Y Moi, Chikita Violenta (Mexico), Francisca Valenzuela (Chile), Bun B w. Erykah Badu, James Blake (UK), Mother Mother (Canada), The Chapin Sisters, Khaira Arby (Mali) and Charles Bradley.