With SXSW 2017 kicking off this week, we thought it would be cool to offer our friend Debbie Stanley’s “Stress-Free SXSW Kit” infographic, covering everything an indie artist or band will need during their time in Austin for health and comfort, communication, and overall preparedness.
Heading to SXSW 2017 this week? Prepare for sensory overload! So many unique and exciting places to grab a bite/drink, catch a show, or dig in the crates. Regardless of your busy schedule, it’s likely to include at least a little bit of downtime, so we thought it’d be cool to build on our “Local Picks” blog from SXSW 2016. (We’ve peppered in some selections from last year into this one, too!)
Austin local and our own Manager of Entertainment Relations Amy Lombardi linked up with some TuneCore Artists and music industry folks who also call Austin home and asked them about their favorite spots around town. Because trust us, you always get the best digs from folks who know the area inside and out.
[Editors Note: if you see it listed more than once, you better check it out!]
Chris Thomas – C3 Management
Favorite Music Venues: Stubb’s Tacos: Tyson’s Margaritas: Curra’s and Polvo’s BBQ: La Barbecue, Micklethwait, Franklin Queso: Torchy’s and Polvo’s Record Store: Waterloo Music Store: Austin Vintage Guitars
Colin Campbell of Strange Fiction
Music Venue: Empire Garage has recently taken the cake for amazing FOH, on-stage sound and great lights. Tacos: Not super close to downtown, but Tyson’s Tacos on Airport Blvd is always a winner. They make lots of crazy taco combinations, if you’re into that sort of thing (one personal favorite is The Pharr East). On top of that they have free beer on Fridays and give one free taco for every song you sing with the ukulele. Queso and Margaritas:El Chile on Manor Road. Get the Queso Flameado. It’s different from your typical liquid queso, but after having this style I will never go back to the cheese soup…which I know is blasphemy to say in a town like Austin. While you’re there, you might as well have a few margaritas, too. BBQ: John Mueller’s truck on East 6th. The lines aren’t usually as bad as other local landmarks, and the brisket is amazing. Also for a bit classier BBQ experience, Lambert’s downtown is solid. They also have a pretty incredible, though pricey, brunch. Music Store: Austin Vintage is hard to beat with a drool-worthy selection of vintage guitars and amps, and plenty of effects to play around with.
Matt Reilly, KUTX Program Director
Favorite Music Venues: ACL Live, Cactus Café, Paramount (they are all seated venues – a huge bonus for me) Tacos: Julios Margaritas: Guero’s (because they’re small and you can drink a lot of them) BBQ: Ruby’s (NOT Rudy’s) Queso: Maudies (Diablo Sol Food is amazing) Record Store: Waterloo Records Music Store: Strait Music
Alexander Beggins of Wild Child
Music Venues: Cheer Up Charlies is my hometown hangout. Always put on great shows and it has a great atmosphere. Tacos: Simply cannot beat Tacodeli breakfast tacos in my opinion. Pro tip: Get the green sauce. Margaritas or Micheladas: Polvos for margs and Hotel San Jose for micheladas. I crave the michelada from Hotel San Jose all the time. It’s a first stop when I get home from the road. BBQ: Freedman’s BBQ in West Campus. It’s all the rage in my book. Queso: It’s not queso but it’s an app so I’m going to say it: the spicy chili edamame from Madam Mam’s is mind-blowing. Record Stores: Waterloo always and forever. Music Store: Fidler’s Green.
Emily Bolf, Digital Director – ACLTV
Favorite Music Venues: ACL Live, 3Ten, Scoot Inn, Broken Spoke Tacos: Veracruz All Natural (get migas tacos with a Skinny smoothie) Margaritas: Maudie’s: Gill’s margarita, also Guero’s house margarita on the rocks with salt BBQ: Super secret best ribs in town are at Cafe Mueller at 51st St. HEB Queso: Polvo’s ChoriQueso Record Store: Waterloo Records Music Store: South Austin Music; Soundcheck Austin for gear rental and rehearsal space
Lauren Bucherie, Director of Music – Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
Favorite Music Venues: As a music fan, having ACL Moody Theater right down the street is a dream come true. There’s no other venue in the world you can see acts like Radiohead, Beck, Coldplay, or Kendrick Lamar with only 2,000 other people. Acts like this sell out arenas, but will stop everything to play Austin City Limits LIVE. It’s so rad. For smaller, local shows – beyond our club (Geraldine’s), I love C Boys Heart and Soul and Antone’s. Tacos: Depending on my mood and time of day: Torchy’s, Taco Deli, or El Taquito. The last one is a new hidden gem that I’m hesitant to even mention because I want them all to myself. Margaritas: I have several, very specific, favorites. The coconut frozen marg from Sazon, the mexican martini from Austin Land & Cattle, and the mango habenero margarita from Takoba. BBQ: The brisket from Franklin’s really is life-changing. It’s worth the hype in the unique way most things aren’t. The crispy wild boar ribs from Lambert’s are also amazing. Queso: Top three quesos in order: El Taquito, Torchy’s, Magnolia Cafe (mag mud). Record Store: Waterloo for new releases, Antone’s for rare finds (especially jazz and soul). Music Store: I shot a music video with Delta Rae once in South Austin Music store and it was one of the most fun afternoons I’ve ever spent. Since I’m not musical in the tactile sense, I don’t usually frequent music stores unless it’s something like that.
Johnny Sarkis – Sound on Sound Fest, Barracuda Club
Favorite Music Venues: Barracuda. I’m one of the owners, so pfffft. Ginny’s Little Longhorn. Tacos: Tacomore on Riverside next to the new Emo’s. Total Favorite. Margaritas: El Chile on Manor BBQ: Mickelthwait Craft Meats Queso: I’m the wrong guy to ask on this one. Record Store: End of an Ear Music Store: Austin Vintage Guitars
V. Marc Fort, Digital Media Specialist – Texas Music Office, Office of the Governor
Favorite Music Venues: Spider House Ballroom – This 300 capacity, red-curtain adorned venue is so perfectly intimate that you feel like every show there is a special secret show. From The Soundtrack of Our Lives, to Ronnie Spector, to The Cynics, to hometown heroes The Black Angels and Roky Erickson, the Spider House Café and Ballroom bookings are some of the best in Austin. And since the club is far from “Dirty Sixth”, you can avoid the punters and the weekend amateurs vomiting on your shoes, etc.
I also love the Continental Club (including their tiny upstairs Continental Club Gallery venue). Garage Rock, R&B, Soul, old-school Country, the through line of their disparate, eclectic bookings is just sincere, authentic music from the heart.
Tacos: The “Taco Tuesday” special tacos at Counter Culture Restaurant. 52 different delicious and creative taco specials a year: Teriyaki Jackfruit BBQ, Jerk Seitan & Greens, Ethiopian Beans & Squash, Asian BBQ…it’s insane how good these tacos are. The fact they’re all vegan is just an added bonus that your arteries and your heart will appreciate.
And any other day of the week, Counter Culture has Butternut Squash Tacos on their regular menu: spiced butternut squash scrambled with dried cranberries and cilantro, topped with walnut chorizo & chili sauce, served on collard greens!
Margaritas: Polvo’s tops my list for their delicious, affordable and strong margaritas. Additionally, their chips & salsa bar is the best in town and is the perfect match for an extended margarita happy hour session. La Condesa wins the day if your in the mood for a little bit fancier margarita, including their signature fresh pineapple juice margaritas with cactus-lemongrass salt on the rim! BBQ: BBQ Revolution food trailer does vegan BBQ really well. Yes you read that right: Vegan BBQ…deep in the heart of Texas (and it’s delicious too)! Also, it’s worth noting that when Franklin’s BBQ wants some vegan BBQ to accompany various large catering orders they’re fulfilling, they reach out to my friends at Counter Culture for their jackfruit BBQ and/or their BBQ soy curls taco special. Queso: The vegan queso at Guero’s. They don’t always have their vegan queso in stock at Guero’s. So often I’ll head over to Counter Culture Restaurant (do you see a recurring theme here?) to devour their cashew cheese queso that covers their “East Side Nachos.” Eat ‘em up, yum yum! Record Store: Tie between Waterloo Records and End of An Ear – Waterloo Records is right up there with Amoeba Records as one of the best record stores in the United States. I’d even say that Waterloo has the added bonus of not having as many dusty, bad records that you have to sort through to get to the good stuff.
And at End of An Ear you encounter vinyl that just doesn’t seem to turn up anywhere else: avant-garde jazz, outsider music classics, underground to the underground Hip Hop. Partially because most people head to Waterloo and don’t realize that the record buyers at End of An Ear are just as good.
Music Store: Tie between Sound Gallery and Switched On. The Sound Gallery is essentially an art museum for the best in mid-century to 1980s hi-fi audio equipment, wherein everything in the museum is for sale. They also have a well-curated selection of vinyl for sale.
Likewise, Switched On has some of the best vintage analog synthesizers and keyboard equipment in the United States (likely in the world based on their international clientele). When Radiohead or Devo are in Austin, they shop at Switched On for hours on end. One of the guys from Depeche Mode is always calling them to see what is new in their inventory. And as you’ve probably heard, the two guys from SURVIVE – Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein – that scored the Netflix sleeper hit STRANGER THINGS worked at Switched On for years before their band took off. It’s a great place to hang, as well as make your dream list for future vintage electronics and music equipment purchases.
[Editors Note: This blog was written by Rich Nardo.Rich is a freelance writer and editor, and is the co-founder of 24West, a full-service creative agency focusing on music and tech.]
2017 seems to be a bit of an odd year for SXSW. Between the visa controversy and the fact a good number of traditionally cornerstone participants are either scaling down their involvement or skipping the conference all together, a lot of artists who may have stretched their budget to attend may be starting to worry about whether it was the best use of their time and resources.
Well, fear not! At the end of the day any networking/showcase scenario will be exactly what you as an individual makes of it. Despite the scaled-down scope of this year’s festivities, there will still be more than enough industry professionals in attendance. From press tastemakers and music supervisors to label A&R reps and booking agents, if you play your cards right in Austin there is a very strong chance that you will return home afterwards in a better career situation than you are in today.
Here are five ways to optimize your time in Austin in between all the delicious tacos and BBQ you’ll be getting into:
1. One-On-One Meetings Will Be Your Most Important
A lot of emphasis is placed on getting the ‘right’ showcases and playing in front of the ‘right’ people. Personally, I feel that the real difference in generating lead opportunities comes when you’re not playing. Make sure your schedule is packed with one-on-one meetings when you’re not doing official showcases or attending networking events. Reach out to people you would want to work with in advance of getting to Austin to lock in a time to grab a drink or coffee. If your pre-determined list of people to meet with isn’t that extensive, improve it while you’re there. If you meet someone at an event don’t just bank on connecting after you get home. Take the time to meet with them later in the week in a more personal scenario. If you reside in different cities, this may be your last chance to talk face-to-face for a while.
2. Go to Networking Events
Unless you’ve got a string of top-billed showcases lined up and the industry is already buzzing about your band, a lot of your ‘wins’ are going to come in expanding your network offstage. If you’re a young artist that isn’t quite ‘on the inside’ of the industry yet, any networking event will give yourself the chance to make new contacts. When you’re not yet able to rely on the strong rolodex of a powerful manager, lawyer or label, it’s on you to really build your connections to create opportunities. That way next year you will have those high profile performance slots!
3. Turn Other Shows into Networking Events
We all love live music. That’s a big part of the reason why we work so hard to have a career in this business. But as a musician, it is best to keep in mind that you are working at these shows. Go see as many bands as you can and make it a point to connect with the artists you like after their sets. This may not be that fruitful if you’re trying to convince Run The Jewels to let you open their next tour, but if you find some good mid-tier bands there might be a chance to string together a few tour dates together to take advantage of each of your regional fanbases. Or if the band is a bit further along in their career than you are, maybe you can open for them when they come through your city.
Either way, it doesn’t hurt to approach them at SXSW and strike up a casual conversation. Just make sure you’re not coming across as if you were only reaching out to pitch them on your band. Let them know how much you like their set, ask them questions about their music and where they’re from. If that goes well, let them know you’d like to keep in touch and take it from there. Also, if you do somehow run into Killer Mike or El-P, the same rules apply!
4. Share Your Experience On Socials (And Optimize It)
There is nothing more important to creating opportunities than face-to-face interactions. Still, you have the digital realm at your disposal and you should do your best to optimize that. Take photos at the different events you attend and post them to your social networks. Make sure you’re using the proper hashtags when doing so to aggregate some attention from other people at the conference. Also, always tag the bands and companies that are involved in the showcase or event you’re snapping photos from and geo-tag your posts as well! After SXSW is over, this may also end up being a good way to stir up conversations with people you may not have gotten to talk to in person over the course of the week.
5. Organize Your Contacts and Follow Up!
This is perhaps the most important aspect of the conference and one that is often overlooked. Take as many business cards and other contact info as you can while you’re down there. Make sure you’re chronicling when and where you meet people (I like to keep a notebook that I update at the end of each day). That way when everyone goes back to their respective homes at the end of the week you can follow up letting them know how great it was to connect and set up a call to continue the conversation on how you can potentially work together. If there is no ‘next steps’ after Austin the trip may not have been worth your time and money afterall!
Last week, TuneCore partnered with the Austin Music Foundation to offer an evening of education, networking, industry discussion, and a couple of amazing live performances. The goal of of our multi-functional event, dubbed ‘TuneCore Presents’, was to help artists and partners better understand TuneCore’s services and their music’s revenue sources.
The night kicked off with a VIP reception for some of our TuneCore Artists and music industry colleagues based in Austin. It was a blast to connect with members of the scene on both fronts, especially as our Austin office has still been open just over a year.
After a few cocktails, guests filtered in and we kicked off some presentations! First up was TuneCore CEO Scott Ackerman, who opened up the evening discussing the value of digital distribution and making music available in stores and on streaming platforms in territories all over the world.
Diving into the world of songwriter royalties and licensing next was TuneCore’s VP of Music Publishing Administration Gillian Morris. Gillian is an experienced expert in often confusing arena of publishing, making herself available to Austin-based TuneCore Artists who seek to learn more about how we administer and collect royalties on their behalf. She also dove into the much talked about value of sync placements and how TuneCore is helping to get independent artists of all genres placed in TV, film, ads, video games and more.
The last speaker of the evening was TuneCore’s Director of Video Camille Moussard. Our foremost expert when it comes to how artists can utilize YouTube as a revenue stream, Camille broke it all down for artists and industry folks in the crowd. She covered the ins and outs of collecting royalties from sound recordings on YouTube and how artists could very well be leaving dough on the table.
Each discussion wrapped with Q&A sessions, allowing for some very thoughtful and thorough questions from our engaged audience. Once everything was wrapped up, it was time for the artists to take the stage!
The crowd was treated to a delightful set of synthy soul tunes from Austin trio Keeper.
Closing out the night was the ever-entertaining three-piece Migrant Kids, who naturally invited our CEO Scott (who they endearingly nicknamed ‘Papa TuneCore’) to join them on lead vocals during their cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain”.
Thanks to all those TuneCore Artists, interested music-makers, and industry pals who showed up to a wonderfully successful event! We’re looking forward to more showcases like this in the coming year, so stay tuned. For now, enjoy our gallery of photos below – maybe you’ll see yourself!
On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, you’re invited to join us for TuneCore Presents – a two-part event going down at Emo’s in Austin, TX.
TuneCore is partnering with Austin Music Foundation to offer educational presentations and discussions, covering digital distribution, music publishing administration, and making money from your music on YouTube. Additionally, attendees will be treated to musical performances from TuneCore Artists Keeper and Migrant Kids.
The event is open to everyone who’s interested in learning more about how they can better monetize their music and take their careers to the next level.
Want to learn more about selling your music online, collecting songwriter royalties from all over the world, and earning dough every time your song gets played across YouTube? TuneCore Presents is the perfect opportunity to do so!
Make sure to swing by to get to know members of the TuneCore team, including the following speakers:
Scott Ackerman – CEO of TuneCore
Gillian Morris – VP, Music Publishing Administration at TuneCore
Back in March during SXSW, TuneCore’s executive staff was honored to be invited to Governor of Texas Greg Abbott’s office as we ‘cut the ribbon’ on our newest Austin office. During this time, we were welcomed and embraced by Brendon Anthony, the Director of the Texas Music Office – which was founded in 1990 with the legislative mandate “to promote the development of the music industry in the state by informing members of that industry and the public about the resources available in the state for music production.”
For those who don’t already know, Texas is massive, and with the exception of cities like Austin (SXSW, Austin City Limits), it isn’t one U.S. residents necessarily acknowledge immediately as a go-to ‘music state’. But with hundreds of venues, studios, retail stores, small music business enterprises – and of course thousands of artists that span every genre -Texas has a lot to offer both music creators and music entrepreneurs alike!
We interviewed Brendon about his experiences as a musician in Texas, how his position came about, and why Texas is a great place to be a business-minded creative on either side in 2016:
After 26 years in existence, tell us more about what the Texas Music Office aims to accomplish year-to-year.
Brendon Anthony: The Texas Music Office is truly a unique agency. Very few state governments have made this type of investment in their music industries. For the last two and a half decades, this office has worked hard to provide unparalleled resources for industry professionals working both in Texas and outside our borders.
This mission, along with our mandate to promote the Texas music industry both here at home and abroad, has not changed. 2015, however, marked a notable expansion in the scope of the office’s responsibilities. Our addition to the Governor’s Economic Development team signaled a new mission. We are to use our office to grow the industry and add new ‘rungs on the industry ladder’ for our professionals who choose to live and create content in their home state.
Too often we lose our emerging talent to industry centers located outside of Texas only to welcome them back as national and international success stories. If our office can play a role in the creation of these brands and assist them in building a successful business from the ground up, we can say that we have made a real impact in the years to come.
This is a question of attracting infrastructure to our state to support our creative class. These content generators are our ‘software developers.’ They generate the intellectual property that the entire music business is based upon. We need to support them, create VC opportunities to allow them the freedom to create, attract businesses to them so that they can build a 360 business around their creations based here in Texas. Year to year, our goals will broaden and gain focus as our recruitment efforts begin to gain traction nationally.
Tell us more about One Live Media and your transition into the Texas Music Office under Governor Greg Abbott.
OneLive Media originally began as Music One Live, a ticketing and direct-to-fan business based here in Austin. It was tech-intensive, but sought to create new and lucrative verticals for artists, venue owners, and concert promoters. We knew that the collection of fan data was of paramount importance for our various clients and worked with them to build ticketing models that would allow them to more effectively market performances, sell tickets for live events, and move their merchandise online with greater effectiveness.
As our scope and involvement with merchandising rights owners increased, so did our list of client services. We began to focus heavily on E-commerce for major artists and developed international fulfillment operations to suit their needs. My transition from Head of E-commerce at OneLive Media to The Office of the Governor was fairly abrupt. I was contacted by the transition team, post-election, and asked to consider the role of Director of the Texas Music Office. I accepted, closed out my role with OneLive and, after assisting in the transition process with management and new hires, began the process of developing a long term agenda for the Texas Music Office.
What do you tell to indie artists – and music business owners – who are interested in relocating to Texas?
I tell them the truth as I see it. Our office and resources are at your disposal 24/7. You will enjoy unprecedented support from the community that you choose to invest in. We have tools at our disposal (if certain thresholds are met) to assist you in relocation.
For many of the business leaders I speak to, however, the argument is simple. Take a look at your business. How much of it is made up of Texas talent? Why not put a human face to your business in the state that has generated so much of the talent responsible for your success? We love promotional dollars spent on events based here, of course.
What, in my opinion, really helps our artists – in addition to those promotional dollars – is a chance to add components to their brands and build business relationships in their home state.
For a state that could be its own country in terms of size, help readers distinguish a bit between major cities’ music scenes and what makes them special.
This is a great question. Texas is a vast state made up of many different regions and major hubs. Each has their own contribution to make and all have, over the generations past, done so in very famous ways. In fact, this answer could end up being several pages long on its own!
I’ll just speak to the contemporary happenings and direct readers to the sizable Texas music history resources located on our website and also to the myriad museums and collections across the state devoted to the contributions made by hundreds of famous Texan performers. All of our major cities have vibrant music scenes. Lubbock today has more live music venues per capita than just about anywhere else and their community is an extremely supportive one.
Houston has seen a lot of growth as well. The Nightengale Room, Continental Club, Sugar Hill Studios are all great to visit.
Dallas-Fort Worth is done a real injustice by lumping them together but all you have to do is point out the great work being done by Modern Electric Recording, Billy Bob’s Texas, White Elephant Saloon, Granada Theater, Kessler Theater, and artists like Leon Bridges, Old 97’s, etc. to even begin to scratch the surface.
Denton is one of our more interesting artistic communities, of course. With one of the nation’s largest jazz performance schools, great municipal and private sector involvement – and buy-in from indie-rock heroes, Midlake – you have a town worth a serious visit. San Antonio boasts one of the most connected music industry communities in the state. Great venues like the Tobin Center, Majestic Theater, Aztec, Sam’s Burger Joint, and Floore’s Country Store are only the start. San Antonio also cultivates remarkable mariachi education programs – organized and taught in part by the great Juan Ortiz – which are definitely worth researching.
The Pearl District is seriously coming along as well. I haven’t even mentioned Austin yet. As the ‘Live Music Capitol of the World’ Austin stands as an international symbol for live performance. While it wrestles with growth and the complicated relationship between development and the rising costs of the central business district, Austin continues to create new venues, welcome back familiar names and build upon its legacy year by year. International events such as SXSW and ACL Festival keep this trend moving upwards.
Don’t forget about the Rio Grande Valley either….from Corpus Christi, all the way west, this region continues to produce festivals, live music events, and artists, some of whom have become iconic in their own right.
You’ve got your own personal history making music. When did you begin and where did your journey take you over the years?
I began taking lessons on violin when I was around four years old. I continued lessons through the middle of high school and was active in Brazos Valley’s Junior Symphony and also played some trumpet in junior high band. Needless to say I enjoyed playing music from an early age. As I got a little older I started listening more to country/pop/etc. and began playing violin with local cover bands.
During my freshman year at Texas A&M University I met several singer songwriters, Cory Morrow, Jack Ingram, and Roger Creager to name a few who were just getting started in the Texas Music world.
I began playing live shows with them and eventually ran into Pat Green backstage at a Robert Earl Keen show in College Station. I told him that he needed me in his band and he hired me the next night after I sat in with him. I spent the next 15 years as a part of Pat’s touring and recording band. During that time we toured pretty extensively, often traveling over 220 dates a year. There were several major stadium tours involved both on our own and as support for larger acts. A couple of Grammy noms for PG along the way, and I was still able to record on many other projects that I was asked to join in on.
What do you think are some misconceptions artists and fans might have about the music industry throughout the Lone Star State?
They might mistakenly think that there is a great deal of music business here; there is not. Again, there are some notable exceptions. Taken as a whole, however, we need to do better in this regard.
Also, it isn’t ‘easy to make a career’ playing music in Texas. I hear this a lot and it makes me worry for those trying to get started. I think this myth is perpetuated by those who see artists who have worked extremely hard for many years to build an authentic and loyal regional fan-base. The idea is that these fans are ‘built in’ and that they just have to tap into this and they can play their whole lives in Texas. This is absolutely a myth. These artists work very hard for many years to become these regional ‘overnight success stories.’
Where’s your favorite place of all time to catch a show in Texas?
Really this is impossible for me to answer. There are just so many great ones. If I had to take someone from another country to see a show at an iconic Texas venue, I might lean towards Gruene Hall near New Braunfels.
What are you looking forward to most about the future of the music industry in your state?
I look forward to a time when a new artist can build his/her business on a national level by forming partnerships with industry leaders based here in Texas.