The annual SXSW Music Conference and Festival took place in its home of Austin, TX on March 17-22, 2015. A global destination for artists, industry reps, media professionals, and music heads, SXSW offers opportunities for attendees to tap into the future of the music industry via networking events, hosted discussions, and artist showcases featuring 2,200+ new and undiscovered acts.
With over 28,000 registrants at SXSW this year, abundant possibilities existed to connect, collaborate, inspire, educate, and cultivate new professional relationships. SXSW is widely regarded as a launching pad for many artists’ professional careers, so new talent often strives to attract the ears and attention of industry folks. The live performances allow the artists to showcase their craft through this meaningful exposure.
As I traversed the venues spanning downtown Austin, I could feel the beat of creative energy and the air of excitement pervading SXSW attendees. The notion of FOMO (fear of missing out) was prevalent at SXSW, and on multiple occasions I found myself longing to be at four different shows at the same time.
Of the numerous artists I was fortunate to see, noteworthy showcases included:
Electro-indie-pop trio, Prinze George, put on an engaging live show – complete with powerful vocals from Naomi Almquist, solid production hooks by Kenny Grimm (no relation), even an impressive drum solo by percussionist Isabelle De Leon. Their track “We Are Dreamers” is a great programming selection for fashion-forward retail environments.
With reverb-drenched guitars and breezy, nonchalant vocals, Alvvays is an effortlessly cool indie-rock group from Canada. “Adult Diversion” is a perfect summer-vibe addition to any beach-culture and youth-focused brand’s retail soundtrack.
The most unique performance I experienced at SXSW was that of country-folk singer and industry veteran, Brandi Carlile. To an at-capacity, dark candle-lit church, Carlile performed a 2-hour set, completely unplugged – no mics, no amps, no frills. 100% authentic. With a decade of albums to her name, Carlile’s latest release, The Firewatcher’s Daughter, features the alternative-folk track “Wherever Is Your Heart,” great for organic, comfortable, and eclectic environments.
You may remember young Cody Simpson from his 2010 pop single, “iYiYi (featuring Flo Rida),” but the now-18-year-old is back with an entirely new look and sound. Simpson showcased tracks from his forthcoming album, Free, which featured reggae-pop beach styles in the realm of Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz. Simpson’s songs will be a great summer addition to organic pop/AC music programs and will fit perfectly in youth-focused retail brand environments.
I was excited to finally have the opportunity to see Tove Lo live! Her set was lively, fun, and engaging. The song “Heroes,” on which Tove Lo is predominantly featured, is a great addition to any upbeat and energetic pop music program.
The scope of genres, artists, and information featured at SXSW is unparalleled by any other music conference. It is an important destination, helping industry members to dictate and foresee future music trends. This knowledge is a vital component to Mood’s Experience Design approach and contributes to creating the best in-store music experience for brands and consumers.
– Submitted by Carly Grimm, Music Design