Sound Advice TV – The Tao of the Conference with Derek Sivers – Lessons from SXSW 2010

I’m at SXSW and I just watched Derek Sivers give his presentation – The Tao of the Conference – where he dished out some of his best advice on how to be effective at SXSW.

He did this wiki style and included wonderful short clips from industry leaders including Tim Ferriss, from The Four Hour Workweek @tferriss, voice teacher Wendy Parr @Wendyparr,  and Greg Rollet from Gen Y Rockstars @g_rois. It was inspiring as only Derek can be. Part of his talk focused on the very basic principle of “Persistence is Polite!”

Here is a video we created on this very topic for Sound Advice TV: (more…)


The Indie Maximum 100 Goes to TEXAS, Part I

Industry Experts & Musicians Dish Out Their Best SXSW Tips

As a follow up to last week’s The SXSW Survival Guide, I’ve decided to take some of the best tips from some of the experts of today’s music industry and provide them for you here! I took the time to talk to some of the contributors from our 2009 Indie Maximum Exposure list to see what they had to say.

Over the next several days, I will be posting all-new tips that you can use to maximize your South by Southwest experience.

This advice is divided up into 3 sections

  1. Before You Go
  2. While You Are There
  3. After You Get Home

There are not 100 here but they are some great gems…


Read “How to Talk to Anyone” A Week Ahead
So, the week before the conference, read “How to Talk to Anyone” or any book about how to be a great listener. Then, use the conference as your testing ground for your new listening skills. Get extremely interested in those around you. Think like an investigative reporter. Ask follow-up questions about how they got into that. What they love and hate about it. Ask why they came to the conference. Talk about non-work-stuff, too!  Be very curious about their unique perspective. Learn from it.
- Derek Sivers (more…)


The Indie Maximum 100 Goes to TEXAS, Part II

Now that you know what to do to prepare before you get on the road, you need to know what to do while you’re there! Here’s what our experts have to say:


Go With The Flow
Don’t bother jotting down the bands you want to see because chances are, you will not make it to most of them. You’ll be on your way to see the band you “must see,” and you will absolutely run into someone you know on the street, then one thing leads to another, and you missed the show.
- Lou Plaia

Stay Portable
Unless your artist image is “musical Sherpa,” then you don’t want to be tied down to a huge backpack or bag full of crap. You’d be better off having a second-run CD batch made in thin, lightweight packaging OR have some download cards made. Nothing sucks more than hauling 40 pounds of round plastic with you. If it’s too late to make your CD’s in flat packaging (cardboard sleeves, paper envelopes, Tyvek, etc.), don’t lug around a bunch of jewel cases. You’ll be better off in the long run if you can just pick up and move to the next party, function, session, etc.
- Matthew Ebel

Make Free Time
Scheduling meetings is great, but you never know who you are going to run into on sixth street, so leave some holes in your schedule. Some of my best meetings at SXSW have been by chance.
- Rick Goetz

Try Not To Judge A Man By His Business Card
The music business is like that board game perfection. Every few months all the pieces pop up and people land in different positions and in different companies. Do your best to meet people of quality rather than just the people you think have something you need. You never know where people end up and having been nowhere important and somewhere important several different times in my career – trust me when I say I appreciate the people who gave me the time a day when I didn’t have a flashy business card or a lot going on.
- Rick Goetz (more…)


The Indie Maximum 100 Goes to TEXAS, Part III

So you FINALLY went to SXSW, and now after days of music, food, panels and networking (*phew*), you’re back home. So what can you do now to maximize your time spent in Austin? Here are a few pieces of advice.


Create Your Own Lasting Media
So, no blog covered your performance?  No photographer snapped your photo for Rolling Stone?  That’s OK!  Make your own media around your experience at SXSW.  Write up a blog about what you did, and who you met, and post it on your MySpace, Facbook and Snap photos and post them on Facebook and Flickr with tags, or record some videos for your YouTube Channel!  Let your experience live online for years to come!
- Ariel Hyatt

Get Them At Their Desks…Not At The Party
The best time to get down to business is when they’re alone, back at their desk, a week or two after the conference, undistracted, and can give you their full one-on-one attention. That’s when you want someone checking out what you have to offer: when they’re focused on you – looking at your site.
- Derek Sivers

Go Old School – Use The Phone & Stationary For Follow Ups
I have learned the strongest way to follow up is with a phone call and a hand written letter or note with material in the mail, because we are all inundated with digital communication. Suddenly a phone call is refreshing and unexpected.
- Jennie Walker (more…)

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Austin Music Foundation and Martin Atkins present Party:Smart @ SXSW

WHO: Austin Music Foundation (AMF) is a nonprofit organization that provides educational programs and career development resources to musicians. The mission is to strengthen and connect the local music community through innovative programs that empower musicians and fuel Austin’s creative economy. Visit for more info.

WHAT: Austin Music Foundation presents PARTY:SMART featuring Martin Atkins with special guests Ariel Hyatt of Ariel Publicity and Charlie Cheney of Indie Band Manager. These three indie music luminaries will share tips, secrets, and strategies to help bands more creatively and effectively promote themselves in today’s DIY music business climate.

Local musicians and industry pros as well as SXSW attendees from far and wide will meet for a pre-conference party and educational event with our special guests designed to facilitate relationships and “get the party started” on the eve of SXSW. (more…)


In Defense Of 1,000 True Fans – Ellis Paul – 300 Fans = $100,000 in Contributions The Ultimate Testament to Fan Loyalty – Part VII

When I first heard that Ellis Paul an artist I have know about for years and seen one a few occasions raised $100,000 I was amazed…I had to get the story.  Here it is.

Ellis Paul is an American singer-songwriter and folk musician. To date, he has released 16 albums and has been the recipient of 14 Boston Music Awards.  He has published a book of original lyrics, poems, and drawings, and released a DVD that includes a live performance, guitar instruction, and a road-trip documentary.  As a touring musician, Ellis plays close to 150 dates each year and his extensive club and coffeehouse touring, together with radio airplay, has brought him a solid national following.

Rachael Klien from Ellis’s management team answered these questions for Ellis while chatting with him on the phone while he drove from Virginia to Atlanta.

Ariel Hyatt: Do you believe that 1,000 True Fans is a theory that can work?

Rachael Klien / Ellis Paul: Yes absolutely, Ellis has sustained his career as a musician for the last 20 years. I would even go so far as to say that this has been his theory from the get go.

Starting out in the Boston Music scene then taking it on the road developing fans one by one. (Mind you. this is before the Internet existed, and back in the cassette tapes days) Ellis got in his car driving city to city creating really loyal fans. He traveled around a lot building each market. Talking to each person before and after shows, staying in touch as he traveled.  People are willing to buy your record spend a couple hundred if they are really committed.

Ellis just left his record label of 15 years to go it on his own. We raised $100,000 in fan contributions from about 300 fans, which we believe to be the ultimate testament to his fan loyalty. (more…)