SXSW: Tech Tonics and Tactics


May 1, 2015BY Jeff Starr

[Trademark’s Jeff Starr traveled to Austin for the annual music, entertainment and technology pilgrimage that is SXSW.]

Every March, Austin explodes: music blares through every corner and door, across fences and through walls. Bars have queues wrapping around the street. Huge venues pop-up to host omnipresent branding, corporate-sponsored events (and yet more bands).

There is nothing like this event with such unabashed marketing juxtaposed with an incredible and vast array of musicians showcasing their talents.

Conservatively, I must have seen upwards of 60-70 bands over the course of my 5-day stay. I did my best to offer each band the respect of a full set in order to not make a premature opinion after only one or two songs.  Some musical highlights include: the indie electronic duo ODESZA, the stripped-down punk/dub/funk legends Gang of Four, and current R&B/funk sensation Charles Bradley.

Sponsorships and many of the more large, popular parties were hosted by the likes of Lyft, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Hype Machine, Stubhub, Dr. Martens, YouTube and Spotify.  One of the primary intentions for our Trademark visit to Austin was to see how these brands were utilizing technology for connecting with attendees. In what new ways was social media being utilized? How were sponsors engaging with attendees and persuading them to download their mobile apps? What were street teams doing to stand out among the masses? What set decoration elements were being employed successfully in many of the large-scale events? All this and more in future posts.

Cathedrals

Charles Bradley_

Delta Sprit

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