What You Should Be Doing While Everyone Else Is At SXSW

Hello and welcome to brand new week of music industry insight and advice on the official blog of Haulix. We have been having a lot of fun creating new content as of late, and believe wholeheartedly the articles rolling out in the days ahead are some of our best to date. If you have an idea for this blog, or if you would like to learn more about the digital distribution services we offer, please do not hesitate to email james@haulix.com and share your thoughts. If you prefer social media, feel free to reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter.

If you ever hope to be active in the music industry, I would hope you knew before logging onto the blog today that the 2014 SXSW music festival is currently taking place in Austin, Texas. It is one of the largest music events of the year, bringing together artists and industry professionals from around the globe. We would be flattered to learn someone in Austin loved our content so much they decided to pass on an event and enjoy this entry, but we’re not egotistical enough to believe such occurrences all that likely. No, if you’re reading this then you’re like us, and that means you’re either on the road or sitting at home watching a small portion of the people you know clog social media with tales of Sixth Street madness. If that is true, then rejoice! This post is for you.

Not attending events like SXSW can be a downer on anyone, but when you’re an artist or aspiring professional trying to find someone willing to give you a chance it can hurt even more. You feel like the entire week is lost because everyone has auto-replies set on Gmail and for whatever reason you cannot shake the general sense that ‘everything good is happening somewhere else’ (specifically, Texas). We’re here to tell you that is not true. In fact, now may be one of the best times all year to get ahead. Here’s why:

1. Your presentation needs work. No, seriously, It needs work. 

Whether you’re searching for a job or trying to get the attention of an A&R rep, you currently have a set of tools and resources you use to distribute your information to potential employers. No matter how good it is, it can always be better. Review your promotional materials, cut unnecessary fluff, and make sure every word represents you the way you want to appear to others.

2. While everyone is scrambling to make it to the next big name showcase or catch a specific panel, you are free to discover and learn at your own speed.

There will be headlines about major advancements and buzz worthy artists that emerge from SXSW, but for those of us not in Austin those events do not have to be all we accomplish this week. Read a book, research your next career move, hell, spitball new creative avenues to explore in your work. This time is yours, and without the rigid scheduling of SXSW to hold you back there is no limit to what you can see, do, and otherwise accomplish while everyone else is trying to not rub up against sweaty people at Red 7. 

3. All those projects and tasks you have been pushing off to the side? Now is the time. Clear your to-do list.

Trying to find a full time career or record deal is hard enough without also trying to handle all the other responsibilities that come with being a music industry professional, let alone being a fully functioning adult as well. Between things you need to do to survive, the things you need to do to get ahead, and the things you want to do before your far too limited amount of time on this planet is up, life can often be overwhelming. With a large portion of the industry at SXSW this week you should feel free to take a little time for yourself as well. Catch up on the stuff that really matters. Not just for work, but for your own happiness and well being. There will be another week of industry madness next week.

4. There is ample entertainment to keep you going, and you don’t have to wait in any line to enjoy it.

The beauty of SXSW in 2014 is that every major event that takes place in Austin will simultaneously, or at least in the hours following will be available to watch online. You have the best seat in Texas and you are not even there. Take in the panels, pausing as needed for notes, and don’t be afraid to kick back and stream a set or two once all your work is finished. Just because you’re trying to get ahead does not mean you cannot have a little fun after the work is done.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.