What you should do while everyone else is at SXSW

We are one week away from the launch of the biggest media event of the year. South By Southwest (SXSW) will bring together creative minds from every corner of the globe for a celebration of success and a look towards the future with more than a thousand live performances. It is an event like any other, and everyone should go if they are at all able.

For everyone else, including us, the week of SXSW 2017 is going to be a bit of a snoozer. All the major news will happen there first, and a good portion of the people you need to connect with week to week will be having the time of their lives on the streets of Austin. 

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, but 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. 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.

Austin has a dizzying amount of options at any hour of day, leaving most to scramble from event to event. This is not the case for you. Time is on your side this week, and without the rigid scheduling of SXSW to hold you back there is no limit to what you can see, do, or otherwise accomplish.

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-functional 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 in just 9 sleeps.

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 2017 is that every major event that takes place in Austin will be broadcast online or uploaded within hours of completion. There will be tweets, Facebook Live feeds, Periscope feeds, and a whole array of similar social media content available in real time. 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.