I recently had a birthday.
My birthday to me has never been a big deal, half of the time it falls on Mother’s Day and the older I get the more people that I know personally that share my birthday. I enjoy throwing everyone else parties and usually only succumb to having a party for my own birthday if I get bugged enough about it. Despite having grown up having the typical big birthday parties as a child, the part I dreaded was the attention as I’ve never been a big fan of having the spotlight on myself. I always enjoy the social aspect of parties and catching up with everyone and am appreciative when my friends make time to get together for my birthday– but I hate the “Happy Birthday” song and blow out the candles part.
Anyhow, as is typical with birthdays I was flooded with birthday cards, phone calls, text messages, balloons, flowers, and of course Facebook wall posts from friends, family, and colleagues/co-workers. I also received the standard birthday cards from my accountant. hair stylists, and a couple of different boutiques I frequent.
The one thing I wasn’t expecting, however, was personal attention from bigger corporations. I was somewhat startled to find voicemails from managers at places like The Body Shop, Sephora, a clothing store, a bookstore, and from Guest Relations at a mall in another city that I never even frequent (nor did I know I was on their mailing list) to let me know that I either had a free gift, store credit, or a gift card waiting for me. I also received e-mail reminders from some of them as well. The e-mail birthday greetings from corporations are more typical and I received many of those as well offering discounts on purchases or free shipping.
This seems to be a sign of the times as it’s no secret that most businesses (big or small) have been affected by our economic situation and are really stepping up their game on the customer service/relations side to ensure that their clientele sees them in a positive light. I know I was pleasantly surprised when I heard the messages, who wouldn’t want a free gift card to a place they frequent? Even if it is just a $10 token of their appreciation of your past, present, and future business.
What is $10 to a business most of the time anyhow? Chances are most people will not even retrieve it (like myself and that mall gift card) –this would be a case of it’s the thought that counts — and if they do they will probably spend a lot more than $10 in your store. Even if they only spend the $10, you are still getting them into your store or online site where they may discover a product you specialize in that they love or have such a positive shopping experience that they’ll be back soon.
Never in my lifetime, nor in most of yours, has it seemed like we’re living in such a consumer’s world. (more…)
More and more these days, the music of independent unsigned music artists is integrated into our daily lives. Creative music licensing. It’s pretty much everywhere – on TV, obviously on the radio (online and traditional formats), at the gas pump, in department stores, grocery stores, the list goes on and on.
Thanks to insomnia, just in one day while flipping through channels I heard a few of our friend’s bands on TV (which will remain the most popular vehicle for song placements for quite some time to come) as I attempted to clear out my DVR’s recordings.
This was a few months ago, and I’d initially planned to publish this post at that time (if you can believe it, that was back in January) after having had a similar encounter with an all too familiar soundtrack comprised of more friend’s bands which included: Spider Problem’s “Cha, Cha” on some “Gossip Girl” teaser, Bang Sugar Bang’s “Where’s the Fun in That?” on a re-run of “The Hills” (I think it was a re-run I hadn’t seen that show in eons?), and of course with Samsung having gone the way of Sprint with featuring a local LA band late last year, (The Happy Hollows) on their Google Phone Commercial (Sprint featured iO Echo on their Palm Pre commercial). Just because the programming isn’t quality (but then again, I’m also not necessarily the target market of the shows mentioned), that doesn’t mean the music getting played isn’t and people won’t take notice of it.
I’m sure there was a lot more that I didn’t catch. In fact a couple of years ago I couldn’t watch many of the shows on TV without hearing a band I knew on shows. This will only become more and more true for years to come. Some of those that I recall included, but aren’t limited to: The New Fidelity, Silver Needle, Bang Sugar Bang, The Mulhollands, The Waking Hours, and The Automatic Music Explosion all on the WB and MTV, Get Set Go on Grey’s Anatomy (they even made the soundtrack)– those are just some I can think of off the top of my head, the list goes on and on. I won’t even get started on films.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but songs have a tendency to stick in my head. Name of song and artist not always so much. At least not at first listen, unless I happen to know them personally or it’s all over the place (an example from earlier in the year, Phoenix’s “Listomania”). At times all I can remember is a few of the lyrics, and those lyrics won’t get out of my head. I want to hear them again.
So what do I do?
Hope that episode plays again and they announce the artist name and song title? (more…)
As most of you know the SXSW Music + Film + Interactive Festivals and Conferences are fast approaching. This week, I provided you with 5 different daily tips in various areas (lodging, driving, getting around Austin, etc.) that will hopefully help you maximize your trip based on my own personal experiences.
My focus was mainly on the Music and Media Conferences (March 17-21), but many of my tips and advice have been general enough that you can apply them towards any part of SXSW. I hope you’ve found some of them useful.
For Monday’s 5 Tips on Lodging click here
For Tuesday’s 5 Tips on Driving to Austin click here
For Wednesday’s 5 Tips on Getting Around Austin click here
For Thursday’s 5 Tips for Your Trip to SXSW click here
TGIF! You know what that means? Today we’ll bring you our final 5 Tips for your trip to SXSW.
1. Watch the Weather – I know there are many distractions that will prevent you from checking the weather prior to embarking on your trip, however as a rule of thumb plan on it raining at least one or two days/nights that you are in Austin. You’ll get some super hot days mixed with some humid rainy days that lead to cold nights. Really a day can run the gamut. You should plan on bringing a light jacket with you and some long sleeved shirts or sweaters as well as tank tops. If you have an umbrella, pack that too.
(photo originally published here)
2. Stay on a Budget – If you have to watch what you spend (which most of us do), definitely set a budget for yourself. Whether it’s a daily limit (pretend you’re in a signed band or an actor and set your own per diems). Aside from cab fare, despite the promise of all of the free food and booze, most of your money will go to food and booze. It’s unavoidable. Once you start partying you might be find it hard to keep track of how much money you’ve spent so consider bringing cash and bringing with you only what you’ve set as your daily budget and possibly an extra 10 bucks that you keep in your shoe or somewhere away from the rest of your cash for cab fare, etc. It’ll be easier to keep track of your spending this way than using a credit or bank card.
Bonus tip: Some of the parties at make-shift venues will often have cash only bars, so if you’re going to something that’s not in the downtown area you should probably take some cash with you.
With so many panels to choose from during the SXSW Music and Media Conference, it can be hard to decide which to attend. We’ve gone through the list and will be bringing to your attention the ones that we thought would best help the independent musicians. Starting off with our first pick, Working The Press: Intellectual Intercourse and Interviews.
Ali MacLean knows her stuff. It’s as simple as that. With the entertainment industry constantly plagued with a flood of “self-described experts” that amount to nothing more than smoke and mirrors, individuals that have the actual experience to back up the talk are few and far between. Maclean possesses an enviable resume that would make those of her colleagues appear anorexic and lacking in comparison.
Vast experience as an on-air talent, writer, producer (MTV, VH-1, ABC, Fox, Indie 103.1 FM, Little Radio, Vlaze TV, Sirius Radio, Kathy Griffin’s So Called Reality, Celebrity Death Match) as well as a background in stand-up and sketch comedy (HBO’s Mr. Show, VH-1’s Ill-Ustrated) have allowed MacLean to learn the ins and outs of the entertainment industry from being both in front of the camera and behind it. All of this combined with her journalistic talents (Urb TV, Antiquiet TV, Huffington Post) and her passion for good music (expressed via her occasional dj sets and radio shows) lead her to be a logical choice to bring a Music Panel focusing on teaching the “best interview techniques and ways to use press attention to your advantage,” titled Working The Press: Intellectual Intercourse and Interviews to the 2010 SXSW Music and Media Conference.
Fresh from directing a film short called ‘DJ Intervention,‘ starring Arabian Prince from NWA, Adam 12 from She Wants Revenge, Ken Jordan from Crystal Method, and Rhettmatic from the Beat Junkies (Part One can be found on Funny or Die.com where you can vote funny for it, and Part Two will soon follow), Ali MacLean took some time to answer some of our questions regarding her upcoming panel (set to take place Wednesday, March 17th at 2:00 pm in Austin Convention Center Room 11B) as well as why she decided to bring this topic to this years SXSW attendees.
TRAffIK: What prompted you to want to bring such a topic to SXSW?
AM: A lot of people ask me questions about how they can get press or get their demos to the right people. That paired with some disastrous interviews and really bad behavior during interviews I conducted or interviews I’ve seen, I figured it would be very useful to the musicians and the publicists attending the festival.
TRAffIK: What should those in attendance of your Panel/Discussion expect to come away with?
AM: Hopefully they will have a better sense of how to get press for themselves or how to approach a press campaign, get a publicist or journalist to notice them… and definitely how to behave when they are on a TV show or radio show.
As most of you know the SXSW Music + Film + Interactive Festivals and Conferences are fast approaching. This week, I have provided you with 5 different daily tips in various areas (lodging, driving, getting around Austin, etc.) that will hopefully help you maximize your trip based on my own personal experiences.
My focus has been mainly be on the Music and Media Conferences (March 17-21), but many of my tips and advice have been general enough that you can apply them towards any part of SXSW.
Today’s tips are 5 General Tips for Your Trip to SXSW
Ok, so now that I’ve shared with you some personal experiences and tips from my own arsenal for SXSW in the areas of lodging, driving to Austin, and getting around Austin the time has come to give some advice that would probably be in line with the kind of advice that a parental figure might bestow upon you. However, since I am still in my 20’s, I hope it will be better received by you than if issued by someone who appears to be more far removed from the experiences you are currently encountering and making a part of your own personal trajectory.
These next 5 tips essentially stem from the one quality that I for better or worse possess an atypically high level of, common sense. It is this quality that has probably kept me out of trouble and drama free for most of my life. I, like the rest of you, may not always put it to good use, but it’s always there if I need to fall back on it.
With that said, here are 5 General Tips for Your Trip to SXSW
1. Carry Business Cards – Don’t forget to pack your business cards. If you don’t have any, you might want to consider printing some out on your own (you still have some time) or if you have some time (time is running out) use cheap printers like Vista Print or Got Print (they are located in Burbank where you can pick up your order personally) They don’t have to be fancy, they just have to have your current contact information. It’s not the best feeling in the world to have someone ask you for your card and you have to make up some excuse every time. This is one time in your life when you really should have them, as you will meet lots of people and you’ll want them to be able to locate you once you are all back in the “real post-SXSW world.” Most people won’t be bothered with searching for pens and paper to write down your number, and being as how you just met (and you might be one of tens, twenties, or hundreds) they probably won’t want to plug your info into their phone just yet (you’d be surprised how many people have never made it into my phone). The information on the business card is also what they’ll probably use to not only contact you with, but also research you with. So make sure that you provide the info (tools if you will) for what you actually want found on you.
Bonus Tip: When it comes to business cards, you actually may already have some from a company that you are employed by. You may be fine with using these, not wanting to take on the additional expense of getting new ones printed. However, take a minute to think if you will want all of those people that you meet randomly on the streets of Austin (some of who may not be legitimately in the business they say they are) contacting you at your place of employment. For example, I tend to constantly embark upon and take on new projects that allow me full control and the ability to exercise my creativity. However, I usually try to keep my personal endeavors separate from my professional ones as typically I have been employed by big name entertainment companies that sometimes make people see stars (or at least think they will be getting closer to fulfilling some dreams by getting to know me better…or stalking me). For the most part, I would not want random people contacting me on my direct line while I am in the midst of a time crunch trying to make deadlines or seeing projects through.
For this reason, I always have business cards for my creative projects (front and back of my TRAffIK business card pictured left–sorry, had to blackout my cell phone number), so that I can be selective about whom I give which to. For most LA residents that attend SXSW this is their world as well. So I would suggest that you think twice before you hand out your professional business card to every person you meet.
As most of you know the SXSW Music + Film + Interactive Festivals and Conferences are fast approaching. This week, I’m providing you with 5 different daily tips in various areas (lodging, driving, getting around Austin, etc.) that will hopefully help you maximize your trip based on my own personal experiences.
My focus will mainly be on the Music and Media Conferences (March 17-21), but many of my tips and advice will be general enough that you can apply them towards any part of SXSW.
Todays 5 Tips are about Getting Around Austin:
Based on my experiences in Austin, I still think taking cabs is the best way to go (unless you have a personal driver). Taking cabs and not driving around let you avoid the headaches of having to find parking (not to mention having to remember where you parked) and avoiding the possible fender benders that sometimes happen. Here are some tips for getting around:
1. Share Cabs – This is easiest to do when heading to the 6th St. vicinity from your hotel. You will soon learn that most people waiting for a cab have the same destination as you do. If you don’t have a large group of people with you already, you should consider asking some of the other people in the hotel lobby or that are waiting outside if they are heading to 6th St. and might want to share a cab. It’ll save all of you some money and also you might make some new friends or learn of new interesting parties to go to (we definitely did).
2. Get Digits – A good practice to get into is to get the number of the Cab drivers and Ricksha guys if they offer or even if they don’t and you trust them. It’s kind of amazing how much you can learn about a cab driver or rickshaw driver (cyclist?) in a 10 – 15 min. ride. I’m not talking about making a romantic connection, but they might come in handy. Many of these drivers/cyclists work all day and night taking on this job of cab driver only during the weeks of SXSW trying to make as much money as possible in this time frame. You never know, but you may get stuck at a party way out in the middle of nowhere and they could possibly bail you out and get you back to your hotel saving you hours of waiting around for a cab to be sent or one to drive by. As always trust your judgement on whom you ask for this info from.