Walking down 6th Street during the music portion of SXSW, you wonder how any of these bands actually get noticed. There were venues where a band was playing in the basement, the main floor, and upstairs. Sometimes two are playing on the main floor.
We’ve heard stories of bands spending thousands of dollars to come to SXSW and go back with very little. Is playing an event like this worth it, if you don’t have any heat coming with you?
Some will argue that the networking is where it’s at. For sure, SXSW is conducing to meeting people you want to meet. However, let’s say you meet an agent who’s doing good things for bands in your genre. There are also a ton of bands in your genre and she’s already going to some of the key shows for her already-big clients.
There are countless day shows/parties and tented areas where there are free drinks and free food which she can choose from. Why would she come see your unknown band ? If you really click with her when you meet her, she may actually show up. If she’s an agent looking for new talent, she probably has a list of bands she needs to check out based on recommendations and blog/street buzz.
Like I said before, it’s not impossible, but the odds aren’t in your favor. In my opinion, based on my experience with all the noise, you’re better off creating amazing music and working it online to generate a buzz before going to an event like South By. If you do have heat coming in to the event, agents and other people who could potentially help you further, will come to you instead of the other way around.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOT2-OTebx0]