SXSW Web Tools Panel

SXSW Badge Pickup Area

I know that’s not a shot of the Working the Web: Resources for Musicians panel. I was too busy asking questions to get a good photo. So, what you’re seeing here is the badge pick-up area. I thought it would give you a good idea of the inner workings of a conference.

Anyway, let’s get to the good stuff. I was a little late getting to the Web Tools panel, which took a look at new technologies artists can use to get their music heard. A few interesting notes:

– Questions arose around Internet radio and the recent controversial U.S. Copyright Office decision regarding increased payments by Internet broadcasters to stream music over the web. For more on this story, click this link to PaidContent.org.

– One attendee asked the panel about rights issues around click-wrapped downloads on 3rd-party music download sites. You want to make sure that you’re aware of what you’re signing away when you upload your music to a service like SnoCap, CDBaby, Emusic and others. Does the agreement allow for those sites to then redistribute your music without your consent? Does the agreement permit the service to use your tracks for compilation CD’s or DVD’s. Make sure you read the fine print before giving your music to a download service. Yes, I do mean iTunes too.

– There were a few who might be in the proverbial dark when it comes to web sites and resources online for musicians. One woman asked for one site from each panelist (besides their own sites) that they’d recommend, since today there are so many to choose from. Jeff Price from spinART suggested MP3 review blogs like Stereogum.com as a place to promote your bands music. Jordan Glazier from Eventful.com suggested trying out the new music recommendation sites like Pandora, iMeem, iLike.com. Left out of the discussion was the popular Last.fm.

Of course, SXSW is an indy-based conference and a few grumbled about the dominance of iTunes, mainly because of the inability to get one’s music positioned against major label or major independent releases on the service. It’s one reason why the future looks good for music distribution online, whereas you’ll see multiple genre-oriented distribution points. People will demand more filters, and companies will provide them with a way to find more of what they’re really looking for, instead of the limited catalog Apple currently carries. Not that Apple won’t sign-up new content, there simply will be sites that will cater to the niche and succeed incrementally against the big boys.

I ran into Lindsay Tredent, Music Content Producer at MySpace; Amanda McCabe, label relations at SnoCap; and Damian Manning, co-founder of Echospin.

Gotta run to the next event…latah!

Tony Z.

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