One Day We’ll Make It — The Hidden Troubles of the Bands You Love At South By Southwest

This week in Austin, Texas, South by Southwest, the venerable set of film, music, and interactive festivals and conferences, is taking place. SXSW Music is the biggest of its kind, with more than 2,220 official performers and bands playing in more than 100 venues. The festival pulls over 51,000 participants and is an easy way for an act to expand their following. Acts must cover their own expenses, and a cover fee to perform, some hailing from states as far across the country such as New York, which makes travel very expensive if you have multiple people in your group with equipment.

Although pricey, many artists still make the investment and hope for a positive outcome. The road of an entertainer may not be a guaranteed income; but festivals like SXSW and advancements in everyday tech have created a motivated and optimistic generation seizing their own opportunities.

As consumers and supporters of the arts, it’s amazing to see a performer, or a group’s progression through their career. Songs may remind us of specific times in our lives, and many artists can articulate the emotions we contain better than ourselves. On the flip side, writing a song that was shaped through personal experiences and stills resonates in a multitude of admiring ears and hearts must be an astounding feeling for an artist.

It takes a lot to choose the path of a musician in today’s world, due to the limited V.I.P seating in the industry’s pimp mobile. Fortunately through natural developments, we have seized the power to connect in ways we couldn’t before. Sites like YouTube, Facebook, Spotify, and Soundcloud have opened up the horizon for artistic aspiration. Soundcloud, a rapidly-expanding Swedish online audio distribution platform based in Berlin, has just reached a milestone 250 million visitors in their quest to become the audio platform of the web. They have a consistent stream of 200 million active listeners a month, with merely 190 employees servicing the needs of producers, singers, rap artists, your mom, connoisseurs, and music lovers all around the globe.

An overwhelming amount of music still goes largely unheard on the web, but it’s different than before in that an artist does not need a label or a connect to be heard. Take for example GoldDash, based out of Nashville, Tennessee, where one member studies audio engineering at Belmont University. They’re driving from Nashville to Austin. About 870 miles, which at a consistent speed of 70 would take 13 hours.

As a college student, time is something you lack, and you have no budget because all your income goes to books, transportation, and munchies. Luckily their whip is as smooth as their music. It’s a Prius, which holds 8, $2-dollar gallons, averaging a fill up of $16–20. Not only are they efficiently saving gas money, but they are bringing their own food, staying with generous friends, and aren’t required to pay to perform which brings the total of their trip to almost nothing.

It was easy for them to make legitimate plans that coincided with their budget, “due to how simple communicating with others is,” Gold in GoldDash, Cameron Moser, told me. Being able to connect with others by just a click on a cloud has drastically helped this up-and coming-group dream bigger, and much easier. Soon they, alongside many others like them, will be in Austin, Texas performing at SXSW, in hopes that it is the spark they need to achieve their goals. The internet-of-things has created a bridge of unity connecting us in amazing ways, and gatherings such as South by Southwest inspire many of the icons we respect today, continually helping pave opportunities for self-promotion and creativity.


Originally published at exile.is on March 17, 2015.

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