As a first-timer, I didn’t quite know what to expect when asked to speak on a panel re: the UK Sync Market @ SXSW this year.
After a brief visit to NYC, I arrived in Austin late Monday 13th (after casually sharing the very same flight as the legend that is Busta Rhymes! Hello). The following 5 days featured a hell of a lot of walking (my iPhone Health app tells me an average of 20,000 steps each day), copious amounts of Texan BBQ and breakfast burritos (why can’t these be a thing in London?), one fantastic UK Music Sync panel and the beginning of some really exciting business relationships and friendships (rights holders, managers, other music supes and artists).
Austin is an incredible, buzzy city and I can honestly say I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. Other than the fact that it without doubt lives up to its famous strap line; ‘live music capital of the world’, it is also a city that is completely geared up to support the numerous conventions that are held there throughout the year (Black History Month, AnimeFest, MOTOGP Grand Prix, Austin Food + Wine Festival, Austin Fashion Week and ATX Television Festival to name just a few). With around $400 million injected into Austin economy and music venue revenues increase on average 45% over their next highest month as a result of SXSW - it’s clear to see the massive impact that the event has on this vibrant and diverse city.
p.s This year SXSW fell on the same dates as Spring Break (!!) AND St Patricks Day (apparently Texan’s take this very seriously) - you can only imagine the mayhem.
There was so much on music-wise which made it difficult to see everything I wanted to. But a handful of my personal highlights were:
UK Grime acts Frisco/Maximum absolutely smashed it (it was like an education as the DJ warmed up the crowd by talking the audience through the history of Grime, supported by killer tunes which helped shape the Grime landscape).
I’ve been meaning to catch Agnes live on a number of occasions in the UK but have never been able to make it down. All good things come to those who wait they say, and I was lucky enough to enjoy a 45 min set in the most beautiful setting of St Davids Church in downtown Austin, performing tracks from her latest album, Citizen Of Glass. Lush.
Bad-ass Israeli electro-pop artist. Fav track: ‘Dance While You Shoot’
WARREN G / SNOOP
Does this even need an explanation? REGULATEEEE!!
Other acts I saw and loved were Jacob Banks, !!! Chk Chk Chk, Alex Lahey, Let’s Eat Grandma, Rag ’n’ Bone Man, Nick Hakim, Anna Meredith, JAIN, Survive, Boo Seeka and Palm.
My panel was on the Thurs @ 5pm and alongside me were Mark Allen (ThinkSync - Moderator), Duncan Smith (Sony Playstation) and Will Theakston (Warp Records). There was about 30-40 people in the audience and no-one walked out during the session, which I’ve been told is a good thing.
We covered everything from broadcaster blankets, to pitching tracks to supervisors and union/society issues - with a focus on advertising, games and film. The audience was mostly rights holders, composers and managers - so we geared our chat to those wanting to know more about how to increase their Sync opportunities. I love doing panels like this because it’s great to simply talk about what you do, rather than just doing what you do. Afterwards we met a load of really cool labels/publishers and artists and I’m already working with one of two of them on a project I’m on. Love when that happens.
All in all it was a fantastic week and I can’t wait to go back next year :)
Rachel Menzies // Music Supervisor
My three tips for any SXSW first-timer?
COMFY SHOES. BREAKFAST BURRITOS. DRINK WATER.