One of the most exciting panels I've got to see this week was with Anthony Bourdain, and his close knit team of producers and social media savants, when they spoke to one of the largest rooms at SXSW. While it may not have been the most enlightening panel of the conference, it was great to get the perspective of digital from successful network tv show. Anthony, DrunkHulk, and the rest of the crew have a deep understanding of providing a second online experience for their fans of what they like to call 'food porn'.
There isn't a lot that scares the No Reservations crew, even acknowledging that their show may not have the deepseeded meaning behind it. The content - in its simplicity - is what gets the people going. They use YouTube to post content that has never been on the air before whether it's some low quality footage or a creative animated short. They have massive participation on Twitter. Facebook is leveraged as a messging platform where the crew shares funny pictures on the road, ranging from images of Fish Tacos to pics of Christopher Walken. Social media is a language the team speaks all too well. If it's out there on the web, they'll try it. They're even exploring the use of Google+ Hangouts, even if the number of people hanging out there, at least for now, is small.
Once the music portion really took off on Wednesday there was noticable shift in the conference. The attendees are far different from those who attend interactive. The panels have been decent, but what's noticable about music is the presentations and conversations are often at the beginner stage because much of the music biz is playing catch up. Since 2010 I've run an online music website 'Vibe To This' under the Complex Media Network. I've learned a TON of lessons in the digital landscape and also what goes on the ground floor of the music business. Many of the attendees are slow adapters. Some are not. You either get it or you don't and things are changing slowly.
Naturally there are heated debates constantly going on about the state and future of music resulting in some lively discussions. While live music has remained the constant in the business, (with the shift of marketing shows online) the rest of the music has been flipped upside down and feels like its stuck doing a headstand. From streaming, to free downloads, to apps like Spotify, nobody can really predict the future of what's going to happen. We sort of all have to bite down and ride it out. There is a small percentage of people who still purchase CD's and these are actually young teenagers who have just bought cars without AUX hook ups. That is dying fast. Spotify is crushing Pandora, as well as giving iTunes a run for its money. Spotify caps your listening at 48 hours and then it's no longer free, except on mobile. And even after that it's pretty affordable.
From the Blocks to the Blogs session was easily relatable for a lot of what I do, but to be honest, I'm not getting my mind blown. It has really been great networking on the other side of what I do, yet I don't feel like I am gaining a heap of knowledge like I had hoped. Mostly I feel like I am getting confirmation what I already knew. C'est la vie - another conference in the books.