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SXSW 2011 Recap: Chop Shop / Atlantic Records Party

Rhydian Dafydd, on bass and Ritzy Bryan, on guitar - rock out at the Chop Shop Records / Atlantic Records SXSW Party 2011, enabled by Cisco Eos

At SXSW, with hundreds of bands, singer / songwriters, DJ / producers, playing across the city, I was reminded of why record labels are important. You need them for the curation and aggregation of the music. Otherwise, in a sea of music, there are less avenues to find a good group of similar artists you may like.  Last year at the Bandwidth Conference in San Francisco, we heard music industry luminary and Elektra Records founder, Jac Holzman, opine on the importance of labels as curators (watch video here).

I attended many record label showcases at SXSW 2011 that proved this point -- including two showcases enabled by Cisco Eos: The Killers Lasers Papers showcase which was hip hop / R&B focused (link to our review), and the primarily indie rock driven Chop Shop Records / Atlantic Records SXSW Party.

If you are reading this post before March 27th and you register at several of the artist sites of the bands who played the Chop Shop / Atlantic showcase including -- kittentheband.com, scarson45.com, republictigers.com, thejoyformidable.com -- you’ll be entered to win a custom designed Flip MinoHD™. The custom artwork on the Flip reflects the talents of Portugal The Man lead singer, John Gourley, who created the painting for the showcase poster.

I had not heard any of the Chop Shop Records bands before the event, and I was pleasantly surprised once the showcase got going. All the bands put on monster performances. I thought to myself again, “great curation at work”. The showcase started off with Kitten The Band, led by vocalist / guitarist Chloe Chaidez. Chloe was thrashing about during the 5 song set with a powerful voice and a confident stage presence. The music reminded me of early years of The Cure.

When Chloe of Kitten got off stage, I got to talk with her briefly about how she uses social media to connect with fans. The Atlantic Records team kindly let me know she’s only 16 years old. You would need to get up close to the stage to even guess Chloe’s age because she performs so confidently, yet sure enough she’s a soft spoken fresh faced teen when not singing. Each of the bands I talked with during the showcase have a specific social media channel that they like to use as their primary means of communication with fans. Chloe of Kitten’s social media platform of choice to talk to fans is Facebook;  I guess like you would expect of a teenage girl.  John Gourley of Portugal The Man emphasized he’s all about Twitter. For the U.K.’s Scars on 45, video blogging is the primary way they communicate to fans. In the clip, they talk about the video they shoot and other methods they use to communicate with fans, including via their Cisco Eos powered web site -- Scarson45.com.

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SXSW Recap: Panels, Concerts and Showcases

SXSW has become an increasingly important event for the media and entertainment industry. The numbers themselves are telling—the show has had five+ years of double digit growth, and organizers said there was a 40 percent increase in registrations for the interactive portion this year compared to 2010.  On the music and film side, organizers said that last week, the city of Austin, TX saw 2,000 bands perform on 92 stages, and there were more than 275 film screenings.

While the conference and festival’s increased prominence brings more eyeballs, it also means it’s harder to stand out from the crowd. Brands need a strong online presence to create interest and drive audiences to their physical events.

Not only did we participate in the conference portion of the festival, but Cisco Eos powered the sites behind Atlantic Records’ SXSW events, driving interest and real value over the course of this much anticipated event. These turned out to be some of the highlights of SXSW: Read More »

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SXSW 2011 Showcase: Killers, Lasers, Papers enabled by Cisco Eos


Janelle Monae backstage and ready to go, being interviewed Killers Lasers Papers show host Gurj Bassi

The Killers Lasers Papers showcase by Atlantic Records here at SXSW 2011 featured amazing performances from the label’s very deep pool of talent including rapper / singers,  Donnis,  B.o.B., Whiz Khalifa, and Janelle Monae. The KillersLasersPapers.com site powered by Cisco Eos is the online home for this hot concert.  Even though the concert has wrapped up -- there are behind the scenes photos from the show available taken by the Atlantic Records team (check out their profile page here), red carpet photos, and shots of the show. For those who were at the show, they can upload any video or photos they took during the KillersLasersPapers showcase and share them on the site by signing up.

The performances were so amazing and the show was the highlight of my lengthy SXSW experience, so it’s really great to know the memories can live on at an official online site for the event. I would like to see more concerts like this have an official event page. A Facebook event page  may drift off into the ether after the event is done. As a fan I would like to  know I have a dedicated URL I can look up any time :  for instance,  KillersLasersPapers.com.  I have my own profile page on KillersLasersPapers (link to my profile) and I’ll be uploading some of my own videos and photos from the event  over the next few days to share with fellow fans. Also, because there was a Twitter hash tag for the concert - #KillersLasersPapers -- I can go back and review the conversations about the show.

UStream's Social Stream from KillersLasersPapers

The site featured a live stream of the show to fans across the globe with Gurj Bassi from MTV’s Downtown Girls hosting and providing back stage interviews with the artists. Also via UStream’s social stream, a real time chat on the front of the site (pictured right), kept the fan conversation about the show going. The social stream feature allowed fans to chat with each other during the show using their Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and AOL Instant Messenger accounts. Janelle Monae fans call themselves ‘fandroids’.  Uber ‘fandroid’ Lady Maestra tweeted the right answers to questions during the online scavenger hunt, winning herself the custom designed Killers Lasers Papers Flip cam (pictured).

Some show highlights -- Donnis opened up the night performing his hit ‘Eat You Alive’. B.o.B followed Donnis’ set backed by an amazing live band.  He and the band played his hits ‘Nothing on You’ and ‘Airplanes’. The band really kicked into gear during a really triumphant performance of the heartfelt song ‘Don’t Let Me Fall’.

B.o.B. at KillersLasersPapers

Whiz Khalifa followed, and immediately had the crowd going with his rap ode to the Pittsburgh Steelers, ‘Black and Yellow’. Khalifa moved on to a new rap song from his catalog called ‘The Thrill’ which borrows from Empire of The Sun’s ‘Walking on a Dream’. He even did a tribute to rapper / singer Nate Dogg who recently passed away.

Wiz Khalifa talks to Scott Brown (at right), Cisco Media Solutions Group Marketing Director, about making his videos with Flip cams

Janelle Monae’s group, all dressed in super crisp black tie outfits, ran through really danceable songs like ‘Wondaland’ and ‘Dance or Die’ at the beginning of their set. She then worked up to dramatic fast moving numbers like ‘Cold War’ and ‘Tightrope’ by the end of a set that went much longer than we all expected. She pushed her performance right up to the 2 AM show close. Earlier in the evening, our marketing director Scott Brown was whisked on to the tour bus to present Miss Monae with a Flip cam. Scott remarked that Janelle is super soft spoken -- likely she just saves her energy up for such epic and dramatic performances.

We will share more behind the scenes photos and videos from KillersLasersPapers on the blog when we are back from SXSW but you know the real place to stay tuned to for content from the show is KillersLasersPapers.com

Some great shots from Scott Brown follow in the slide show below.

Janelle Monae and her very talented band performing ‘Sincerely Jane’ from her first album Metropolis, at KillersLasersPapers

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Trends at SXSW Interactive

Cisco Media Solutions Group is at the SXSW conference as our colleague Scott Brown blogged about right here. Before we got to the expo hall booth 322 and got ready for the Killers Lasers Papers showcase Thursday 3/17 at SXSW Music, we tried to get to as many SXSW Interactive panels and events as we could.

I looked back to my blog post on SXSW Interactive 2010. I wrote in 2010, SXSW Interactive attendance was up 40% from 2009. Well can imagine it’s up another 40% in 2011 -- I haven’t seen the latest statistics yet. Long lines dominated my first day attending panels at SXSW Interactive.

Also, the conference is much more spread out this year -- with interactive panels spread out in hotels and other venues across Austin. No matter how hard you try, it’s not easy to get to all the panels you want to see. When it come to media and entertainment -- SXSW Interactive has plenty of panels to offer about how digital and social media are changing experiences with content. The two trends I noticed right away for SXSW 2011 are:

1. Mobile applications seem to have the share of attention at interactive -- and many of them are focused on ‘getting together’ around interests -- nightlife events, food, photos, fashion.

2. Content creators are focused on extending their brands across digital platforms and in the real world -- this trend was highlighted by the term I kept hearing at the conference -- transmedia.  You can follow the term on Twitter via the hash tag to learn more -- #transmedia.

While I was at the blogger lounge sucking up all the bandwidth I could get, Cisco colleague Jeff Marusak was out in the field taking notes. He attended some panels on how to mine social media for customer insights and we’ll share some takeaways from those panels in this post.

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Cisco @ SXSW: Revolutionizing Social Media with You

South by Southwest officially kicks off this weekend, and the Cisco Media Solutions Group is busy getting ready for this year’s festivities. If you missed our previous blog posts, you can read up on all of the events in which CMSG will be participating, including the hottest show at SXSW, Killers, Lasers, Papers.

If you’re a media exec in charge of marketing a content brand, or a technologist tasked with developing cutting-edge online experiences for your portfolio, then you’re probably at SXSW to discuss the social revolution taking place in the business of and the experience with entertainment content.

Over the last couple of years, executives and entertainers alike have begun to harness the power of “social.” Artists have flocked to Twitter and Facebook to launch projects and connect with fans. Media companies have incorporated social into their promotion campaigns and built communities of fans around their content. All of this is great, but questions remain around the long-term value of these efforts:

  • How do you convert social engagement to new revenue streams?
  • How do you turn a social snacking experience into a long-term relationship between consumers and your branded content?
  • What’s the right mix of social components for your brand, and how do you get them to achieve the objectives you have? (Or more fundamentally, what IS your strategy for how you’re using social technologies?)
  • How can you scale the successes you’ve had with one site/artist/brand to an entire portfolio of brands? Read More »

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