If You Really Want to Get Noticed by SXSW

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Is SXSW even worth it for aspiring bands?

Depends on the situation – the band, the showcase, proximity of the group to Austin, money, and a lot of other factors.  But amidst a sea of bands and beer, how easy it is to get lost on Sixth Street.

This is a tough debate, though SXSW can make a lot of sense as part of a larger tour, if meetings are set up, or if momentum is building.  But getting accepted is the first step, and if you’re an indie or unsigned, you’ve now got two days to finalize your submissions (deadline is November 5th at 11:59pm).  Sonicbids is once again the online submission partner, and the uploads start at sonicbids.com/sxsw.

A successful submission is just a ticket to the circus, not a guarantee that anyone will notice.  But how do you get SXSW to care in the first place?  Here are five kernels of advice from the conference itself, as delivered to us by Sonicbids:

(1) Originality: The Music

Above all, SXSW is looking at the music first: great songs and original sound that would sell across, or appeal to, a number of different markets.

(2) Comprehensive: Have the Complete Package

Make sure your EPK is 100 percent complete.  Keep your calendar up to date, your photos fresh, upload videos of your live performances, and include any press quotes you have.  SXSW wants to see the whole picture.

(3) Creativity: The Biography

Your band bio is your chance to get creative and tell the world who you are.  The music will speak for itself, but SXSW still wants to know your personality and your goals as an artist.  Keep in mind, however, that SXSW doesn’t want to read a book – a brief but informative bio (maybe a couple paragraphs) will keep our attention.

(4) Journey: Where You’ve Been and Where You’re Going

A complete gig calendar is key when looking for a slot in a huge festival like SXSW. It gives the event programmers a better idea of where to place your band depending on the size of the venues you’ve played in the past, and venues you’re looking to play in the future.

(5) Dedication: Be Willing to Go the Distance

Give 110 percent, all of the time.  And if SXSW is interested in you, make sure that they know how interested you are in them.

“South-by” is happening March 16-20th, 2011 in Austin.  See you there.