This article was first published by DMNews.com on March 18, 2013.
I was fortunate enough to attend this year’s SXSW Interactive Festival as a moderator on a panel about crowd-funding and entrepreneurship. Considering every one of the more than 25,000 people at the festival had their eyes fixed on their phones, there’s plenty of content and conversations surrounding the show available in the social sphere at #sxsw, so I won’t try and out “Grumpy Cat” the crowds. But here are a few observations:
The uniform last week in Austin was plaid shirts, big glasses, tattoos, and beards among the digerati. However, there was also a lot of talk among these elites about “The Crowd.” There were at least a dozen different talks on the power of accessing this crowd, which could refer to either one’s own social network or a larger community, to hack a system. In my case, the system was financing. Platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Kiva, and Neighbor.ly connect entrepreneurial ideas to capital by disrupting the more traditional means of banks, community-based economic development, and venture capital firms.
While music is more popular than ever before, it’s ironic that a large part of SXSW Music is devoted to figuring out just how the industry can survive in the era of peer-to-peer sharing (interestingly Napster’s co-founders Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning were here for the world premiere of the documentary feature film Downloaded).
A great panel here showed that the music industry is actually under-developed and that there’s another potential $450 million to $2.6 billion that could currently be made (I know that that’s quite a wide range, but if I were in the music industry I’d be pretty excited about another $450 million cents in sales at the moment). Where is this opportunity coming from? Largely from the fans – those people who want to engage even more with the bands they love and are using platforms such as PledgeMusic not to donate their money to the industry, but instead to gain a deeper experience with their favourite artists.
Substitute “brands” for “bands” and I think that’s a pretty interesting idea that we can all use.
HGTV has a #lovehome wall mural outside the Austin Convention Center, allowing peeps walking by to grab some paint and add their artistic flair to the wall. Lookin’ good!