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P&E PRESENCE AT SxSW 2012
Beginning Tuesday, March 13, 2012, Recording Academy staffers descended on Austin, Texas, to attend the SXSW Music, Film & Interactive conference for another informative (and sleep-depriving) week of panels, performances, meetings, and networking opportunities. Braving the heat and the humidity that blanketed the city, conference attendees spent countless hours roaming the streets, checking out new bands and soaking up the “fan experience.”
Upon arrival at their respective hotels, badge-holders received a series of conference-related swag and literature that detailed the most popular activities and functions planned for the week. Academy outreach staff kicked off night two at Austin’s famous County Line BBQ, where delegates from the Texas, Memphis, and Los Angeles Chapters, and the P&E Wing met to discuss membership outreach and production details for Academy events, all the while enjoying the 180-degree panoramic view of Austin’s city lights.
Following dinner, it was straight to MI Annex on 6th and Red River for the Musicians Institute Day 1 evening session showcase featuring New York newcomer A$AP Rocky, Detroit native Danny Brown, Schoolboy Q and Houston’s latest female MC Snow Tha Product, among others. A hip-hop heavy lineup of performances, the MI Annex set the tone for rap’s takeover at SXSW 2012.
The Austin Convention Center served as the central hub for all official SXSW activities, featuring a trade show, art gallery and series of panels and seminars for all badge holders. The buzz surrounding the music conference involved Thursday’s keynote address (and impromptu acoustic performance) from American rock legend Bruce Springsteen. In between short anecdotes about his personal life, Springsteen touched on important topics relating to sound quality and musical influences that resonated with the audience.
Later that same day, The Recording Academy’s Advocacy Chair, Daryl Friedman, held an important and informative panel—How Stella Got Her Masters Back, featuring world renowned vocalist and disco legend Gloria Gaynor, and entertainment law veterans Eric German and Ken Abdo. The panel focused on copyright reversion rights and the recent legislation shakedown that exposed ambiguities in copyright law dating back to the early 1960s. Panelists and audience members engaged in lively debate regarding legal interpretation, revenue sharing, master recording ownership and exploitation.
Guided by mid-day hunger pangs, the day continued with a stop at the P&E Wing-sponsored TapeOp Magazine SXSW mixer at Lucky Lounge. Notable attendees included P&E Wing Steering Committee member Dan Workman, who rode his Harley Davidson direct from Houston to enjoy the afternoon celebration. The showcases and gratis cocktail offerings generated a robust crowd throughout the afternoon and on-site contesting kept the crowd intact until the next event.
From there it was a short trek to The Four Seasons Hotel where Academy members and industry professionals enjoyed dinner, networking and a series of performances by artists Josh Abbott and Gary Clark Jr., among others, at The Recording Academy Texas Chapter’s GRAMMY® Block Party. Hosted on the outdoor lawn of the hotel, attendees took in views of the river and lush landscape in between sets on stage. Los Angeles P&E Wing committee chair and rock star engineer Andrew Scheps circulated through the crowd conversing with other P&E Wing leaders including engineer Ed Cherney, engineer/studio owner Dan Workman, and studio owner and Los Angeles Chapter Governor Jeff Greenberg. Other notable attendees included Texas Chapter President and platinum-selling recording artist Paul Wall, TapeOp Magazine founder Larry Crane, Stadium Red Chief Engineer Ariel Borujow, GPS’s Jerimaya Grabher, and iStandardProducers.com founder Don DiNapoli.
The evening continued over at the Beauty Ballroom for the Fools Gold showcase featuring GRAMMY®-nominated producer/DJ Just Blaze, remixer/DJ ATrak and a handful of hip-hop newbies eager to take a stage at SXSW 2012. The intimate crowd of onlookers included engineer Gimel ‘Young Guru’ Keaton, producer manager Josh Kamen, famed Texas based hip-hop engineer Mike Dean, Stadium Red Chief Engineer Ariel Borujow, and lyricist Iron Solomon, to name a few.
Friday began with an early breakfast followed by a brief visit to the SxSeattle Party at The Palm. From there it was off to The Converse Fader Fort to meet producer/DJ Frequency—we discussed his recent success, working as a full-time touring DJ, Academy membership and P&E Wing committee participation. Among the sea of brand exhibits held within the fort[ress] walls, Beats By Dre Marketing Manager Jessica Nguyen and team held court at their demonstration booth where they coaxed visitors to engage in conversation and short demos by offering a free custom screen-printed t-shirt to those willing to participate.
Lunch came together at Copa Bar & Lounge where Academy staff hosted a Dance/Electronic producer and DJ meet & greet attended by Red Light Management associates Adam Foley, Steve Satterthwaite, Sheneeza Mohammad and Crystal Method manager Richard Bishop. Additional attendees included Josh Berman (Warp Records US Label Manager), Paula Quijano (Little Giant Entertainment—manages Penguin Prison and J.Viewz), Sean Horton (Producer, Decibel Festival), Andy Caldwell (DJ), Adrian Martinez (manages Wolfgang Gartner), Jamal Dauda and Karen Hernandez (Undocumented Management).Everyone snacked on lite bites ranging from homemade queso dip to flautas and quesadillas complimented by some spicy mojitos and guacamole that became the talk of the afternoon.
Immediately thereafter it was off to the airport to return home to Los Angeles. While waiting to board the flight, luck struck, and GRAMMY winning producer/engineer George Massenburg appeared. He briefly shared highlights from his SXSW weekend before disappearing into the bustling crowd of afternoon travelers. Five hours later, and a pit stop in Phoenix, engines cooled on the tarmack in Burbank and it was home to enjoy the rest of the weekend. Until next year…