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Thursday, March 20, 2008 

SXSW '08 Observations...

I love being part of the GoGirls community during a music conference, especially Folk Alliance and SXSW. They are both large and well attended by members of our community. It's a great time to connect and get to know each other.

So at SXSW last weekend, after our daytime event at El Mercado a bunch of us hung out. Making connections is what this is about. Knowing that there are others out there doing EXACTLY what you are doing. Finding gig swap opportunities. Forging new friendships. Being part of something special.

Madalyn, Ina, Bettina, Onya, Maura, Debbie

TX GoGirls: gfire, Madalyn and Tish

As you can imagine at a music conference everyone wants to hand me their CD and/or press kit. I'm a nice person and will always take one. Do I really want it then? Um, not really. It sucks to get weighted down with CDs that I have to pack for my trip back home. I really wish someone would ask if they could mail me one AFTER the conference. See, I coach bands to do that. It's much more professional to ask someone that than to to shove it in their face and say, "here."

Be different and you'll stand out. In this business if you don't stand out you might as well go home!

And how many of you take the wrapper off before you hand it to an industry person? I already know the answer... very few of you. Do yourself a huge favor, take off the wrapper. You have a better chance of getting it listened to. And you will look way more professional than most others doing exactly what you are doing... trying to get ahead as an indie artist.

So here is a little story...
Last Thursday I went to visit one of my manager friends at a SXSW day party. I had two of my clients with me and they wanted to give him a CD more than anything. Especially because he manages someone quite big. I told them both NOT to hand him a CD but rather strike up a conversation then ask him if they could mail him a press kit. After all, this is a relationship business. It's better to get to know someone a bit. Get your picture taken with them so they'll remember you when you follow up and attach the photo. Ah, good one... I know! And when you offer to mail a press kit, tell them you would love their feedback on it. Who better than a veteran manager? I was going to introduce them to each other but ended up on a call from a frantic band who was on the road making their way to Austin and needed my assistance. My clients ended up on their own and did great without MY help. I was so proud. He eagerly gave them each a business card. It worked well. Now the ball is in their court to send the press kit then to follow up.

So I have a stack of 20 CDs on my desk right now. Each one was handed to me by an artist at SXSW, each wanting me to take a listen. It's cool really. I'm not trying to be critical. I'm trying to make a point. ASK first. Luckily I drove to/from Austin so no biggie taking these on the road. If I was flying I'd have to fit this in my already packed suitcase. Yes, packed because as a promoter I have a lot of other shit with me. Hmm, bet you didn't think about that. So I just threw the CDs in the backseat of my car for my trek home. Except I did want some music to listen to on the 3 hour drive to Sugar Land. Guess which ones got the listen... you're right, the ones with the wrapper off.

Copyright © 2008 Madalyn Sklar, IndieMusicCoach

Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach, consultant and author. She founded IndieMusicCoach and has spent over 12 years working with a wide range of independent musicians all over the world - U.S., Canada and Japan thus far. Her goal is to help indie artists achieve greater success in the music business by working smarter not harder. She is also the founder of GoGirlsMusic.com, the oldest and largest online community of indie women musicians, with a vision of bringing together and empowering musicians from around the world.

Madalyn is available for one-on-one consulting and coaching at affordable prices. Check out http://www.indiemusiccoach.com/ for more info.

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    Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach & consultant, blogger, social networks expert and author. She has spent over 15 years helping independent musicians and music business professionals achieve greater success. Her motto is: working smarter not harder. She also founded GoGirlsMusic.com, the oldest + largest online community of indie women musicians.

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    contact: madalynsklar(at)gmail.com


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