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PRESIDENT GLAUBER: A POSTCARD FROM SXSW

After 31 years, I finally figured out which room at the Four Seasons I like best. My ex, bless his heart, would find a chair to wait in whenever we checked into a hotel, knowing that I’d never settle for the first room proffered. (Note: “bless his heart” and “with all due respect” are used when the opposite is meant.) I went to pick up my Speaker badge at the Convention Center (Note: the best panel of SXSW is on Thursday at 3:30pm) and, since it’s still technically the Interactive portion of SXSW, I passed a thousand faces and knew not one.

My notion of SXSW Interactive harkens back to the “glory days” (pre-sobriety) when I used to get drunk and make out with rock critics. Or radio programmers. Sorry, attendees—that ship has long sailed.

In any case, I just read that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer could walk away with a $23 million severance package, so maybe there’s something to this Interactive thing.

 The ongoing rumor is that attendance for the music part of the conference is down by more than 50% this year. Perhaps it’s because one registration now covers Film/Interactive and Music, and the former claims the credit. Most people tend to arrive for the Music part on Tuesday, but the biblical snowstorm currently blanketing a swath of America from the Northeast to the Mid-Atlantic has altered the narrative. A majority of attendees from the area rebooked their flights to arrive on Monday, though that meant submitting to a merciless gouging by local hotels. The Hampton Inn a few blocks away charged a staggering $846 for Monday night accommodations, and other hotels (The Residence Inn, for example) were demanding as much as $1,500 for the night.

Monday night marked the occasion of my annual pre-SXSW dinner with 101X PD Lynn Barstow, who is one of the few radio programmers I would be friends with even after my $230 severance kicks in.

The primary reason to be in Austin this week—besides inertia—is to look after my beloved Sundara Karma, whose schedule is below. Email me and we’ll go together. 

As much as I love seeing new bands at SXSW, there’s always one lifelong favorite that’s reformed/reunited/remade/remodeled and performing at the festival. Most radio programmers probably think of Weezer as that band (and yes, they’re playing, at Brazos Hall on Friday), but the truth is I’m particularly thrilled to catch James Chance and the Contortions after many years. And Spoon. I’ll be at The Main (it used to be the old Emo’s) on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for their residency.

Click on this image for a larger view.

 

Cartoon by Van Arno.

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THE AGENCY SAGA
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NEW RELEASES:
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SIGNS OF HITS LIST
We're reading the tea leaves. (6/14a)
LIVE NATION PONIES UP AT HOLLYWOOD PARK
Rams, Chargers and concerts. (6/14a)
MUSIC’S HOTTEST FIRMS: GRUBMAN SHIRE MEISELAS & SACKS
Is there a lawyer in the house? (6/14a)
RHYTHM, BLUES AND THE FUTURE
The musical tapestry we know as R&B.
WHO'S NEXT?
Predicting the next big catalog deal.
JUST THE VAX, MA'AM
Once we all get vaccinated, how long before we can party?
WORLDWIDE GROOVE
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?
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