Purely Subjective .004 — SXSW isn’t dead, we’re just old.

Purely Subjective .004 — SXSW isn’t dead, we’re just old.

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Be mindful of what makes you mad, because that reaction will define you in ways that inaction can’t undo.

SXSW used to be the pinnacle of music discovery. In its prime, the festival drew over 35,000 guests to the streets of Austin, while this year parts of 6th street were boarded and abandoned. Emptiness aside, SXSW isn’t dead, we are just old now; with age comes a proclivity to spend time in areas that make space for your interests. Those of us who first attended approximately a decade ago are on the cusp or have since aged out of the festival’s targeted demographic, while the remainder struggle to accept that urban really isn’t welcome at SX anymore.

In 2014, there was an accident — in which a driver’s vehicular aggression led to four fatalities and left 20 people injured. That incident triggered the festival’s hasty commercial pivot away from hip-hop all together. As the SXSW’s commitment to black music waned, there was a 50% reduction in the booking of official hip-hop acts, decreasing urban visibility overall, and leaving an annual pilgrimage feeling type empty. What remained was an expectation that cultural familiarity would continue to compel the aged crowd to keep coming. But when has love ever been enough to keep any relationship afloat? 2019 came full force with record low attendance rates. Being a socially active brand begins and ends with a commitment to customer truth and affinities. If you fail at that, your audience will fail you too.

A first-time for everything: I actually went to SXSW this year, spoke on a panel, and wound up featured in a Billboard article. It was weird, but cool, and I got to be really black out loud.

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