What We Learned and Heard at San Diego Music Thing


At Bandsintown, we’re all about connecting with musicians and members of the music industry to keep up with trends and new developments. So when the opportunity to attend the San Diego Music Thing popped up in our own backyard, we knew it was something we needed to hit up. 

San Diego Music Thing is successfully bringing a SXSW vibe to the community but with a more local format. With over 100 artists taking part, there was something for everyone regardless of musical taste. Some of our favorites were Meg Myers and hometown heroes Cults. While the concerts were fantastic, the panels during the day proved to be a great time to learn about what’s happening in the music world.

On Friday, we sat in on the panel “Digital Business: Social Media and the Value of a Fan” with a few of our friends like Harold Gutierrez who handles all things digital at 5B Artist Management (Slipknot, Asking Alexandria) and Kavi Halemane who is the EVP and Head of Digital at The Collective (Linkin Park, Stone Temple Pilots, Sara Evans). Also on the panel were Jaime Solis from Slacker Radio, Dana Shayegan from Collective Digital Studios, John Lenac from PledgeMusic, and Michael Schneider from Urturn. The panelists discussed how important the role of social media is in the development of an artist’s brand and career but Halemane noted that musicians should NOT spread themselves too thin. Artists need to be where their fans are and tailor their content to those audiences but it all depends on who they’re trying to reach. He noted YouTube is a great place to be. Shayegan seconded this, since YouTube is the largest music discovery platform that exists, saying it’s also a great way to monetize your music.

Solis stated how important it is to think of a musical career as a business. Just like Pepsi wants to connect with buyers and fans, so do musicians. In order to do that, it’s important to think of ways to add value to the lives of your consumers. Lenac discussed the idea that social media is a bit of a land grab - it’s important for musicians to get the right username and then decide how to use it. There’s only so much time so best to prioritize the right platforms. When fans come across your content, Schneider stressed how important it is to showcase your talent - saying “a first impression is like a first date. You need to show fans why they should engage with you.”

On Sunday, our favorite panel focused on management and its role in an artist’s career. We connected with our friends such as JJ Corsini from Vector Management (Milo Greene, Wildcat! Wildcat!) and Sam Berger from Atom Factory (John Mayer, John Legend). Also on the panel were Josh Mills of It’s Alive Media (Dengue Fever), Justin Arcangel of 5B Artist Management (Slipknot, Asking Alexandria), and Kent Sorrell of Elevation Group (Crash Kings). The panel discussed the role of a manger and Corsini clarified how management exists to enhance what the artist is already doing. The artist must have the right direction and a manger will decide who should come together in terms of a label, publicist, and agent. Berger followed up by stating that in many senses, the artist is like the founder of the company and a manager is brought in to run it for them. A lot of emphasis is placed on ensuring the agent is doing good work since most income is now coming from touring.


Arcangel stressed the importance of flexibility and being able to deal with various unpredictable situations. “A lot of what it comes down to is being able to think on your feet and how you speak to your artists.” Mills reiterated by sharing how a band’s situation is always changing. With one artist he managed, a major label was the best place to be one year and the next year it wasn’t. It comes down to how you manage each situation for the good of the artist.

Overall, the major themes we encountered were

a) artists need to think of themselves as a business and

b) artist’s should focus on how they are perceived by the public.

We’re really looking forward to next year’s festival and we encourage all local music lovers to check the San Diego Music Thing next Sept!

Tour Diary: Hollis Brown

Tour Diaries are an on-going guest column series from Bandsintown artists currently on tour. This entry is from NYC rock group Hollis Brown, whose new single Wait For Me Virginia” comes out today. 


We rode into Louisville, Kentucky to play The Zanzabar on a beautiful day in early August. We just joined a tour with Rich Robinson from The Black Crowes, but had a day off and were lucky enough to snag an opening slot for The Baseball Project. Two members of R.E.M are in the band so we were stoked to get a chance to meet our rock star idols!

We had an early call at the radio station 91.9 WFPK in Louisville, where we got to sing a few songs and do an interview live on the air (that’s us playing live). We arrived way early at the venue, and just loitered around for awhile, picking up some Taco Bell and drinking some beer. The weather was super hot and we weren’t sure where we would be staying that night so we set ourselves up for a day of lounging. The Baseball Project arrived and we helped load in and figure out specs for the gig. Sharing drums, bass, guitar amps. Real friendly and down to earth guys, very approachable and cool.  

We were then escorted to our backstage area and we couldn’t believe it, it was pin-ball and arcade mania! All these vintage, working arcades that surrounded two couches and a small kitchen. It was incredible to see Mike Mills playing arcades wearing Star Wars slip ons. That’s a moment I will remember forever. We hung, talked a lot about music while drinking our homemade moonshine from the gig before with Rich in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Then it was time to play. We were the opening act but the crowd was really a music crowd and they took in everything we were doing. It felt great!


As The Baseball Project took the stage (above) I noticed Jim James from My Morning Jacket in the crowd and went to introduce myself. Such a sweet and nice guy, he invited me to an after party down the road, one of his friends was a DJ there, so me, Dillon and Adam got to hang with him and Patrick from MMJ until closing time. Then it was time to go back to The Zanzabar to meet up with the rest of the band and figure out where we would sleep. Long story short, right next to arcade mania on the floor of the green room. 

That’s life on the road! What a night. 

Want to see Hollis Brown on tour? Track them on Bandsintown to get concert alerts and go to their website to see their upcoming dates. And check out their new single, “Wait For Me Virginia”, available on iTunes.

Tour Diary: Rixton

Tour Diaries are an on-going guest column series from Bandsintown artists currently on tour. This entry is from pop/R&B group Manchester, England’s Rixton, in which they recall some memorable tour dates.

From major festivals to hometown shows, gig life can be a wild ride. One night you may be second guessing yourself until your crowd fills out, the next you may get a jolt of confidence from seeing family members in the front row. In these cases, Rixton’s been on both sides of the coin. Read more below from the boys’ perspective on their tour highlights thus far.


Charley Bagnall - Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
We’ve started our first bunch of tour dates in the UK including a few festivals, one of which was Wireless festival. Now, for me this was a huge, huge deal as Wireless has been a dream for a long time. It has always been a perfect mix of urban and pop rock, which I’m a huge fan of, so to have that opportunity to play was crazy. We arrive and go to our dressing room, and we set up and head towards the stage. As we’re waiting to play, the tent is empty! So we’re a bit worried and a little bit disheartened. But then as we step out, the tent becomes packed, people are running in and the place becomes full! The next thing we know, we’re playing our set and people are loving it! We get to the last song, which is the single—“Me and My Broken Heart” and the place erupts. People are singing every word. This, for me, is just unreal. Every day it grows and grows—being on tour and interacting and seeing the people sing your song back is the best feeling ever. You can’t beat it! 


Jake Roche - Lead Singer, Rhythm Guitar
Being able to travel the world and play live music and have people sing your songs back to you should never be classified as a job. I don’t see it as that. And if it is, then I genuinely have the best job on earth. Kicking off the tour in my hometown of Manchester was nuts, seeing my family out there all jumping and singing along. But the most exciting bit for me is the five minutes before the show that no one sees. When the dressing room door closes and it’s just me and the boys—the four idiots that started this crazy journey. And we can hear the fans chanting ‘Rixton' waiting for us to come on stage. That feeling is just indescribable. You genuinely feel invincible. It's a feeling I want to have for the rest of my life. 



Lewi Morgan - Drums, Backing Vocals
My favourite moment of the UK tour was the Manchester show, as it’s the first time I have had all my family at a show! It was a crazy hot and sweaty show and the crowd was incredibly responsive!


Danny Wilkin - Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals 
My highlight from tour was in Manchester, walking on stage in front of our families. The show was amazing, the crowd was welcoming and our parents, brothers, and sisters had the chance to see how much we had grown as a band. Jake got his niece up on stage to say hello to the fans, which was a beautiful moment for him. Favourite gig so far!




Want to see Rixton on tour? Track them on Bandsintown to get concert alerts and go to their website to see their upcoming dates. And check out their new single, “Wait On Me”, available on iTunes.

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