Bandcamp: SXSW PREP Recap Posted in Music

There was a time in my life when I quoted Fight Club religiously. Any remark could be deftly answered with a snarky remark from the movie, demonstrating my discontent with our capitalistic and materialistic society rewarding personality rather than character.

At that time I had an extreme amount of entitlement for my skills and what I was owed. When things went wrong I failed to look inward, instead, blame shifting or allowing this entitlement and a sense of animosity to blossom inside myself.

Now, not so angry, I attempt to keep an open mind in all situations and approach every situation as if I know nothing. I’ve found that learning is accelerated because my brain is set up to be a sponge rather than resisting or preparing to provide counterpoint at every step. People are more willing to help when they see an open nature and someone is interested in enrichment and personal growth.

Watching the flurry of activity at Sunday’s Bandcamp I couldn’t help but remember those days of watching Fight Club regularly. Looking at the cracks in the walls of Caroline Collective I was immediately transported to the Paper Street Soap Company where a crowd of Project Mayhem members were working towards something bigger. There was one big difference though; they were working to bring equality and success through destruction — we were working to build up and support each other through education, openness and a strong sense of community. And the entitlement and pretension characterised by some unsuccessful and angry bands wasn’t present, as each group was soaking up the information flying around the room like a sponge.

This particular day we were working towards building a digital toolbox for every artist at Bandcamp. This digital toolbox would help promote them online and make it easier for them to get discovered. We made sure that bands had a domain name (thanks to Jason Armstrong) and that it was forwarding to their current dominant outpost until they build a site. We got them a band email and a flickr and a youtube account (thanks Ned Dodington and Jeremy Osborn, Wayside Drive). We offered a photographer in case they needed a band photo that day (thanks Marc Brubaker). We had several PR and marketing reps (Patty, Chris Pitre) who could review their bio. We made sure they had an online location to store their music ( to use to send to promoters at any point. We had people on hand to look over the copy and layout of their online presence and home bases, including their website and myspace, facebook, virb, reverbnation or other site (Grace Rodriguez, AYN Brand). We (thanks Ash, Music Heals) set them up on discovery sites of,,,,, and, just a few of the many sites that can help a band be discovered on the web using only passive methods.

As I compared the activity from Paper Street Soap Company and Bandcamp: SXSW PREP I realized that each community had a greater sense of accomplishment and mission and each group worked fervently towards that common goal. But the difference was in the attitudes; you could witness the excitement and openness each band had to new ideas and setting up these systems. Infomation was volunteered and readily shared as idividual groups showed eachother what they had set up or explained how technology and an online presence had helped them in the past. At the end of the  two hour session, everyone felt better about their band’s position online and everyone realized the potential of putting together their toolbox to help  not only promote themselves but also EACH OTHER.

Most Bandcamps have ended with exhaustion, as the speakers give as much information about a particular topic as they can and the attendees’ heads fill with new ideas and new methods of promoting and running their careers. Something different happened this time as bands met each other and got excited about the prospects of showing themselves at SXSW. Not only did we not run over time but everyone was excited and energized at the end of the session. We selected the topic of April’s Bandcamp: COPYRIGHT and left for Coffee Groundz for post-Bandcamp discussion.

This Bandcamp was a reflection of the success of the event over the past several months. We are building something and it’s just as disruptive and passionate as Project Mayhem. The difference is that it’s not based in anger or entitlement; it’s based in hard work, education and dedication. The result will be a strong, united and educated Music Community that is self-sustained and self-supporting.

Check the twitter stream for Bandcamp: SXSW PREP by searching the hashtag: #bandcamph.

Thanks to @audioADD, @danjoyce and of course @dryvetyme for live tweeting the event.

Check out these bands on multiple digital outposts:

Bands in Attendance:


    1. Matthew, you and everyone are doing such an awesome job with BandCamp! I love reading the recaps and updates and wish I had time to participate and help as well. Keep up the great work! Miss you!

      Posted March 5, 2009 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    2. I should most definitely harass Giant Princess into attending BandCamp. I agree with Imelda, looks like you and everyone involved is doing an incredible job!


      Posted March 5, 2009 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

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