Discussions will be held in the Schoonover Center lobby on Tuesday, April 4, and Thursday, April 13, from 7-8:30 each evening. Both presentations will be free to OU students wanting to learn more about the trip.
This year marked Ohio University’s third trip to the biggest music conference in the country, South by Southwest (SXSW, aka “South-By”). As part of their academic semester, students in the MDIA 4900 SXSW class travel to Austin, Texas each mid-March to experience hundreds of bands and performers.
OU’s SXSW trip now stands as the most popular trip on campus with nearly 80 students applying and 25 attending. Last year, more than 60 percent of students landed major jobs or internships across the music and media industry at least partly as a result of the trip.
“The trip is an excellent networking opportunity for students,” said the trip’s faculty leader Josh Antonuccio, an instructor in OU’s School of Media Arts and Studies. “Two attending students already got offered jobs in Los Angeles.”
Students build strategic partnerships for internships, and network with employers, colleagues, and potential clients. This unique industry immersion course provides students with a career advantage by allowing them to engage in all facets of the music industry from publicity to engineers and producers.
“I made important connections with several smaller producers and engineers whose work I've always admired,” said Kyle Arnott, a junior in music production and recording industry. “I'll be sure to keep in touch with them, because we had fantastic discussions about our philosophies on the recording process, and they're sure to have connections to help me dive headfirst into the music industry.”
Students on the trip participated in multiple one-on-one mentoring sessions with professionals in their specific field for career advice, professional development and potential internship opportunities. During the trip, OU students heard from industry leaders in a variety of ways including panel discussions, keynote addresses, interviews and workshops.
The musical part of the South by Southwest Conference ran from March 15-20 at hundreds of venues in and around Austin. SXSW also has film and interactive components.
Each evening major record labels showcased both established and new musical artists. A few of this year’s performers, speakers and panelists included Loretta Lynn, LunchMoney Lewis, Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, T-Pain and Pat Benatar. More than 2,200 musical acts, both signed and unsigned, performed at South-By this year,
“My favorite panel I attended was aimed toward female entrepreneurs,” said Ellyn Loss, a senior majoring in music management and artist relations. “The women who spoke on the panel worked for several different companies including Universal Music Group, SESAC, and Stem. As the president of Women in the Music Industry at Ohio University, it was wonderful to see so many powerful women stepping up and delivering some of the most memorable talks at SXSW.”
Both President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama gave keynote speeches during SXSW. This year marks the first time in the 30-year history of SXSW that a sitting president and first lady have participated in the event.
A week prior to SXSW, Arnott submitted a question for First Lady Obama’s keynote speech. His question sought her advice for men in regard to being better, more supportive allies for women and women's equality.
“I have to admit, I felt pretty good when I submitted the question a week prior to SXSW, but I was taken aback when the audience applauded it in such a way,” Arnott said. “I wanted to know what this group of very powerful women had to suggest for me and others who share my motivations.”
Various interactive exhibits were available to students. One exhibit, Sony’s Future Lab, demoed a wearable neckband for listening to music, checking news and weather, and taking pictures. The device responds to voice prompts. The company also allowed attendees access to their new multi-axis moving projector, which turns a flat surface into an interactive tabletop.
“My favorite exhibit would probably have to be the Gear Expo that took place on the convention center floor during the latter half of the music portion of the conference,” said Arnott. “Tons of instrument and gear manufacturers brought their products to display and sell, and most booths let you demo everything they had available. I spent a good couple hours in there, jamming on a couple guitars, synthesizers and electronic drum kits.”
Post-trip and for what remains of spring semester, students will follow up with contacts formed during the trip. The class will hold two evening panel discussions based on their experiences and the cultural and technical trends happening in the music industry.
“The biggest thing that I took away from my trip to SXSW was definitely a new, fresh wave of inspiration,” said Loss. “I met so many young entrepreneurs trying to make the music industry great again, and it was unbelievably refreshing to bounce ideas off of people interested in creating something new within the industry like myself.”