DigSouth in Charleston, SC this weekend brought together presenters, startups, and vendors in Low Country technology fields for an “Interactive” conference. With a Sideshow component including music and comedy, DigSouth offered beneficial elements to folks interested in the business of music. I quickly discovered that “Interactive” has different meanings to software developers and folks in technology fields than it probably does to most of us who make our livings in the businesses related to music, but where those interests intersect was quite interesting.
The Expo ranged from an online lumber distributor to local television affiliates and medical app developers. For those in tech development—especially those looking for seed money and development, the event must have been a dream, but figuring out how these elements applied to the business of music was a little more elusive. There was a lot of talk about verticals, pipelines, and scalable portals, but not as much in language that creatives tend to use.
The most directly applicable to those of us in the business of music is the Charleston Creative Parliament, described on their website as:
…the brand name of a coalition of business owners, entrepreneurs, and free agents… really anyone committed to helping the Charleston region realize its full potential as a creative community.
It’s a diverse group of creative professionals that gather (usually at night), make decisions collectively via much discussion (and a lack of bureaucracy), and take on projects that are deemed mutually beneficial. And fun. It’s an all-volunteer adhocracy of folks dedicated to cultivating creativity and generating positive economic impact in our community.
The Parliament brings together a broad assortment of “creatives” for networking events and professional exchange, somewhat like the Carolina Music United (CMU) event in Columbia, SC in March 2013. While slightly different in focus, CMU could work together or learn from the success of The Parliament, perhaps for future collaboration or networking—both for members and leadership.
A fun part of DigSouth was the SideShow—evening events featuring live music. Due to travel challenges, we missed Those Darlins at The Alley, but people were talking about the amazing show on the street on Saturday. I caught Hurray for the Riff Raff at Redux, a building that houses working studios of visual artists, gallery space for installations, and a small performance space. The show was early, so people were scrambling to arrive, but by the third song, the venue was filled. People grooved (is that a better way of saying “Dancing with myself?) and clearly liked their songs. When Sam Doores and the Tumbleweeds took the forefront (several of the band members play in both bands when on the road), the crowd really came alive!
For the future, I think adding elements more directly applicable to content creators in digital media and music would be a logical extension of the very “tech focused” event. There is a lot of room for creatives to be part of the economic picture. If DigSouth assisted in bringing those worlds together—especially when we speak different “languages” of tech and art—what is happening in business development and the arts could be the forefront of mutually beneficial progress.
Editor’s note: Special thanks to Sloane Spencer from Country Fried Rock for the special correspondence.
Please check out her Website Country Fried Rock to find out all the awesome things she’s doing for the music community. She has a weekly syndicated radio show by the same name. Here’s an excerpt from her website explaining a little about it…
…Country Fried Rock, a one-hour, weekly radio road trip that features some of the most exciting off-the-radar artists talking about, and playing, the music that moves them. From legendary veterans like James McMurtry to newcomers playing clubs and sleeping on couches, each episode features an in-depth conversation that explores motivations, fears and victories as America’s truest musical artists unpack their own tunes and the songs that inspire them. The sounds may range from bluegrass to indie-rock, but the heart beats true.
Sloane Spencer will tell you that music changed her life. She championed Southern roots music long before she knew it had a following. Like many ultra-fans of music discovery, Spencer started a music blog. Country Fried Rock quickly added a Top 5 streaming station in its genre. By 2012, Spencer’s friendly, knowledgeable interviews found their way to shine as podcasts. Her many years in radio give her a comfortable, conversational approach to helping you find your new favorite band. Spencer covered emerging roots music for PopMatters, No Depression, The Bluegrass Situation, South Carolina Music Guide, and others. For many years, Spencer has advocated for musicians’ mental health care, bringing awareness to the unique needs facing musicians. She executive produced two music compilations that benefit Nuci’s Space (Athens, GA), preventing musician suicide. Spencer embodies that southern spirit present in roots music, and it’s the connection she feels with the music that makes her take on the genre so authentic. Sloane exemplifies everything that is good about the South: DIY ethos, charm, and an unconventional approach that always leaves you wanting to hear more.