First Match - SXSW 2018

The old-guy studio arguments that movies starring women don’t do well at the box office or movies led by women behind the camera don’t make money were finally placed firmly into the “bullshit” category in 2017.

The numbers don’t lie: the top three highest grossing U.S. domestic films all featured female lead roles: “Star Wars, The Last Jedi,” “Wonder Women,” and the live-action remake of "Beauty And The Beast."


My favorite SXSW showcase, The British Music Embassy (BME), celebrates its 16th year of spotlighting a variety of musical genre and geographical corners of the U.K., from punk and grime, to indie dance, garage thrash, and glam rock. From Northern Ireland and Scotland, to Wales and the Northern Powerhouse of Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and Newcastle, to East of England's Norwich, Suffolk, and Norfolk, through London and down to the rocky beaches of Brighton.

Latitude 30 has been home to BME from the beginning, with shows packing out Latitude 30 and lines forming down the block of San Jancinto. This year DIY Presents returns to kick off the nighttime shows on Monday, March 12. All the hosts and music entities are back as well, including BBC Music Introducing and BBC Radio 1 with Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 2 with Jo Whiley, BBC 6Music with Steve Lamacq, as well as the UK music trade bodies that make BME possible, year after year; organizations that cover the costs to bring these acts to Austin where the talent of the UK can gain exposure to SXSW music fans and the American music market, one of the largest in the world.


Each year roughly 2,000 bands travel from around the world for one of the most diverse music festivals in genre and country of origin. Having covered SXSW since 2002, this is a magical, abundant holiday for us music geeks. While the craziness of Sx can be a bit overwhelming with so many amazing sounds to choose from at every turn on 6th Street and beyond, those of us covering SXSW are here to help filter through chaos.

Here is the start of my series of SXSW music picks, the bands I'm looking forward to checking out live.


Lead singer and co-founding member of Austin-based Ume, Laura Langer, found thrash punk music in her teens and has never let go, even through the process of adulthood, marriage, and starting a family. It doesn’t hurt that fellow founding member and bassist Eric Larson is also her husband, with the two traversing the journey of writing, releasing music, record deals, and touring over the years. “Eric saw me play my first show ever when I was 15. He said if he ever saw that guitarist again he’d talk to her. A few months later, he saw my band play at a skatepark and we’ve been making music together ever since,” said Langer in a Facebook post promoting the #1RiffADay and #SheShreds Challenge.

The blockchain and cryptocurrency world has been on quite the rollercoaster ride in the last twelve months. Bitcoin (BTC) alone climbed in value from $1,110 in early February of 2017 to over $18,000 mid-December, and today sits at around $7,000 and change as of this publishing date. Meanwhile, you can’t swing a cat (figuratively, of course) and not hit a blockchain or crypto-related meetup or conference being held in cities across the globe.

The string of continuity throughout the blockchain community as a whole is the potential for the architecture to transform nearly every market sector. Those who are the real deal, so to speak, hold a long-game approach to the development of services and products that solve problems and improve business ecosystems, as opposed to short-term money grabs, fake ICOs, and rip-off schemes.

Despite news of countries like India and banks like Lloyds banning certain crypto coins like BTC, the future for blockchain looks very bright.

At SXSW this year, the programming focused on blockchain has expanded as those who are influencing the direction this technology is headed has grown, with new companies sprouting up that are changing operations in numerous verticals for the better.


It's been a few weeks since CES attendees were headed home, overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, and news of where technology, content, entertainment, driving, cities, and the world at large is headed. Presentations on the different levels of driverless cars, the whirl of drones overhead, the glee of Google's playground, and many more points of attraction permeated the Las Vegas hotels, conference halls, and skies.

One of the newer CES conference tracks introduced in 2018, “Where Music and Technology Collide,” led discussions on the continual convergence of entertainment, branding, and technology, how these worlds continue to weave new ideas into unique experiences, and how the value of music is determined and the understood.


CES, the first major technology conference of the new year that gives us all a glipse of what to expect from nearly every consumer and B2B market there is over the following 12 months. So get your comfortable shoes on, a grab a coffee, and get ready for a myriad of acronyms to fly through your ears and head over the course of the next week.


It's the end of the year, a time to look back at the wins, losses, innovations, and lessons learned within the live events industry. For those of us that made it out to a few key industry conferences, including FestForums in Santa Barbara and XLIVE in Las Vegas, we all had a chance to share insights, discuss experiences, and look at what's ahead for 2018. Whether you made it to either, both, or neither of the conferences, here's a look at some of the key takeaways I gleaned that I'd like to share; the topics and areas of focus that will be on my radar going into next year.


For a number of years now, Kaffeine Buzz has been reporting on event technology trends, publishing deep-dive articles on festival live streaming, VR and AR, and multi-part series on the growth of streaming content in television, film, and sports, while weaving research into the shift of advertising and branding and how that's impacting entertainment and its fans.

Now you can receive all those content goodies conveniently in your inbox each week via TheConnected.Buzz newsletter.

As I stated in the first newsletter, the goal of TheConnected.Buzz is to help all of us connect the dots between business and branding, technology and fan delight, safety and healthy risk-taking. The intent is to keep us all connected by sharing experiences and insights throughout the year and spotlighting how those in the industry are melding the traditional business practices and tools with new and innovative tactics and technology solutions to sanely stay ahead of the game.

Feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (include TheConnected.Buzz in the Subject) if you have any insights or feedback you'd like to share or have featured.


Kim Owens, editor, Kaffeine Buzz

Check out the latest issues:

12/06/2017 - Welcome to the NEW TheConnected.Buzz - AEG Studios, XLIVE, Where Live Streaming’s Headed + industry news

12/13/2017 - NEW TheConnected.Buzz - Live Streaming’s Digital Advantage, AR & VR's Impact on Branding, Fans + XLIVE + Apple Acquires Shazam + industry news

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In April of this year, AEG launched their in-house branded content division, AEG Studios. It was a logical next-step for the global promoter who for years, has been connecting some of the biggest brands in the world with some of the biggest live music, sporting events, and musical acts.

Also logical, was placing Raymond Roker -- an entertainment industry veteran, having founded URB Magazine/ and led numerous festival sponsorship activations as Content Creative Director for Coachella/Goldenvoice -- in the captain’s chair as Head of the studio.


Through each decade of triumphs and tragedies, our musical heroines and heroes have inspired us by tapping into our collective angst and anger, and then translating those emotions into song, releasing timeless tracks that are appreciated and adored from one generation to the next.

2017 is definitely one for the world’s-gone-mad record books, making Stephen Emmer’s Home Ground, released in June of this year, highly relevant as it resonates with political and socially-powered lyrics of this time in history while inspired by defiant, classic soul tracks from Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Gil Scott-Heron, and Billie Holiday that wielded “an iron fist with a velvet glove.”

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