Every March for the past eight years, Kyra Reed has made the trip to Austin, Texas for the unique convergence of music, film, media, and technology that is the South by Southwest festival.
This year, the Turlock resident hosted a panel discussion during music week titled Social Media Band Camp. It was an opportunity for the social media guru to share her knowledge with up-and-coming bands in a question and answer format.
“I’ve been working with bands and social media before it was called social media — before bloggers could make or break bands,” Reed said.
Most notably, Reed has been recognized for her work with Nic Adler, owner of The Roxy Theatre. In 2006, Reed and Adler brought new life to the Sunset Strip icon using social media strategies. Their success set off a wildfire of rebirth for other businesses on the Strip as well.
Adler joined Reed on the Social Media Band Camp panel, along with Nathan Levinson, and Live Nation’s Gretchen Fox.
“Most bands have an awareness for the need of (social media), they just don’t have a clue how to use it properly — how to maximize their community,” said Reed.
Reed said most of the band members she’s talked with had a dream of growing up and being a rock star. They thought the only thing they needed to do to make that happen was play music in their garage until they were discovered and signed to a label.
The SXSW workshop was an attempt to educate musicians on how marketing — and in particular, social media — can put their band on the charts, even without a label.
Reed was quick to point out, however, that social media marketing isn’t the only thing needed to become a rock star.
“You have to have good music — without that no amount of social media will make you rich and famous,” she said.
One thing Reed said she got a lot of during the five-day music week of SXSW was sweet sounds.
“The streets of Austin were full of bands in bars,” she said. “There were 2,500 bands showcased, an unbelievable amount of music. I got to see one of my favorites — Alabama Shines — and went to a party on the last day to find someone new that is now one of my favorites, and that is J. Roddy Walston & The Business.”
While Reed found Austin and the SXSW festival exhilarating, she was glad to come home to Turlock.
“It’s nice to sit down in my backyard and look out at the pasture,” she said.