Phantom Planet drummer Jason Schwartzman rhapsodized about deli platters at radio meet-and-greets until Ivana informed him that they were recoupable.


Our Intrepid Reporter and His Liver Report Back From Austin
"He gets it."

"She really gets it."

Some version of the above appears to be the phrase of choice at this year’s South By Southwest conference, Austin’s annual confab of label geeks, radio freaks and other music-world denizens.

And for all the funereal press you’ve been reading about the health of the biz, the vibe—if a bit more subdued than in previous years—is still typically celebratory.

The Four Seasons bar is still packed with posers. Uber-attorney Fred Davis’ confab on 3/14 reached capacity soon after it began, as players from across the spectrum and the country fell upon one another with glad cries, moved as well as they were able to the hip-hop jams and downed many, many free drinks.

Weasels aplenty have packed shows by bands buzzing and non-, mingling with the non-industry rawk freaks in the smoky and sometimes dank boites of Sixth Street. "I don’t like it, but I get it." "I don’t get it."

BMI’s confab at Metro gamely confronted the last-minute pulling of the venue’s liquor license with a BYOB approach that actually made the event more like a house party. The crowd didn’t seem to mind. ASCAP’s night at Momo’s also proved magnetic for talent-seekers. A&R and pub pilgrimages were made to sets by Recover, Rochelle, Rochelle, My Morning Jacket, Serafin, Podunk, Piebald and Huver, while Columbia’s Quarashi and DreamWorksLoudermilk were among the signed bands causing the most lip-flapping.

It was at the panels where some of the problems exploited in the mass media were addressed most honestly, as issues like declining sales, the role of the Net, radio consolidation, the pressure imposed by quarterly accounting and other challenges surfaced in a variety of contexts.

An A&R panel on relationships between label reps and artists was all about sharing, as weasels like Matador co-head Gerard Cosloy, Columbia’s Jon Pikus, Smackdown’s Benji Gordon, Capitol’s Louie Bandak and Hollywood’s Tom Morris told moderator/attorney Ian Montone about the necessity of maintaining a healthy relationship while remaining "emotionally unattached." Those guys really get it.

A surprising amount of information that’s actually useful to the aspiring artists attending these panels was dispensed at the publishing panel moderated by DreamWorks Pub’s Mike Badami and our own Ivana’s vigorous roundtable on the relationship between baby bands and radio. Our PoMo editor was aided hugely by the wit of Phantom Planet drummer Jason Schwartzman, who rhapsodized about deli platters at radio meet-and-greets until Ivana informed him that they were recoupable. Consensus: Artists who are friendly and accommodating with programmers are the ones who "get it."

In our next report: down-and-dirty panel squabbles about record contracts and P2P, and the HITS-Vivid throwdown at the Hard Rock!

Got it? Good.