Live Blogging the SXSW HeadCount Panel

[caption id="attachment_4563" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Andy Bernstein Starts Things Off"]


Scott Goodstein, a self-described "activist," Daryl Friedman, and Michael Martin

[caption id="attachment_4562" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Ann Jones Donohue introduces herself"][/caption]

12:20 PM, CST: Here I am, HeadCount's fearless (false) former "Man on the Lot"/summer intern and current law student, waiting for HeadCount's panel to begin here at the city Convention Center in surprisingly frigid Austin, Texas.  SXSW, or "South By" as the locals call it, is abuzz with talk of the tragic passing of incredibly influential "alternative-before-there-was-alternative" Alex Chilton.  The sadness is particularly eerie given the fact that a Big Star panel is occurring at the same time as ours.

12:43 PM: Michael Martin is talking about Jack Johnson's community change entity, All at Once.  "For every person that views a given non-profit's video, Jack donates a dollar to the non-profit.  It encourages these non-profits to get involved and get others involved.  At one point, the record being offered for download was the most downloaded song in history."

12:45 PM: Daryl Friedman is talking about the difficulties the Grammy telecast faced in encouraging Haiti relief efforts.  Sample highlight: "I don't know if Andrea Bocelli tweets himself or if he has somebody else tweet for him."  My general impression is that Andrea Bocelli tweets less (memorably) than Shaq.  "The numbers are so great because we created this ongoing connection with the fans that started before the event and continued on thereafter."

12:49 PM: Scott Goodstein is discussing artist immersion.  "From the artist to the fan in a direct way, a la Fat Mike talking to his crowd.  Now we can have texts to and from artist and fanbase."  Scott just told the entire panel, a room full of roughly 75 people to pull out their phones and text JGD to 738674.  He then clarified, "Messaging and data rates may apply."  Billy Bragg's Jail Guitar Doors just launched the initiative at SXSW.  Is anyone else reminded of the Judd Nelson-defying performance from Airheads by this?

12:53 PM: Andy asks, somewhat rhetorically, "Will an artist get the same personal energy rush from using text messaging towards a cause that it seems to me they get from the onstage shout-out?"

12:58 PM: Michael Martin addresses the HeadCount MusicforAction campaign.  "I really love what HeadCount's done with the Bonnaroo live tracks.  You have to incentivize these things."  In case you're wondering, fans  to date have sent roughly 30,000 letters to the Senate via MfA.

1:05 PM: Scott Goodstein believes that increasingly cost-efficient application development, combined with the proliferation of smartphones is the most likely next most influential technological shift.  Scott noted that Chris from Death Cab for Cutie's application was actually developed by a fan.  Daryl Friedman added that the ease of GPS-based applications will change the social networking process forever.  It's kind of scary how many people in this panel room are actually using their cell phones while the panel is taking place.

1:08 PM: The first question from the audience came from a man who immediately acknowledged how tough it was this morning "after last night."  The guy looks pretty hungover.  I wonder what he drank.  Addressing the carbon footprint of many of the campaigns, Ann Jones Donohue suggested that offsetting emissions via donations is very common.  Ann is talking about the Ditty Bops, who bike to and from their concerts.  Michael Martin: "Offsets: it's a complicated issue.  Some just suck.  Others are phenomenal.  It's a valid issue.  Obviously the best thing is to have no emissions but short of that, in the world we live in, there will be some emissions, and we must just do what we can do."  Daryl Friedman: "10 years ago, we had Cadillac Escalades dropping off artists on the red carpet.  It's not like that anymore, obviously, but the process of change is sometimes easier said than done and occasionally out of our hands."

1:13 PM: Ann is talking about "Gaga for Haiti Day."  100% of our proceeds from all merch sales that day went to Haiti.  The campaign raised $235,000 on MusicToday.  "The fans took action and communicated via links on social networking sites to tell others."  I could take this opportunity to make a joke about how Lady Gaga (and her wardrobe designer) are from 2115 (as is their drug stash?,) but I won't.  Scott corrected a pro-SXSWInteractive questioner and asserted that Trent Reznor did more via Twitter in raising awareness than any of the "so-called Twitterati did."

1:18 PM: Scott said, "Cause-related marketing can be effective from the artist, but authenticity is rarely what it needs to be.  Being funded by major corporations can work right when it's authentic."  I'm reminded, of course, of this.  Scott is talking about Chris Shiflett from the Foo Fighters and Tom Morello and their contributions to the health care campaign.  Michael Martin revealed an upcoming Dave Matthews Band summer campaign against plastic bottles at shows.

1:25 PM: For what it's worth, there are alot of gorgeous women in this room.  My opinion: SXSW = Milf Paradise.  There are also alot of heavyset fellas.  I think by and large that everybody who's of average weight in the room is in a band.  Much more importantly, Scott Goodstein is talking about Rise Against's work against suicide.  Mike: "Different artists are geared towards different issues.  A performance doesn't always make sense."

1:30 PM: Andy in closing: "There is an art and a science with musicians.  HeadCount works with 80 different artists.  That's our whole thing.  A great way to raise money with artists is things like Meet and Greets or signed item auctions and it's not costing the artists anything.  When the artist has a foundation though, and is there to write checks, sometimes it's the total opposite.  About half of HeadCount's funding comes from artist-related initiatives.  It really is about trying to think like the artist and know what will feel good for them."

1:32 PM: Thanks for following along guys.  Remember: what you do matters, whether you're playing MSG or a high school dance.  Feel free to comment below.