With the growing numbers attending SXSW, the inundation of new Austin residents, and musicians travelling across the globe to experience the culture and community of Austin’s arts scene, Anthony Erickson and Cole Stevenson are amongst those looking to lay the necessary groundwork to fill what they perceive as the last remaining void in the ATX scene: to act as liasons for musical unity. Their goal is to tear down the previous technological and profressional boundaries and connect fans, musicians, and their prospective collaborators through their alternate model to the industry: the Eye in the Sky Music Collective.
After their meeting at Texas State University, the collective’s co-founders moved to Austin, drawing upon their collective desires and experiences to find a way to overcome the outdated industry practices of the past. Their solution was found in examining what they identified as the crux of the industry dilemma, which Stevenson articulates as being the fact that “the artist are at the bottom of the totem pole, and we wanted to flip the script, and start from realizing the problem first and developing the system to address the problem specifically.”
Eye in the Sky accomplishes this through encouraging the patronism revival, thus liberating fans and artists of the guise of the “middle-man” interactions of current online models. They make it their goal to act as an ethical source of support to artist production efforts that simplifies the process in the sprit of collaboration rather than competition. With their model in place, Erickson and Stevenson have worked hard to make this idea a reality. Anthony sought to flesh out the management and production side with his knowledge from Berklee online and his resources as a long time independent musician. Stevenson implemented his aptitude for code to create EITS’s multi-functioning website. The site allows fans a new process of music discovery, and artists to not only distribute their music and merchandise, but utilitize the analytics of web sales and traffic to better accommodate and understand their target audiences.
Stevenson and Erickson’s experience in the industry has given them an intuitive understanding of what is truly needed for artist relations, and the passion to excel the art of the community in the most ethical means on non-exclusivity. “We are proud that this isn’t a corporate scenario where artists are starving while corporate fat cats are feeding at the buffet.” said Erickson. The collective mentality pushes Eye in the Sky past the perceived and all too typical greed of the previous music institution/industry, for they look to adapt to the future and build their services for the betterment of the artist. “Artists will use our services because its the best, not because they’re locked in,” explains Stevenson.
The sound constitution of EITS’s principals is only expected to create more expansion. The founders are working to accentuate the collective’s ability to act as a network platform to “[connect]the dots of this collaborative creative community in Austin, whose needs are growing fast but who really need help [facilitating] and [communicating] so people can be more trusting of the people they work with whether it be code, design, music, photography, or videography,” said Stevenson. Their goals for the future include curating their already hugely successful talent: Wild Child , The Dalles and The Couch, to name a few, and developing new talent for fan’s discovery.
In the sea of budding talent that is flooding this famed city’s limits and with the apparent death of the major label production model, EITS’s gives fans and musicians not only hope, but refreshingly refocuses the industry, turning it back on its source: the music.
Written by Kelli Rhodes
Images by Ryan Goodrich