Balance Sheet: Annie Blackman Breaks Down Income and Expenses from SXSW 2023

Balance Sheet is our effort to break down taboos around money in the music industry. Today, Annie Blackman goes through the income and expenses from performing at SXSW 2023.

Brooklyn-based folk artist Annie Blackman is all about honesty. It’s baked into her songwriting, which feels personal, authentic, and filled with clarity; her latest, an EP titled Bug, is the most recent evidence of that. The album’s third and final single, “The Well,” is grounded and lyrically rich, but arrived with a playful music video that acts as a window into Blackman’s more whimsical sensibilities.

As an artist who has been writing since her teenage years, Blackman is no stranger to the lifestyle required of working musicians. In our latest edition of Balance Sheet, Blackman takes us behind-the-scenes of her journey to SXSW 2023 in Austin, Texas, breaking down the costs required to travel to and from the festival in addition to lodging and entertainment.

“I made $300 from one show, but the whole thing went to my two band members,” she shares of her experience. Read on for a portrait of the circumstances many rising artists must manage in order to bring music to wider audiences.


I flew to Austin, TX, from Newark, NJ. At the airport, I bought a chocolate chip cliff bar, turkey stick, and grande iced coffee with whole milk (yes, whole milk). I slept most of the flight there and back. Was the airfare worth almost one-half of one thousand dollars? I think so. Uber costs added up, too. Getting around Austin wasn’t easy, especially since I frequently bounced between downtown and non-downtown unofficial shows. I got a couple of free rides and took a couple of long-ish walks, but the cars added up. There was also one pedicab ride during which I thought I might die.

Subtotal: -$702


The greatest blessing of SXSW 2023 was how my friend Marlon and his partner Clare opened their perfect/beautiful/cool Austin home (for free) to me and other musician pals. I can’t emphasize enough how meaningful it was for them to let me (and Evan, Steven, and Mario) crash at their house for free for a whole week. Who does that!? I slept like a baby for seven nights and woke up to fresh coffee, clean towels, friendship, awesome vibes, etc.

Subtotal: $0