Tag Archives: SXSW

“Would You Like Fries With That?”

“I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth”–‘Substitute,’ The Who

There are the trope and the truism that are often used by parents who are concerned that their kids might go in a direction that potentially describes a future that is without hope or at the very least a recipe for continued residency.

The first is the “starving artist.” This is generally associated with some suffering individual who is in a garret, working at their art and not making a sufficient amount of money in order to buy something to eat. Of course, the starving artist could be out in the world, busking, hoping that there will be a sufficient number of tips tossed into the open instrument case to buy a set of strings and possibly a cellophane-wrapped sandwich of some undifferentiated substance for sustenance.

The starving artist is cautionary, although not as potentially off-putting as “artists only make money after they are dead.” This is somewhat more difficult to understand given that the individual is dead and consequently incapable of (a) taking it with them to say nothing of (b) making more of it.

However, the message seems to be that the artist will create works that will, the starvation occurring while that creation is going on notwithstanding, make bank for someone else after the artist is pushing daisies. Although it is known that artists ranging from da Vinci to Warhol, to name two who are dead, made money while they were alive from their undertaking, it is also true that post-mortal coil those works made a heck of a lot of more money than either could have possibly imagined.

The point is, while the odds are better making something as a musician than they are for someone who thinks they’re going to get rich playing the lottery, the odds are even better that a job as an actuarial or forklift driver is more likely to provide income consistency.

It is a good thing for the rest of us that there are those who ignore those warnings and go out and create, whether they are visual or musical artists.

But it doesn’t necessarily make their lots in life any better if there are only a few of us who are supportive of the undertakings of any of these individuals and groupings of like-minded.

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Salty in Austin

Once upon a time, certainly back in 1987, the SXSW event was about music.

Sure, there is still music in Austin today.

But SXSW has changed, as essentially every corporation that can somehow find a tie in manages to be on display.  (Arguably this is done because the people who work at said car makers or consumer electronics companies want to attend so they have cleverly convinced their bosses that it is essential to “connect” with the people who are at SXSW, so they get a full-blown ticket to ride.  Sure, they might have to do some crappy scut work along the way, but given the alternative—as in working in an office—going to Austin is a whole lot better.)

SXSW is now, perhaps, about salty snack food.

Austin may have been known for barbeque.  But Stubb’s might as well give up.

Doritos is the thing.  And it is such a thing that the brand that is under PepsiCo created a 56-foot vending machine as part of the launch of Doritos JACKED.

“Before we bring this amped up Doritos snacking experience to consumers nationwide, we wanted to take it right to our fans here at South by Southwest to try it first,” said Ram Krishnan, vp of marketing, Frito-Lay North America.

Which leads me to wonder: is eating a bag of chips—even a chip that “delivers a one-two punch of intense flavors upfront followed by a twist of spice or tanginess that packs the ultimate crunch”—an experience?  Are you experienced?  Sure, just had some Doritos.

Then who in the world is a “fan” of a snack chip?  Are there people who get together and argue about what’s better, Doritos or Cheetos, sort of like the Beatles vs. Stones?

To be fair, it should be noted that the 56-foot vending machine also serves as the “JACKED Stage by Doritos,” so it will be a concert platform as well as an object that will accept “larger-than-life Doritos-branded quarters.”

Of course it is.

SXSW Offers Torrent of 2009 Acts

SXSW 2009Major labels may be…ahem…slow to recognize the benefits of filesharing but not everyone in the music industry is so dense. Case in point: South by Southwest.

The premier music festival of the year has once again posted on their site the mp3s of this year’s acts. That’s great, but who wants to scroll through the entire site downloading one file at a time? Nobody, and the SXSW organizers seem to recognize that and in years past even created a torrent of the files users could download all at once.

Well, SXSW isn’t doing that this year, but they have allowed a user to do it and it’s available to all without fear of retribution from heavy-handed labels. TorrentFreak reports:

For the fifth year in a row, SXSW has released a DRM-free, RIAA-safe collection of songs totaling 6 GB, which can all be downloaded for free, thanks to BitTorrent.

This is nice for just about everyone. A) Users get to download everything in one neat, relatively fast package; B) SXSW saves on bandwidth; C) Artists get yet another channel to distribute their music and spread the word; D) The Man is going to sue your grandma when he finds that you’ve downloaded his band’s gear.

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21 Best SXSW 2009 MP3s

SXSW 2009 South by Southwest does a great job of letting attendees (and everybody else) do some homework before the shows and preview tracks by showcased bands. Here are a bunch of our faves.

The Asteroid #4 – “These Flowers of Ours” (web, sxsw)

Black Lips – “O Katrina!” (web, sxsw)

The Dollyrots – “My Best Friend’s Hot” (web, sxsw)

Earlimart – “Face Down In The Right Town” (web, sxsw)

The Evaporators – “You Got Me Into This, Now You Get Me Out!” (web, sxsw)

Listen to the rest after the jump…

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SXSW Wrap-up by Ed Ward

SXSW, At Last by SXSW co-founder and Fresh Air contributor, Ed Ward: “The thing that made SXSW the world’s top music conference was its educational content, I’ve always thought…. This year seemed to be quite different. One thing I noticed immediately was that the panels program had been cut way back, with a number of celebrity interviews replacing panel discussions.”