Comments for Buzz, Bands and the Biz: Why SXSW Matters

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Produced by David Brown / KUT Austin

Other pieces by KUT

Summary: How a Regional Music Conference Became a International Phenomenon

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Review of Buzz, Bands and the Biz: Why SXSW Matters

This piece plots the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival on the world atlas of the music biz. It begins with a brief history of the ascendancy of Austin Texas as a music hub, and the genesis of this festival as an enticement for the bi-coastal music industry to take notice of the unique sounds of Austin. It then muses about how the festival has been changed by its own success, and its struggle to find balance between big-name performers and up-and-coming acts. Though there?s quite a bit of music and actuality, this is more of a business piece. The music is used to dress up the story, but doesn?t propel the narrative as it might have. Some of the actualities have that ?take me behind the scenes? quality while others lack that immediacy. The tempo of the piece starts off quick and is quite textured with songs and actualities, but it loses momentum about halfway through. Two songs are played in their entirety, and the piece ends with a rather long interview. What I like the most about this piece is that it does pull back the curtain on the music industry?explaining the importance of creating a buzz, showing the exhilaration of discovering a hot new performer, and conveying the frustrations of musicians who despite their best efforts never catch the ear of the career-makers. Individual passages of this feature are quite strong, yet as a whole it doesn?t quite sing.

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Review of Buzz, Bands and the Biz: Why SXSW Matters

The city of Austin is known as the live music capital of the world. South by Southwest has, in the past two decades, grown into a mega festival showcasing new talent - at least that's how the founders had envisioned it. Twenty years later SXSW is compared to Sundance Film festival for becoming the go to place for finding new talent, signing new talent, and showcasing old talent after a makeover.
This piece explores the festival's history, mission, and how its face has changed over the years. Has its identity been exploited by giant media companies to pass off their roster of talents as a SXSW find? Do smaller bands, with less money and push behind them, still get to play to a major audience? Or has it become a giant party for industry darlings to gather once a year to tout their new hot catch? And most of all, how important is this festival for new talent in the MySpace and DYI age?

If you like your listeners to have an all around idea of what SXSW is about, then this is the piece to air. SXSW is just around the corner, by the way.