South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Conference & Festival

Published: 2004-03-18
The SXSW music festival, which began Wednesday in Austin, Texas; is one of dozens of music festivals held each year. What sets SXSW apart from many is the musicians themselves. Many of the bands who perform at SXSW also embrace the computer age and the internet. The bands who perform at SXSW don't have the big budgets for marketing like the image driven pop tarts promoted by the major record labels. These bands depend on loyal fans and the internet for CD sales. American Music Club singer Mark Eitzel sees the internet and file sharing as a mixed blessing. "We're back to the day now where musicians were in the 1920's, where they would never get credit for it and they'll never get paid for it. Eitzel notes that the era of the 60s is long gone where what a musician said (or sang) mattered. People aren't buying music to raise consciousness; they're reacting to marketing and accepting mediocrity.

On the other hand Keith Shepherd the lead guitar player for Pilot Radio feels file sharing is free publicity. Pilot Radio sells most of their CDs at live shows and via the internet. London musician Jamie Cullum feels that it is the record companies who are frightened. "It makes us work harder and look after our own fan base to inspire loyalty," said Cullum.

SXSW is a massive event that hosts 1,280 acts on 60 stages playing every genre and style of music. From 8pm to 2am for five days a new act takes the stage nearly every hour. "It's like a really big party," said Mark Eitzel. "There are 20 bands to see at one moment. It's like a candy store. I just want to survive with my liver in tact" he adds.

Forty Canadian acts made the trip to this year's SXSW festival. Over the five day festival thousands of fans will hear their favourite bands alongside some new ones. And those fans will spend money buying thousands of T-shirts and CD from those bands.

Writer: Sherrill Fulghum



Fatal error: Call to undefined function session_is_registered() in /home2/soulshi/public_html/news/newsarticle.php on line 513
Please login / register to post a personalized comment, or you may simply post as an Anonymous user.
SPEAK OUT! Post your comments about this article here.