Saturday, March 21, 2009

SXSW and the "Internet Age"

Austin in the early springtime is the yearly destination of every band hoping to hit it big. Along with New York City's CMJ week, South by Southwest used to be the greatest hope an artist had to be garner buzz, to meet the right person, to be discovered. But like everything else, the internet has changed all of that.

My two years of CMJ experiencea (including 2007, when I saw 27 New York City-based bands in 5 days) have been largely disappointing -- a collection of build-ups and let-downs that I can confidently say were mp3-blog related. Whether my hopes were too high because of a stellar single or my skeptcism was too prevalent because of hyperbolic, endless write-ups, I was bummed out over and over again.

Though I will hopefully travel to SXSW next year with a clear head, low expectations and a press badge, this year I was content to experience it from home and Ben Sisario's New York Times piece entitled "Finding Fame in Austin in the Internet Age" was a pleasant surprise. “The Internet is taking all the romance out of music and art and replacing it with this revolving door that just revolves so fast,” says one artist quoted in the piece. Frankly, it's hard to disagree but I'm glad there are still gritty homegrown artists willing to give it a shot.

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