Is SXSW so 2 years ago?

I’m currently at SXSW.  It’s Interactive time but Music seems to be starting earlier, so I will be going to shows starting tomorrow.


I’m excited to be in Austin, as always.  The food and the people are amazing.  I love my friends who live here.  But a few things:

  1. Why doesn’t Spotify have a house here at SXSW this year?  Does this mean that they don’t see a market/potential for SXSW being at the cutting edge of music anymore?
  2. McDonald’s and Budweiser are sponsors of SXSW.

There is SO MUCH noise…it’s like a souk.  Everyone is clamoring to be heard and paid attention to.  The majority of folks here are marketing folks so interactive feels more to me like a marketing conference than an actual discovery. And with all the noise, the people with largest, most elaborate set ups are the ones that inevitably get all the attention.  That and the ones with the free booze.

What I loved about SXSW when I was in college in Austin was that you would discover new bands and get to see these little known artists.  You could wait in line or walk into a venue and find some band playing their hearts out who was going to make it big in the next year.

Also…really…McDonald’s and Budweiser?  Your sponsors say a lot about you and those are NOT cool sponsors.  They’re not on the cutting edge of anything.

I was talking to a friend of mine who has been to many more SXSW’s than I have and we decided that maybe this is all a good thing.  It would kind of be great if SXSW had a mini-implosion and had to scale back to a happy medium between what it was and what it is now.  To where it becomes about discovering new ideas and music.


Maybe I’d feel differently about it if I had a badge and was able to attend some of the sessions about robotics, VR, and AI (but only slightly differently).