Monday, March 14, 2011

South by Southwest 2011 (SXSW): Free Music for Download and Streaming

The music part of the South by Southwest festival gets underway in Austin, Texas tomorrow, but you can enjoy a lot of the music in the comfort of your home with free podcasts and online streaming. Here are some of the choices available. The SXSW Music festival runs from March 15th through the 20th.

* The official 2011 SXSW Music website has links to free iTunes downloads and the SXSW Shoutcast radio stations. You can also subscribe to the SXW Music Blog feed and get updates by connecting to SXSW on Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace.

* As usual, there's a huge collection of songs by SXSW artists to download via torrent (this year's is over 6.5 GB). (From what I've been told this download is legal, though I can't find any statement explicitly stating that.)

* NPR Music will once again be offering extensive SXSW coverage, including live concert webcasts (mostly audio, but there may be some video) that are usually archived for streaming or podcast download later. See their SXSW Music site for the Austin 100 Mix, a streaming collection of new songs by artists playing the festival, and see their SXSW preview (streaming or podcast) for the artists the NPR Music staff is most looking forward to.

* L.A. radio station KCRW will have a big presence in Austin as well, and you can find their schedule, a free SXSW sampler, and more at their SXSW site. "Morning Becomes Eclectic" host Jason Bentley will be broadcasting the show live from Austin, too.

* has a selection of free SXSW music samplers, including Bloodshot Records and Saddle Creek Records.

* Pitchfork has a link to a compilation Bandcamp has done of  "467 SXSW artists that host their music on the site, complete with a huge grid of images assigned to said bands, a streaming player, and a counter telling you the amount of music you still have yet to listen to." I haven't checked that out yet, but it sounds very promising.

* Due to its location, it's not usual that SXSW has a decent selection of Latin music. As a fan of Latin rock and pop music, I was glad to see that the Remezlca Music website has a free 10-song SXSW Latin music sampler that you can stream or download. Artists include Mexican Institute of Sound and David Garza.

* Paste has an article covering "20 SXSW Bands You Might Not Know (But Should)," with links to free MP3 downloads for each one.

* Also check out's SXSW free song sampler and AOL Music's SXSW website.

There are plenty of ways to enjoy SXSW with free podcasts, webcasts, and downloads—no need to catch a plane and deal with lines, crowds, heat, or spilled beer!

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