Decider wonders if the Austin music festival really breaks bands anymore
Right now in a self-consciously weird Texas town called Austin there is a music festival going on through Sunday called South By Southwest. If you’ve been in the vicinity of an alt-weekly or music website in the past 24 hours, you not only already know this, you’ve probably read up-to-the-minute reports on every single band that’s playing there, as well as highly detailed descriptions of all the celebrities and fashionably dressed nobodies watching these bands.
If you’re like Decider, you’re probably asking yourself a simple question: Who cares about a music festival in Austin? Certainly the fine, endearingly quirky people of Austin, of course. As for the rest of us, we obviously have chosen not to attend SXSW, so why would we want to read stories about shows we aren’t attending and would have no way of attending by bands we've probably never heard of?
Part of the reason SXSW is considered newsworthy is that bands supposedly go there to be “discovered” by “industry people” who scour clubs for days looking for “the next big thing.” And, sure enough, there are several bands from Milwaukee that made the trip down to Austin this year, including Codebreaker, Juiceboxxx, Big Fun 4ever, Pezzettino, and Invade Rome. Decider wishes them the best of luck, but we wonder: Do bands really get “discovered” at SXSW anymore? In the age of MySpace and Facebook and Twitter, the traditional idea of "making it"—Mr. Big Time Record Company Guy wandering into your show with a contract and a briefcase full of cash—seems more outlandish than ever. From the outside looking in, SXSW looks like an excuse for music industry and media types to drink, eat barbecue, and see a shit-load of bands for free in the early days of spring.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. (If anybody needs a drink these days, it’s people who sell records and newspapers.) And, yeah, we’re totally jealous, because we’d love to be kicking it in Texas right now. But the question remains: Does SXSW really break new bands anymore? If you’ve been there, we’d love to get your take in the comments section.