I’m sure we’re all seething with jealousy this week at the good fortune of those who have the opportunity to head down to Austin for SXSW. I heard my boys Atomic Tom killed it on Monday night! For my money, Coachella is this year’s sold-out festival to covet, but I’m still green as can be about all the great shows I’ll miss this week.
Fortunately for those of us who haven’t the time or resources to make the trip to SXSW, the festival’s organizers have historically been incredibly generous in providing samples of content from a wide cross-section of performers. These samples have varied a lot from year to year, and the majority of the free content is typically not available until well after the festival has closed down. This year, however, the SXSW organizers have decided to whet our appetites with a sampler of 22 tracks from the festival’s lineup, available for free on iTunes. There are a number of other places to get free, legal downloads of music by this year’s featured artists, as well. There’s a collection of 140 songs available from WXRT Radio, a small sampler available from eMusic, and this year, even Amazon has jumped into the game.
These pre-show samplers are only the beginning. For the last few years, the SXSW team has made an extensive compilation of hundreds of tracks from as many of the showcased artists as possible. The timing and delivery method of these projects has varied, and it’s anyone’s guess as to when and how they’ll be made available this year, if at all. In years past, the files have sometimes been uploaded individually to the SXSW website, and were then compiled by independent music lovers and dropped into torrent files for mass distribution. While these torrents are easy to use, simple to find, and decidedly awesome to listen to, it’s worth pointing out that they’re NOT licensed for distribution and are therefore technically illegal to download. I’ll stay off my soapbox here, except to say that if it’s illegal, don’t do it.
The good news is that there is plenty of free, legal, and awesome content available to help you get your SXSW fix. You can be sure that when and if a master track list becomes available, you’ll find out where to get it right here at MTM. In the mean time, I hope you’ll find plenty to occupy your time within the 200 free tracks I’ve highlighted today. Be sure to tell us in the comments section what you loved and hated from this year’s SXSW samplers!Tweet this!