South by Southwest actually includes a trade show, believe it or not. It's not all fun and games (or should I say, bands and partying). The trade-show floor at SXSW 2007 was mercifully much, much less crowded than that of the Consumer Electronics Show, so it was a nice reprieve from the hustle and bustle on Sixth Street. (It helps that the convention center in Austin, Texas, is also significantly smaller than the one in Vegas.) As I wandered around the floor one day, I saw my fair share of guitar peddles, amps, and keyboards, but I also noticed … Read more
A few years ago we may have asked, "How did we ever live without cell phones?" Now we ask the same question about text messaging. It was indeed a lifesaver last week at the South by Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas. With live music ringing throughout the city 24/7, it was hard to find a quiet spot to make a phone call. So, along with thousands of others, I found myself obsessively texting to stay in touch with my cohorts about great shows (and to find ways to escape the bad ones). Cryptic messages such as &… Read more
If not for this photograph, the intersection of music, film, interactive entertainment, and celebrity sightings that is Austin's South by Southwest (SXSW) festival may have remained inadequately documented.
In the photo, both showcase the Stage I Guitar Hero face.
In a perfect world, Titannica and Three Times One Minus One songs will be part of the upcoming Guitar Hero II for Xbox 360, or even the mythical Guitar Hero III. If that's the case, Cross could shred his … Read more
A panel named Reinventing Payment Models for Digital Music sounds pretty boring, doesn't it? In fact, the SXSW panel was infinitely more entertaining than the Ultimate Music Recommendation Smackdown. Shocking, I know. But the entire audience was cracking up for the majority of the session. It's rather hard to get the comedic interactions of the panelists across in this medium, so you'll just have to bear with my relative lack of humor as I try to relay the meat of the information.
The gist is that the majority of artists make very little from music downloads because … Read more
If you're curious about the new portable device made to work with the Slacker Personal Radio service, check out our slide show of the Slacker Portable Player, where I've posted a handful of up-close and personal shots as well as some more info about the player. And if this particular device doesn't float your boat (it is awfully large for a flash player, after all), you'll be pleased to note that Slacker is talking to other device manufacturers about making both its free and premium services available to non-Slacker portables. How freakin' sweet is that?
When I first found out I would be coming to SXSW this year, I was a little worried I'd be wandering around solo, looking more than slightly sad and losery. Namely, because I wasn't certain any of the tech reps I work with would have any reason to be here. As it turns out, my fears were for naught, as several digital-music entities that I work with are out in force in Austin, including Zune, Lala, and Rhapsody. (Yay! Friends!) Today, Rhapsody is hosting a six-hour day party replete with live acts, and the good news is that … Read more
Frankly, convergence devices scare me. That's because I have a vested interest in the continued existence of MP3 players and PVPs as standalone devices. Luckily for me, cell phones have mostly failed to offer a truly enjoyable music browsing experience thus far. They don't have a lot of built-in memory (though the increasing inclusion of built-in memory slots is certainly cause for concern...mine, anyway), and their batteries aren't yet robust enough to safeguard against that ever-pressing issue: draining your power rocking out and then being unable to make or receive important phone calls. So I can … Read more
Time Trumpet was the winner for film and TV in this year's South By Southwest Interactive Web Awards this past Sunday (see our coverage here). The site contains a number of faux-futurecentric video clips with historical satire about politics, current events, and celebrities. What's neat is the somewhat experimental interface that blends various media in partial 3D, similar to Universe which we took a look at yesterday. You can sort through it all by episode or subject, and each clip will organize itself into a neat, swirling vortex. It's total eye candy.
Most of the clips about … Read more
You know, I consider myself to be a pretty nice person. I try not to dis anyone...well, except maybe the iPod (of course, that's a thing and not a person). But seriously. Who could make a SXSW panel with the title The Ultimate Music Recommendation Smackdown boring? I'll tell you who: representatives from Pandora, Last.fm, iLike, and MusicIP. Don't get me wrong. I'm sure these guys are perfectly nice--even cool--people, but sheesh. Actually, I should really blame the person who wrote the description for the panel. Allow me to paste that description here: "… Read more
Ah, the digital age. It's brought us so much, and without it, I'd be jobless. So for obvious reasons, I'm very appreciative of the existence of digital music. One of its perhaps lesser-known benefits is that with it, any Tom, Dick, or Harry with a sense of rhythm can be a musician. And that's not a bad thing, although certain traditional musicians may beg to differ. Personally, I think anything that adds variety to the creative landscape is positive, although there are certainly exceptions (William Hung? Seriously?) Anyway, if tinkering with audio and making your own … Read more