Every year around this time, the All Songs Considered team begins the process of listening to nearly 2,000 MP3s by bands playing the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. We acquire them from any number of sources, as bands willing to circulate their songs for consideration make them available online. But every year, we wind up missing something. In pursuit of music by thousands of bands, hundreds slip past our radar altogether.
So here’s where we submit a humble request: If you’re an artist playing SXSW, or if you represent an artist playing SXSW — especially if you’re not a name we’re likely to know — please send us ONE song (via MP3) to represent your sound. And, because nothing says “Thank you for helping us do our jobs” quite like a bunch of fussy ground rules, here are some fussy ground rules:
1) You must actually be playing SXSW festivities this year. We do listen and look for discoveries year-round, but this project is SXSW-specific. Please actually be in town and performing in Austin between March 11 and March 15.
2) Please email MP3s — no WMV files or WAVs, please — with a bit rate in the 256-320 range.
3) Please send us only one song per artist — no zip files with entire albums, please — either as an email attachment or through a service like Dropbox or Hightail. Links to Soundcloud or YouTube or other streaming services are of no use to us here; we’re blazing through this stuff on our iPods and car stereos, so we need to be able to take the songs offline.
4) Please make sure your songs have appropriate iTunes metadata (artist, song title, album title), and include that information in your email just in case. Please also include an email address and phone number, because if we do wind up using your music in our SXSW coverage, we’re going to ask for your permission before making it available to the public.
5) Unfortunately, we won’t have time to confirm receipt or otherwise offer follow-ups or feedback. We will listen to it, promise, but we’ll only reach out if we end up using it. We’re only able to cover a tiny fraction of the artists playing the festival, but we do give everything as fair a shot as time allows.
So, where do you send your MP3? We’ve set up a Gmail account for this very occasion, solely for this purpose: npratsxsw, followed by “gmail.com.” Please use it judiciously, and thank you so much for helping us out. See you at SXSW!