This year's South By Southwest is the 25th iteration of the industry-geared festival in downtown Austin, Texas. Originally conceived as a mechanism to propel Austin's own isolated music scene into the national and international conversations, SXSW now seems to be a physical manifestation of the kind of momentary hype cycle that can either raise an act to fame or destroy a band's career chances with a single paragraph. (Clearly I am not immune to this cycle and regret the pitfalls of my station.) With all due respect to the festival's organizers and intent, I present the latest artifact from the 3D animation powerhouse that is Next Media, from Hong Kong:
What's surprising here (besides these Chinese animators thinking We Were Promised Jetpacks is somehow relevant) is sort of how right they got the exclusionary aspect of the festival. Fans and press and all the A&R dicks you could never imagine exist get crammed into every single one of Austin's 200+ venues, many of which just aren't that large. But this is what it's all about in 2012 -- making sure you elbow your way to the front of the stage ensuring the sight of the coolest ish before anyone else is aware -- for what?
Take for example last night's Jay-Z's concert at Austin City Limits Live in downtown Austin. Yes Jay-Z is clearly an established industry icon. However, it's the process by which fans were allowed access to the venue that frames the situation in barest terms. Only American Express cardholders with a working knowledge of Twitter could RSVP to the event. Were we aware hype could be monetized on such a material level? Twitter, blogs, badges and pageviews are one thing: people signing up for American Express cards only in order to see Jay-Z is completely another. Anyway, you can watch the entire thing below, via Mr. World Premiere.
Reports of one Austin bar closing during the festival -- only to open after the festivities' end to provide free beer -- were not yet confirmed.