A ReadWriteWeb Guide

As a tech conference strongly linked to an epic music festival, SXSW Interactive is the perfect place for music and tech geeks to converge.

Musicians, get ready to nerd out and learn how to sell your wares and increase your fanbase online. And geeks, get ready to let your love for music show. Perhaps with a little cooperation and cross-discipline interaction, this whole "music on the Internet" thing will work out, after all.

Check out these ten parties, panels and events sure to delight the most musical of geeks - and the most geeky of musicians.

This is part of a series of ReadWriteWeb guides to SXSW Interactive 2010. If this guide isn't your cup of tea, be sure to check back for more information soon!

Online Tastemakers: Death or Rebirth of Music Curation?

"Free infinite music has fragmented across every digital nook and cranny, making it hard for consumers to keep up with new quality artists online. A new breed of tastemakers are cropping up with innovative twists. Are they helping or hurting? Is online music curation dying or evolving?" With Anya Grundmann of NPR Music, Chris MacDonald of IndieFeed Networks/LibsynPRO, John Hammond of The MuseBox and Christopher Weingarten of Rolling Stone.


If music is your bag, head to this second-generation event at Six Lounge for more than five hours of punk, rock and metal karaoke with a live band. There will also be dancing with DJ Johnny Bravvo in the Tap Room next door and the mellow tunes of The James Moran Band on the upstairs patio.

Music 2010: Playlists, Networks, Radio & Numbers You Need

"Technology has opened floodgates to a sea of music marketing resources and overabundance of data generated by behaviors and transactions. What are the most important numbers & what do they mean? What numbers are missing? Examine complex human interactions with music online: learn to define & synthesize data generated by music consumption." With publicist Ariel Hyatt and Corey Denis of Not Shocking.


This legendary rock club in Austin is home to many a SXSW event - not least of which is the Pastries & Pasties burlesque/cupcake extravaganza on Friday night of SXSWi. But this venue will also be hosting dozens of bands and DJs in its dual-stage, open air-cum-indoor setup throughout the rest of the conference. In a town known for its music clubs, it says a lot that locals consider Emo's one of the best.

Artists, Labels Embrace Virtual Worlds

"Music labels (Atlantic Records, EMI, Sony BMG) and musicians (Rob Thomas, Ice-T, New Found Glory) are embracing virtual worlds by creating branded stores and virtual merchandise that engage their fans and promote and sell music and memorabilia. Learn
how virtual worlds are changing the music industry and creating new
revenue streams and promotion opportunities." With Lee Clancy of Imvu.

Music Licensing for Emerging Media: Apps, Widgets, Viral Videos

"In the era of apps, widgets, streaming sites, viral videos and mashups, developers are constantly pushing the boundaries of music licensing. This panel opens a lively debate between the major labels and publishers who control the songs, the music supervisors who negotiate the rights and fees, and the music and media startups that are navigating uncharted territory." With Adam Blumenthal of Curious Sense, Joel Johnson of Gizmodo, Randy Shefer of Sony, Robin Raj of Citizen Group and Annie Lin of The Rights Workshop.

Xephyra: An alternative world music and video mythos

Strap on your Suspension of Criticism helmets; it's alternative performance art time!

"Award-winning artists Chad Salvata and Jo Beth Henderson have created the newest ethos adventure, Xephyra, an alternative world music and video mythos. This non-traditional performance is presented with video images and live music. The extraordinary vocals are performed in an imaginary language of a mythic tribal island world. Xephyra, a warrior of the Blue Orchid tribe, journeys on her quest to find her husband, Warrior, who has not returned from the Island Wars. Along the way, she is joined by Terra, a sea siren. They are hunted by monster birds, battle shark mermaids, and slay the kaleidoscope octopus. Will they find Warrior and return safely home?"

Hoek's Pizza

If you're a metalhead in search of a snack and a beer or a music fan in search of some once-in-a-lifetime novelty... and a beer, be sure to hit up Hoek's Heavy Metal Pizza. The music - generally, death/black/very heavy metal of a Gojira/Arch Enemy caliber - is loud, but this joint is the kind of place that definitely keeps Austin weird. We also hear there's a stage on the back patio, and good movies are generally playing inside, as well. As one reviewer said, "I get scared sometimes when I walk into this place, but I like that."

Video Games, the New, New Media For Music

"Video Games have become the New, New Media. Music, and products are featured as prominently in the virtual world of games as they are in films and commercials. Artists are seizing this opportunity to expose their music to an attentive new audience through means that were unthinkable only a few years ago. The user experience creates a unique bond between gamer and artist which is changing the way fans relate to music. The games themselves are being marketed in new and exciting ways too, utilizing, creatively, every possible new media resource." With Mark Roemer of The Ant Farm, Doug McCracken of Activision Blizzard and Matt Drenik of Lions.

Ukulele for Geeks: Secrets of the Pentatonic Scales

"At first glance the fretboard of a ukulele (or guitar) looks incomprehensible, but with the magic of pentatonic scales - ancient, nearly universal 5-note patterns, you can "crack the code" and hack the fretboard and start jamming along with your favorite tunes or musician friends in no time. You don't need to know the names of the notes or what key a song is. Just find the little dippers and start messing around with patterns. I'll explain the concepts and demonstrate the techniques, which are completely self taught." With Christian Crumlish of Yahoo.

Bonus Round! SXSW Music

Yes, you read that right: We're calling the Music portion of SXSW a must-do for any music-loving attendee of SXSW Interactive. Here's why.

Each year, a few Music folks come to Austin early, and a few Interactive folks stay late - but those folks are few, indeed. There's a wonderful opportunity here for our very different crowds to mingle, to make the Web better for musicians and make the experience of music better for online and mobile platforms, and it all begins with conversations.

Also, even two days of SXSW Music will provide you with enough shows, parties and coincidental meetups to leave you seeing the world through rose-colored glasses for months afterward. So book another day at your hotel and scalp a wristband - you'll never regret it.

Those are our SXSW Interaction recommendations for music fans and musicians of all stripes. If you've got suggestions or feedback, let us know in the comments! See you in Austin, folks!