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Playing SXSW 2019? Send Us Your Songs

Sudan Archives was one of NPR Music's favorite performers at SXSW 2018.
Robb Klassen
/
Courtesy of the artist
Sudan Archives was one of NPR Music's favorite performers at SXSW 2018.

Every year around this time, members of the All Songs Considered team — including Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton and me — each dredge through nearly 2,000 MP3s by bands playing the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, in search of great new discoveries. And every year, we wind up missing something. In pursuit of music by thousands of acts, 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, 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) We listen and look for discoveries year-round, but this project is SXSW-specific. Please actually be in town and performing in Austin between March 12 and March 17.

2) Please email MP3s — no WAVs or WMV files 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 phones and car stereos, so we need to be able to take the songs offline.

4) Please make sure your song files have appropriate metadata (artist, song title, album title), and include that information in your email just in case. Please also include an email address and, if you'd like, a phone number. If we do wind up using your music in our Austin 100 playlist, on our All Songs Considered preview show, or in other SXSW features, 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 feedback. We will listen to it, we 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@gmail.com." Please use it judiciously, and thank you so much for helping us out. See you at SXSW!

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)

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