Every year around this time, all four members of the All Songs Considered roundtable gang (Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton, Ann Powers and me) each dredge through more than 1,000 MP3s by bands playing the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. We base our coverage and festival schedules on the music we've researched in advance — and have found some of our favorite artists, like Kishi Bashi in 2012, as part of these blind pre-fest taste tests — and this year, we want to be sure we're considering yours.
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 an 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) Send your song to firstname.lastname@example.org, and be sure to include the following information: artist name, name of song, and contact information (email address and phone number).
2) You must actually be playing SXSW or SXSW-adjacent 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 12 and March 16.
3) Please send us only one song per artist — no zip files with albums — either as an email attachment or through a service like Dropbox or YouSendIt. Links to Soundcloud or YouTube or other streaming services are of no use to us here; we're blazing through this stuff through our iPods and car stereos, so we need to be able to take the songs offline. So please email MP3s — no WMV files or WAVs, please — with a bit rate in the 256-320 kbps range.
4) Please make sure the files have appropriate iTunes metadata (artist, song title, album title), and include that information in your email just in case. Please don't neglect to include contact information, 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, because SXSW is in (gulp) less than three weeks, 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.
Thanks so much for helping us out. Hope to see you in Austin, and be sure to look for our SXSW festival preview show on March 12.