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SXSW dials down the digital, cranks up the music

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(AP)


AUSTIN, Texas -- Let the music begin. For days here in the Texas capital, tastemakers from digital ventures and the film industry have been unveiling their wares at the South by Southwest culture conference. Tuesday night, however, the programming shifted back to what built SXSW a quarter century ago: music.

More than 2,000 bands will roll their gear into Austin during the next few days, performing on more than 90 official stages. Last year, more than 16,000 registrants attended the music portion of the festival, including artists, publicists, industry scouts and a lot of media.

Music is a hot topic among digital pioneers, of course, so concert stages were under way earlier in the week. Hip-hop titan Jay-Z (above) performed Monday night for an invitation crowd.

Tuesday night, as the Interactive sessions died down, the music showcases revved up. Last year was the first time music showcases started backing into the Tuesday of SXSW week, and there were more this year.

Chief among them was the return of Philly singer-rapper Santigold, acclaimed upon her 2008 debut and not heard from much since. Now she's out hyping her upcoming sophomore set, "Master of My Make-Believe," due May 1.

This being Austin, there was also a crowded fete for the loveable and quirky Daniel Johnston, a beloved area singer-songwriter.

The music programming starts in earnest today and continues through the weekend, with Bruce Springsteen giving the keynote address midday Thursday and performing later that night with the E Street Band, which launches its next tour this weekend.

Got a SiriusXM radio or a friend who does? The SiriusXMU channel is airing SXSW broadcasts all week, including the Friday night outdoor concert by the Shins.


... and there's more SXSW 2012 coverage here!

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Thomas Conner

Thomas Conner covers pop music for the Chicago Sun-Times. Contact him via e-mail.

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on March 14, 2012 9:00 AM.

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