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SXSW Is Canceled, But You Can Still Discover — And Support — These Artists

Jonah Mutono is one of the 100 artists on this year's edition of The Austin 100. Though SXSW was canceled, you can still discover and support the up-and-coming musicians who would have performed.
Forest Aragon
Courtesy of the artist

Every year, NPR's Stephen Thompson compiles The Austin 100 — a playlist of his favorite artist discoveries ahead of the SXSW Music Festival. Though this year's festival was canceled due to concerns about the coronavirus, The Austin 100 will still publish on Monday, the day the music performances were supposed to begin. NPR's Renee Montagne spoke to Stephen Thompson about a few of the artists featured in this year's roundup. Listen to their conversation in the player above and read on for a playlist of the artists discussed, plus Stephen's advice for supporting the artists who will lose out on the SXSW buzz.

On what SXSW means to artists

"SXSW provides a lot of one-stop shopping: Music fans, music media, record labels all get together in one place to hear about 1,500 bands, and it's an opportunity to present yourself to people who have a lot of power in the music industry. Bands get signed to record labels at SXSW, they get covered in the media, they get a lot of opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have. So canceling SXSW, in addition to devastating the city of Austin, which makes an enormous amount of money through that festival, it does also hurt the progress of a lot of musicians who are just getting their start."

On how to help support artists right now

"Take opportunities to get online and discover this new music. Find your new favorite band. It's still possible to sample all this stuff even without being at SXSW.

"And if you want to support these up-and-coming musicians, there are a number of ways you can do that:

  • Buy their music online, if you're still someone who buys music instead of simply streaming it. Go to their websites, order their merchandise online, buy the T-shirt.
  • Some bands have Kickstarters or Patreons where you can contribute to them and get new music down the line.
  • And I think the most important thing — and the easiest, quickest, cheapest thing you can do — is when you find these new artists, tell your friends about it. A lot of us are going to be spending a lot more time on social media in the weeks to come, and as you find and discover this music, tell your friends about it, because that word of mouth is part of what they would have gotten out of appearing at SXSW."
  • A Preview Of Stephen's Picks From The Austin 100

    Check back here on Monday for a link to The Austin 100.

    Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Stephen Thompson
    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.)