[Ed note: This is essentially a repost of my previous posts about this topic, but now in permanent-link page form, instead of post form, so I can update it every year with new cover art. It’s fun, and now handy, too!]
Click on each thumbnail for the larger version.2016 by Darien Kruss
2015 by Darien Kruss
2012 by Darien Kruss
2007 by Ben Millett
Last year it seemed SXSW was going to stop distributing torrents of their showcase tracks. So far this year, there is no sign of Soundcloud, and the first torrents are already up! So thanks, and congratulations to any (all?) of you who made your voices heard. No go get some music!
SXSW (aka, South by Southwest) is a music, film, and interactive media festival held in March of every year in Austin, Texas. They draw hundreds of bands to play for a week in Austin, at just about every bar and venue available. But the best part is that the organizers offer up one track from just about every band, for download, free. Several hundred tracks of some of the newest, freshest, most interesting bands out there. (There seems to be a lot of thrash metal, too, but to each his own.)
This year’s best source for the music files is once again this one: Home of the (UNOFFICIAL) SXSW Torrents.
I have downloaded these tracks every year since 2005, and I plan to continue doing so, even though weeding through them for the real gems takes a long time (and I’m a couple of years behind). But one thing that has always bothered me, especially with Coverflow in iTunes, is that there’s no cover art associated with the songs. SXSW doesn’t offer any up (though that may change), and when I went looking online, I found just one: Ben Millett made a 600 x 600 pixel JPEG of the 2007 web site art that he uses as a cover. He generously let me have it, and after adding it to iTunes, I liked it so much I decided to make covers for the other years.
I’m not trying to be fantastically creative. I do some Internet spelunking to find SXSW marketing pdf materials with graphics I can slice and dice in Photoshop. I’m just trying to adapt the identity already created for each year. The 2009 and 2008 materials were really easy to do. Ben did 2007, and 2006 was not that hard. 2005 was a real pain though, as the art is all horizontal and difficult to mush into a square. Still I managed something I am mostly pleased with.
I do encourage you to come up with your own. I’ll even host them, if I like them. This seems like the sort of thing ripe for the Intarwebs to tackle. If you make something cool, send it to me. Thanks to Darien Kruss for the 2012 and 2015 cover art. And someone tell SXSW they need to stop using that green color. They’re in a rut.
2013 is a perfect example of what I mean. Same font, same colors, basically the same design. I used Pixelmator this time, and with a newish computer it was a breeze. I knocked out the 2013 design in about fifteen minutes. (Please see the note above about my lack of creative ambition with this project: still intact.)
In 2014 I added multiple sizes for download, since some folks wanted bigger versions. Have at it!
For now, I present to you, for your downloading pleasure, cover art for the SXSW Showcasing Artists for every year since 2005. I have no idea what the copyright nature of the original materials are, so I am loathe to attach any copyright, Creative Commons or otherwise, to these images. Just know that I don’t care what you do with them.