SXSW Showcasing Artists Cover Art

[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
SXSW 2016 Showcasing Artists Cover Art by Darien Kruss

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2015 by Darien Kruss
SXSW 2015 Showcasing Artists Cover Art by Darien Kruss

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SXSW 2015 Showcasing Artists Cover Art

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SXSW 2014 Showcasing Artists Cover Art

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SXSW 2013 Showcasing Artists Cover Art
2012 by Darien Kruss
SXSW 2012 Showcasing Artists Cover Art by Darien Kruss
SXSW 2011 Showcasing Artists Cover Art
SXSW 2010 Showcasing Artists Cover Art
SXSW 2009 Showcasing Artists Cover Art
SXSW 2008 Showcasing Artists Cover Art
2007 by Ben Mil­lett
SXSW 2007 Showcasing Artists Cover Art by Ben Millett
SXSW 2006 Showcasing Artists Cover Art
SXSW 2005 Showcasing Artists Cover Art


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.