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Swag thousand: The best of SXSW’s free stuff

Last updated on May 11, 2019

SXSW isn’t just a music smorgasbord. Here’s the best free stuff I found:

Coolest ad campaign: “A Guide to Play Quebec City” is exactly that. The booklet introduces you to three show promoters, six venues, one music festival, 35 upcoming shows, six “Cream of the Crop” bands, and nine other groups from “the only 100% francophone city in America.” I feel like I could book a band through Quebec City now, and that’s pretty cool.

Coolest new service:
StoryAmp is a way for artists to pitch to journalists in a consistent format. StoryAmp’s idea is to remove the “what do I say in an e-mail pitch?” problem by streamlining everything for the artist and the journalist. And both the flyer I was handed and the site it sells are gorgeous; that means a lot to me. I hope it takes off.

Coolest non-media object
: It was a tie. I’m not sure how M for Montreal came up with the idea for a sleep mask, but it’s certainly memorable:

This is a pack of gum from the app iTriage:

Coolest album art
: Young Readers’ self-titled EP is a coloring page, complete with crayons. Mega!

Coolest book: Rockin’ in the New World by Bob Tulipan. It’s a how-to guide on getting your band to a successful level in our new media age. I’m looking forward to reading it.

Coolest song named after a basketball player: “Monta Ellis” by Willie Joe.

Coolest album that I had to Google lyrics to determine the band name because I found the album in a venue and it was packaged in a brown paper bag: Roll the Bones by Shakey Graves.

Most confusing ad campaign: “MYSPACE IS DEAD, LONG LIVE MYSPACE.” The Justin Timberlake-owned company never explained this concept except for the tepid, “Change is coming. Loyalty will be rewarded.” Nothing seems different on Myspace today, either. Their sticker and poster campaign seems like a wasted plan.