Monday, March 10, 2008

AT SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST, ACTS WITH TV-READY TUNES ARE IN DEMAND


More than 1,700 music acts will take the stage next week at the South by Southwest music conference, the big festival for up-and-coming bands in Austin, Texas. Within that crush, music-industry insiders will be seeking out a Swedish singer with a girlish voice, a scrappy rock band from Athens, Ga., and a Seattle group whose harmonies recall the Mamas and the Papas.

What they have in common: a sound that appeals to producers of television shows, commercials and videogames.

Over its 22 years, South by Southwest has become the nation's biggest showcase for emerging music talent, speeding the ascent of stars like Amy Winehouse and the Strokes. The festival still plays host to edgy acts, from blistering heavy-metal bands to rock groups with unprintable names, all striving to impress critics, record labels and concert bookers. But increasingly the tone in Austin is being set by a new guard of talent scouts, especially those from industries like television and advertising who can score licensing deals for new music acts.

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