The bad news:
Starting this year SXSW is replacing the sample tracks they have provided for years with links to Soundcloud pages. While there are certainly known ways to download those samples, Soundcloud goes through considerable trouble to prevent that from happening. Since these torrents have always been about providing easier access to otherwise readily downloadable samples instead of outright piracy, this regrettably means that, if SXSW sticks with this new design, we will be unable to provide torrents in the future.
The good news:
Since this is a very recent change, we do have a partial set of sample tracks that were released for 2014. It should be on the order of 700-800 songs; however there will likely not be a Part 2. We were not expecting this change, so please be patient as we get our process updated and get a release built. We're hoping to be ready first thing next week (2/24).
So basically, SXSW has made it impossible for me to do my usual prep -- listen to 1500 tracks, decide which ones I like, and then use that list to decide which shows to attend. Without doing that prep, there's really no reason for me to attend at all, because the chance that I'm going to see something I care about drops to basically zero. I'll end up seeing 3 bands a day instead of 14. I wouldn't have bought a ticket, hotel and flight if I'd known I was going to have to go in cold.
Thanks, SXSW. Your attendee-hostility grows every year. It's like you're using Burning Man as your customer service model.
They used to provide full torrents themselves. Then they stopped. Then they used to provide MP3s. Now they've stopped. Next year maybe they won't even bother telling us who's playing!
I guess it's time to update my scrape-sxsw.pl script to try and rip all the music from their site on my own. Anyone got a pointer to a simple, effective and functional Soundcloud downloader? Perl preferred, but anything I can run from the command line is fine.
Update: The torrent is up now, but contains only 783 tracks.