SXSW has fucked everything up with DRM.

No useful SXSW torrents this year. Hooray. writes:

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 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.

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22 Responses:

  1. JJP says:

    Just tested, still works. Python but simple enough you could port if you cared to.

  2. xiojason says: -- misleading name, but it has worked very well for me in the past and up to today. It receives frequent updates as the ground underneath shifts as well.

  3. jrml says:

    lol jwz it takes you less to write a script to scrape all soundcloud than to write these rants. hope you love writing as I loved reading your rants since back then about X11 code :^) in Italy we have a most succesfull blog: LE started with tech rants ahahaah <3 datalove to the west coast dude

  4. musicgeek says:

    SXSW is an industry event.
    SXSW is an industry event.
    SXSW is an industry event.

    It bears repeating because too many people take this attitude that you have here that it somehow should be catering to "customers." It shouldn't. This isn't Bonaroo or ACL and you are not some label agent trying to sign bands. If in anything the reason why SXSW keeps making things difficult is to limit the number of "tourists" that show up to the official events. Consider the unofficial ones.

    You also have Operation Every Band and to aid in your SXSW experience.

    That being said, I do wish they has a sane JSON API the way Burning Man has set up, but again, that would probably just make things too easy for the tourists.

    • jwz says:

      Was your reply supposed to be helpful in any way? Because it sounds to me like you we're stroking the cheeto crumbs out of your neckbeard while saying, "herp derp, surrender, never leave the basement, never try."

      So, you know, thanks for the insight that corporations exist and enjoy money.

      Also -- you pinhead -- I am not a label, but perhaps you're aware of what my business does. It has a little something to do with... finding and hiring bands.

    • J. Peterson says: are not some label agent trying to sign bands.

      But he is the owner of a live music venue. Seems like somebody who should be at an "industry event" to me.

      • musicgeek says:

        JWZ has been entirely consistent that he would prefer someone else book his bands, so if anyone should be going to SXSW via that line of reasoning, it is definitely not him.

        • Asm says:

          I thought this blog made it pretty clear that JWZ does a lot of things he doesn't enjoy doing very much (see: use iTunes, etc). So it's not much of a stretch TBH.

        • jwz says:

          Is there anything else you'd like to explain to me about how my business should be run?

  5. Josh says:

    I wrote a tool in python a while back that downloads tracks from soundcloud: soundrip. I don't know why the sxswtorrent people are making such a fuss though, soundcloud exposes direct urls to mp3s through it's api.

    • jwz says:

      If you'd read their actual words you'd understand that their objection is not technical.

      • Josh says:

        Good point. Apparently the only problems I can comprehend are technical ones.

      • plumpy says:

        Any chance you'd consider taking over where they left off and, presuming you do cobble something together, put up a torrent of what you found?

  6. Ed Tee says:

    Hey, I've gone to some effort to retrieve artist and schedule information for SXSW 2014 - it was quite a pain and I really wish they provided a decent api. I'm quite happy to share the data I have gathered in json format - contact me if you are interested.
    I've created a site based on this data which allows you to play artist videos one after the other with just a couple of clicks - I'm planning to add functionality to allow the creation of custom playlists but that will likely not be ready till next week.
    Any feedback etc will be much appreciated:

  7. James says:

    Fight the power! South-by-Audioboo-Vocaroo!

  8. k3ninho says:

    I've used in the past for (non-commercial as per TOS) downloads of Soundcloud stuff, and they have a bookmarklet for sending a URL through to them. (This isn't a functional command-line tool, yeah, I know. Hopefully it's not derp derp but a step in teh right direction.)


    Testing it now and it's downloading. ./ $URL is the only thing you need to do.

    • James says:

      I can't make it to Texas this year, but I'm hoping to hear some WALL-E cosplay bands checking their FLACs into github.

  10. AustinDave says:

    There's an attempt to get a playlist together over on Spotify. He's got 1800 tracks:

  11. Pronoiac says:

    The torrent is live, by the way.

  12. Pronoiac says:

    About a month ago, I listened to all the 2014 SXSW music I could find. Some songs you might like, bold ones especially:
    The Casket Girls - Same Side
    Dum Dum Girls - Lost Boys And Girls Club - oops, you already put this on a mixtape.
    Eros and the Eschaton - 20 Different Days
    FMLYBND - Electricity
    Gold Beach - Ryou Cannon
    Love X Stereo - Fly Over
    Moving Units - Kate Moss in '97 - dumb fun.
    Night Riots - Spiders
    Sexores - Titán - shoegazer dream-pop.
    Sinistarr - Rave Juke feat. Tim Reaper - how very Lords of Acid
    Team Me - With My Hands Covering Both of …
    Young Summer - Waves That Rolled You Under

    Less specific to you, I made a Spotify playlist, which sounds very 80's. Though it's not working for me right now, which, ugh. I hope it's temporary or just me.