SXSW

Musicians from all over the world are settling back at home, recovering from last week's South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. Hundreds of musicians played throughout the week, for crowds big and small.

Another grueling and glorious SXSW has finally come to a close. Bob Boilen and Stephen Thompson, the last men on the All Songs Considered island, gathered at 2 a.m. to recap the sets they loved on the festival's closing day. On Stephen's recommendation (he's written about her before), Bob saw Los Angeles singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers in the Central Presbyterian Church.

The South by Southwest music festival is well-established as a venue where up-and-coming artists get discovered. But it also offers a chance to hear from the music industry's icons — like veteran country star Garth Brooks, who delivered a keynote address at the Austin Convention Center during SXSW this week. Brooks kicked off his career in the 1980s, and he's still breaking records and selling out shows.

We're well past the halfway point of the music portion of South by Southwest, and things are starting to wind down in Austin. But the indefatigable All Songs Considered team (well, mostly Bob Boilen) is still raring to go. Bob, Robin Hilton, Stephen Thompson and Colorado Public Radio's Jessi Whitten convened on an Austin street corner Friday night to recap what they'd seen that day.

Late yesterday evening, Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton, Katie Presley and Stephen Thompson wandered the streets of Austin recapping a day of music. For everyone, it was a day of political music that still made space for joy. Katie saw mostly rap yesterday, and she was especially struck by Moor Mother, whose fiery set had also inspired an excellent performance from New York-based rapper SAMMUS.

Amid truck horns and the distant sounds of Montell Jordan's "This Is How We Do It," the All Songs Considered team gathered outside of Stubb's BBQ to recount a day overflowing with new musical discoveries and old favorites. On Wednesday night, NPR Music hosted its annual showcase at Stubb's. That event at that place has become as ritual as tacos and crowded streets for this crowd, but the show still astonished them. Stephen Thompson fell for Sylvan Esso's new songs.

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Steven Davy

Every March in Austin, Texas, an explosion of technology entrepreneurs show off their latest ideas and hobnob at parties, tweeting, snapping and gramming epic stories about who they met and what they saw.

South by Southwest — referred to as SXSW — is known for the music and films that premiere here. But the weekend before the music is SXSW Interactive. It’s full of energy and deal-making.

Merchandise is, colloquially anyways, the engine that drives the boat, the rocket fuel that propels careers toward the stars!

Actually, according to Martin Atkins, author of Welcome To The Music Business, You're F****d!, merchandise is more like "the small hand-cranked trolley that inches up the funicular railway, inch by rusted, mangled inch, up the hill." Merchandise, particularly t-shirts, are the subject of this fun-filled Martin Atkins Minute (actually six fun-filled minutes).

This story was updated on March 14 at 4:35 PM.

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