Since 2005, the SXSW music festival has published thousands of free tracks from participating artists. For some of the previous editions, the festival organizers offered torrents of the artist showcases themselves, but since 2008 this task has been handed over to the public.
All of the MP3s are still freely available for download on the festival’s site, so it only takes one person to get a torrent up and running. For the past three years Ben Stolt has taken the time and effort to put all the MP3s into one big torrent, and this week the first torrent containing 792 tracks has been released.
The 4.49 gigabyte torrent will likely be followed by another release later this month or early March.
Every year the SXSW torrents are a great success, with many thousands of music aficionados downloading the gigabytes of free music from both established acts and upcoming bands in virtually every music genre. In total, the torrents of the previous editions have been downloaded close to 150,000 times.
Although all tracks can also be streamed and downloaded directly from the festival website, a big torrent makes more sense since it’s easier than laboriously downloading every MP3 separately. In addition, using BitTorrent saves SXSW some money in bandwidth costs. The good news is that, for once, the RIAA isn’t watching over your shoulder when downloading music
This year’s SXSW music festival takes place from March 16-20 in Austin Texas. All the tracks released for the previous editions are also still available for those people who want to fill up their iPod without having to invest thousands of dollars.
For those interested in even more free music to fill up their MP3-players, there’s always Jamendo with nearly 50,000 free-to-download albums, also supported by BitTorrent. That’s a few Terabytes of free music, good for 5 years of continuous play.