Starting in 2005, the SXSW music festival has published thousands of free tracks from participating artists.
The festival was, in fact, one of the first mainstream outlets to embrace torrents.
During the early years the festival organizers created the torrents for the artist showcases themselves, but since 2008 this task has been taken over by the public.
While torrents are no longer the standard, SXSW’s showcase MP3s are still freely available on the festival’s site for sampling purposes.
For the past several years Ben Stolt has taken the time and effort to put all of the MP3s on BitTorrent. Last week he published the latest 2017 torrent, which consists of 1,201 tracks totaling 7.86 gigabytes of free music.
All the tracks released for the previous editions are also still available and most of these torrents remain well-seeded. The 2005 – 2017 archives now total more than 77 gigabytes.
Stolt previously told TorrentFreak that he spends several hours preparing the releases each year, in part for his personal pleasure.
“My motivation is in part selfish, because, like many others, my friends and I all use the contents of the torrent to prepare for our week at SXSW Music. But without fail the emails start coming in January and February asking if there will be a torrent,” Stolt said.
“Many people come back every year, so I can’t leave them hanging,” he adds.
The effort pays off, though. Many people love the SXSW torrents, which attract tens of thousands of downloaders each year. The SXSW torrents site also gets quite a bit of traffic, over a million visits thus far.
For some, the showcase torrent is a good consolation for not being able to attend the festival in person. Others see it as a yearly tradition that allows them to fill up their hard drive and check out recent music from new and established artists for free.
This year’s SXSW music festival is currently underway in Austin, Texas and ends on Sunday. The torrent, however, is expected to live on for many years, as long as people are sharing.