SXSW showcase a “plum gig” for Spoon & a coming out party for NPR Music

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As the South by Southwest Music festival keeps getting bigger and bigger, the potential for bands to break through to commercial success diminish, observes New York Times ArtsBeat blogger Ben Sisario. He points to last night’s opening showcase, sponsored by NPR Music and headlined by Austin’s own Spoon, as a case in point: “It was a plum gig, reflecting not only Spoon’s preeminence but also the emergence of NPR as a major force in independent music. . . . [T]he band was received as heroes, symbolizing the best of what South by Southwest is about: artistic credibility, insouciant cool, left-of-the-dial independence. The implicit message was that Spoon are the top of the heap, the highest that a South by Southwest band can aspire to. But by the numbers, Spoon is still a startup: its new album, ‘Transference’ (Merge), has been out for eight weeks and sold 121,000 copies. And there are lots of Spoons out there, famous to small slivers of an audience but unknown to everybody else, and probably pretty comfortable that way, or at least used to it.” Details and links to more SXSW music coverage from NPR and public radio stations are here.

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