Posted by: Laura Phillips Garner | March 4, 2010

NPR Music’s SXSW Mix Brought to You By Viral Marketing

NPR Music is offering a 100-song streaming mix of South by Southwest artists at

Rich media like “The Austin 100: A SXSW Mix for 2010” is just one of the many reasons I enjoy all the Internet has to offer. As I write this post, I am sitting here listening to a 6.5 hour live stream of 100 songs culled by NPR Music experts from the nearly 2,000 new artists playing the South by Southwest Music Festival March 17-20, 2010, in Austin, Texas.

NPR Music staff spent weeks sampling more than 1,000 songs so you and I could listen over and over and think “NPR Music, NPR Music, NPR Music” as we prepare for NPR Music’s “exhaustive” coverage of the SXSW festival. It’s also a great way to promote NPR Music’s two festival events: “NPR Music’s Opening-Night Showcase At Stubb’s” on the 17th and “NPR Music’s Day Party At The Parish” on the 18th. The full schedule is on the NPR Music Web site.

Thanks to the NPR Music folks, I am able to link the mix for SXSW 2010 into this post, so you can start listening too:

The Austin 100: A SXSW Mix for 2010

You’ll jump into the continuously playing stream, and an announcer comes on every once in a while to name the songs just played so you know where you are in this glorious feast of new music. NPR Music lists the 100 songs in alphabetical order of play on its Web site. My favorite so far is Suzanne Vega’s “Gypsy” from Close-Up, Vol. 1, Love Songs. It’s No. 85, but the songs are not ranked in any order. In fact, the criteria for choice were a six-word litmus test: “Yeah, I’d listen to that again.” There’s also a much smaller free SXSW sampler courtesy of NPR Music available to download on iTunes.

You can download the sampler here:

SXSW Sampler on iTunes

I learned about this ultimate mix from a Facebook posting, as I am an NPR Facebook fan. Being a good Facebook friend, I immediately sent the link to the mix to all I know on the social media site. Virtual Butterfly gave me another way to share the mix and the sampler through what integrated marketing communicators call viral marketing.

The mix and sampler is a prime example of a viral marketing strategy because it:

• Gives away new products or services. (The SXSW mix and the sampler are both free.)

• Provides for effortless transfer to others. (You can e-mail the links, or use Facebook, Twitter, Stumble Upon, Yahoo! Buzz, Redditt or Digg to share with fellow music lovers.)

• Scales easily from small to large. (National Public Radio (NPR) internet servers support the mix, and the sampler is on iTunes.)

• Exploits common motivations and behaviors. (Finding and sharing new music is cool to do.)

• Utilizes existing communications networks. (My forwarding the links to my Facebook friends and this article with the links on Virtual Butterfly are two examples.)

• Takes advantages of others’ resources. (I know NPR Music wants to thank all those bloggers and NPR fans on social media networks and e-mail for taking their time to spread the word!)

If you cannot be in Austin, check in with NPR Music as it is offering Webcasts and Podcasts with RSS feeds of all the SXSW performances it is sponsoring, so you’ll have many ways to interact with the NPR Music brand and, hopefully, the NPR brand in general.

After all, from a marketer’s perspective, Isn’t that the point?

–Laura Phillips Garner

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