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SXSW begins!

SXSW begins!

The sign outside Stubbs - where R.E.M. will headline tonight.

Today is the first day of South by Southwest 2008! And while many people who aren't in Austin could care less, music lovers and industry folks consider this event the real "March madness." A projected 1,600 bands will be in and out of Austin over the next four days, which will create a seemingly endless wall of sound which begins around noon each day and ends after last call. Yeah, sure it's a lot of fun but if long lines and Mardi Gras-size crowds aren't your thing, you can experience the bands of SXSW from the comforts of your own home or office with our free playlist below! Meanwhile, we'll do all the legwork here to scout out all the good bands that you should watch for this year (and filter out the bad ones--and believe me, there are plenty.)