Every year the city of Austin, Texas is transformed by the thousands of bands, managers, agents, labels, media, and music fans that descend upon the annual South By Southwest (SXSW) Music Conference.

It’s a week-long festival of career-making opportunities, groundbreaking networking, gigs and parties that’s basically unmatched for anywhere else in the music business world.

2014 marked the 28th year of this annual conference, and the growth of the conference is truly staggering. Just how how big is it? Try to wrap your head around this economic impact analysis just released by the conference.

In 2014 across 6 nights of live music, more than 2,100 bands from 57 countries performed in front of an audience of more than 200,000 from 87 countries. The total number of musicians, their crew, and their posse, totalled more than 16,000 alone.

Those who attended SXSW made 13,990 individual hotel reservations totaling 60,450 room nights, which helped drive the nightly hotel rate up 12 percent to an eye-watering $287 a night.

Overall, SXSW was responsible for injecting more than $315.3 million into the Austin economy in 2014; including $121.9 million from operations, $136.5 million from spending by registrants, and $56.9 million from spending by guests.

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To put that into perspective, SXSW dwarfs both the entire regional music economy in Victoria which is estimated to generate about $276 million annually for the local economy, and the entire annual songwriting royalties for Australia which were $243.5 million last year.

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“SXSW continues to be an extraordinary celebration of the cultural fabric of Austin and all that Austinites value,” said Michael W. Rollins, CCE, President of the Austin Chamber of Commerce. “Besides focusing the eyes of the world on our city in March, SXSW brings employment to many thousands of our citizens and allows them to provide for their families.”

“From entertainment venues that employ local bands to hotels to retail establishments and all the support industry that provides services that visitors require to the many innovative businesses that have relocated or started up here because of exposure Austin gained during SXSW, this event has helped drive the thriving economy in Central Texas.”

“The fact is that all Austinites benefit from SXSW as the City of Austin has collected millions of dollars in taxes through the years that can be directly attributable to SXSW. Thank you SXSW.”

Artist submissions for SXSW 2015 are still open to Australians hoping to get in on the action.

Bands (as well as their managers, agents, and labels) can upload their application in electronic press kit form via Sonic Bids. Full details are available at the official SXSW website and there’s also a handy Showcase FAQ. Application fees are US$ 45.

The final submission deadline for applications is 11th October, so make sure you put in your diaries to ensure you don’t miss the chance to be part of the SXSW 2015 lineup.

This year’s SXSW featured over 55 Aussie artists – a record-breaking number.

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Some of this year’s SXSW success stories include Castlemaine’s D.D Dumbo becoming the fourth ever Aussie to sign with influential indie, 4ADbuzz-building performances from The Preatures, much attention for ‘Riptide’ hit-maker Vance Joy (oh lookie, he’s on the application page!), folk rockers Boy & Bear, and Melbourne songbird Gossling, and many more.

Other breakout Aussie artists that have benefited from a little SXSW magic include such luminaries as Chet Faker, DZ Deathrays, Alpine, Big Scary, Bleeding Knees Club, The Temper Trap, Emma Louise, Matt Corby, The Temper Trap, NZ expat Kimbra, and many more.

Not in a band but still want a slice of the SXSW 2015 action? Signing up as a delegate to attend the series of music, film, and technology events might be your option; full details for attendance applications and costs are available here.

SXSW 2015

15th – 22nd March, 2015 – Austin, Texas USA
Artist Showcase Applications open between Tues 8th July – Friday 12th September, 2014.
Submissions close Friday 10th October, 2014.
More info at sxsw.com

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