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Hey readers! Andrew here. Welcome to a special edition of Internet Insider.
We’re still on the ground at SXSW! I hope you’ve enjoyed all of our coverage so far. If you missed something, you can see all of our coverage here.
Today, our News Director Ramon Ramirez goes through the definitions of all the “buzz phrases” at SXSW and more.
Plus, as always, our team of reporters will share with you all of the cool, interesting, and weird things they are seeing at the conference.
At the church of weird neon ideas
Friends, it’s been a special South by Southwest because we’ve learned to clearly define the buzz phrases we set out to understand.
Web3: An idea where in the future, the internet is decentralized from Google and Facebook. It’s not really a place yet. You gather with Web3 fans on Twitter and Discord to talk about blockchains.
Blockchain: Like the cloud but organized into cubbies. Cubbies that you can own!
Cryptocurrency: Money traded between people without banks, and on the internet. It’s speculative as heck and scammy.
NFTs: Like a baseball card where its authenticity can be verified and thus boom in value over time on the internet. (Then again, the internet has significantly altered the resale market for baseball cards so… good luck with your JPEG in five years.)
Metaverse: You take your digital life, your avatar, on the go. Like a pirate’s parrot on the shoulder. This parrot can help you buy shoes more efficiently.
Got it? So… Do these ideas matter? As we’ve assumed going in: Yes. There is so much power concentrated in controlling these new frontiers. But what if you’re, say, a creative professional looking to make a living on the internet? Say you didn’t go to an elite university and haven’t had college friends spamming you Crypto Evites for years. Also yes! You should understand how to leverage these ideas, these tools, into your internet business.
To do just that, I highly recommend Daysia Tolentino’s overview in this week’s edition of Passionfruit, our creator economy newsletter. (We’ll have it on-site tomorrow for non-subs, too.)
At the Daily Dot staffer level, again, a great SXSW so far. I don’t believe that anyone is seriously sick so far, which is always a win.
You’re out there from 10am to 2am for several days, and it’s warm for a while and then it’s cold at night. You never know how to dress! You get a cough. It’s probably long COVID because it’s persisted since the Cowboys vs. 49ers playoff game. But, it’s fine.
Anyway last night I ran into my friend Bryson. This guy lost a fantasy football league we were both in back in 2016 and refused to participate in the punishment… after he lost.
After he entered into this social contract to have fun and where the loser goes to an area high school to take the SAT on a Saturday. I lost once and took my medicine like a man. I spent 6 hours taking the SAT with a bunch of teenagers. I scored in the 90th percentile via my writing prompt: Something about whether it’s better to be brave or pragmatic, and why.
Anyway, Bryson and I had a falling out and we haven’t spoken since. We didn’t last night either. But it got me thinking: Bryson, I love you man. Sorry to be so principled about a game that does not matter. I’m ready to be the bigger man and say hi again. Hope the fam’s good, player.
Tonight, the team will be reporting across creator-centric spaces vs. idea-centric fireside chats. There should be some great music too.
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✏️ REPORTER’S DIARY
Our team of reporters are on the ground at SXSW in Austin, TX. Here are some of the notable, interesting, and weird things they are seeing.
🎧 We usually don’t do much music at the Daily Dot (because we cover internet culture), but with this year’s very online crop of TikTok-viral artists at SXSW, we had to stick around for that second wave of the conference. In addition to more great scene reporting, every day, we’ll be updating this sweet Spotify playlist with good songs we heard IRL. Keep it locked. — Ramon Ramirez
🎶 I was transported to a magical electronic dance party when the band Desire took the stage at Elysium on Wednesday night. Known for their song “Under Your Spell,” which appeared on the Drive soundtrack, members Megan Louise and Johnny Jewel also performed a couple of cover songs to an enthusiastic audience. It felt intimate and special, and it was definitely one of the top performances I’ve seen so far at this year’s SXSW. — Tiffany Kelly
⛪ The Central Presbyterian Church is one of SX’s most distinct venues. But it is not a re-purposed space featuring, say, a neon cross: It’s literally a church on most weekends, pews and all. You can’t get a beer but the acoustics can be astonishing: I once saw Wyclef perform “Gone Till November” here, which, come on. Wednesday, the Song Exploder podcast deftly curated a bill including Sarah Kinsley; Kimbra (of “Somebody That I Used to Know” fame); and the Tumblr-beloved pop idol Perfume Genius, who finally turned off the house lights, got fluorescent, and crooned like the seasoned balladeer he is on “The Floor.” Another evening highlight: Richmond, Virginia rapper Fly Anakin, recalling guys like Westside Gunn who drip word soup, off-time, over laid-back soul samples with blatant disregard for iambic pentameter. For “anti-love song” “Love Song (Come Back)” he brought attention to one very online lyrics: “Death to All Karens.” — Ramon Ramirez
🤷 Ahead of Kimbra’s performance at the Central Presbyterian Church last night, two audience members in front of me pulled out their phones to play some of her songs—out loud—to figure out who she was. It seems like a benign thing to do, but there was another artist performing while they did this. And aren’t you going to find out what Kimbra’s music is like in a few minutes anyway? I guess concert etiquette has gone out the window after two years of staying indoors! — Daysia Tolentino
🥝 “You’re putting so much power into other people’s hands for them to change the algorithm, for you to not even be able to make ends meet and you have a million followers,” said Chavah Grant, chief of staff for the Web3 creator platform Calaxy. Learn more about Calaxy’s mission to bring the creator economy into Web3 in this week’s Passionfruit newsletter. Sign up to get it here.
🎙️ Indie superstar Phoebe Bridgers and comedian Caleb Hearon hosted Bridgers’ Saddest Factory Records showcase at Mohawk last night, and they had a few surprises up their sleeves. In addition to asking the obvious questions (“Are there any lesbians in the crowd tonight?”), Hearon called out Texas’ “complicated” politics, before joking that conservative Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was there to speak. A much different Greg—Austin City Council member and Democratic candidate running for Congress, Greg Casar—spoke to the audience, rallying for abortion access, trans rights, and $15 per hour minimum wage. Despite Claud and MUNA’s delayed set times, the crowd remained pumped up. I was too exhausted to stay for the post-show karaoke, but legend has it that Bridgers and friends offered up a rendition of My Chemical Romance’s “The Black Parade.” — Laiken Neumann
🎮 Lee Trink, CEO of FaZe Clan, spoke with media reporter Sara Fischer of Axios about how gaming will continue to drive Gen Z culture and consumerism in the future. Trink told the SXSW audience that FaZe Clan has seen such titanic popularity partly because entertainment and the creator economy are far larger markets than just esports. Check out our report by Grace Stanley here.
📻 T-Pain watch, Day 2: The line for T-Pain’s 15-minute allotted set from 1am to 1:15am on the official schedule was reportedly too packed, even for badge holders, to get into the Empire Garage at show time. As of 1:10am, sources tell the Daily Dot that T-Pain was not onstage. — Ramon Ramirez
👀 The British Music Embassy is hosting SX’s most-buzzed band Thursday night, the TikTok-famous Wet Leg. Wednesday afternoon, its patio was quiet and dignified as Liverpool singer-songwriter Strawberry Guy proved himself another worthy successor to the “guys who try to be different and say that their favorite Beatles record is actually All Things Must Pass” throne. Ya know: A wintry mix of understated but richly layered, meditative songs. He did unfortunately break a cardinal SX sin: Ask to play an encore beyond his allotted, highly specific showcase window. — Ramon Ramirez
Now Playing: 🎶“Under Your Spell” by Desire🎶