South by Southwest opens — tech flourishes

Jeff Tyler Mar 9, 2012

Stacey Vanek Smith: Today the South by Southwest festival kicks off in Austin. It’s long been known as a big music scene, where independent bands get discovered. But this year, the festival’s technical side is getting a lot of attention.

Jeff Tyler reports.


Jeff Tyler: South by Southwest is like three events in one: Music, film, and technology. More people register for the Interactive festival, even though it’s the most expensive of the three — at $950.

Hugh Forrest is director of the Interactive festival. He expects lots of entrepreneurs will introduce new companies.

Hugh Forrest: While the general economy is still rather sluggish, the start-up economy is very robust.

Austin hotels sell out months in advance, says economist Angelos Angelou.

Angelos Angelou: Not even half the people who come toAustin are able to be accommodated in area hotels.

He says that creates an opportunity for local entrepreneurs.

Angelou: I know of a lot of people – particularly empty-nesters – that, if they have an extra room or so in their home, they rent it.

Last year, festival organizers say South by Southwest brought $175 million into the local economy — and they expect this year will be even more profitable.

I’m Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.