March 6, 2013

For all the grief South by Southwest has caught over promoting big name acts like Justin Timberlake and Green Day—thereby gleaning away attention from the smaller, unknown bands who could actually use the coverage—it’s important to remember that music isn’t the only area in which the festival’s corporate roots have increasingly taken hold. Take, for example, this newest invention from your friends at Doritos: a 62-foot vending machine that doubles as a concert stage and is powered by Tweets. There’s a promotional video that explains what the purpose of the Tweeting is: It’ll allow fans to offer input during a contest between three rapping hopefuls competing for the chance to open up for LL Cool J, by affecting the “outcome of the opening act, special effects, onscreen visuals and the encore song,” according to Mashable.

But there’s the peak amount of SXSW, a towering structure dedicated to social media and salty snacks—the only things that matter in Obama’s America. (Sadly, there’s no evidence that the stage will actually dispense Doritos.) At least the video gave us this immortal line: “What’s up? I’m LL Cool J. Me and Doritos are looking for the next bold act in hip-hop.” If not them, then who else?

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