Rapper Schoolboy Q had a great time at his first South By Southwest a few years ago, but found himself getting angry this year as he played a series of shows at the annual music conference and festival. "It's stupid. They changed it all up. It's corporate," he said as he prepared for a show Saturday. "I don't ever want to come back unless they change it to where the fans are in. I'm tired of performing and seeing my fans outside the gate. .., That's not fair. It's not about the fans no more, it's all about money, who can give you the best look."
As South By Southwest shuttered its 28th year Sunday, participants debated the growing corporate influence on the conference. Critics say SXSW has evolved past its core mission: to help new bands get discovered. Instead, they say, the media focus has shifted to already-established stars such as Jay Z, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, CeeLo Green, Rick Ross, Keith Urban and many more whose heavily promoted appearances are underwritten by international brands.