Saturday, March 19, 2011

SXSW 44: Livestream telethon for SXSW4JAPAN

It all came together in a few sleepless hours.

The initial idea for a Japan relief telethon was broached over dinner on Thursday. By Friday, pre-recording started.


Nicole and Isaac Hanson

Noon Saturday, a Livestream telethon went out live over the website for, the main South by South Southwest group raising funds for victims of the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan.

Organized by the band of Tulsa-based Hanson brothers, the telethon immediately attracted huge names — Michael Stipe of REM (who recorded a message), John “Jo Jo” Hermann of Widespread Panic, members of the North Mississippi Allstars — to the Same Sky Recording Studio downtown and Bubble Recording Studio in the North Campus area.


Matt Snyder and Taylor Hanson

“I’m enjoying the lack of sleep and the insanity,” said Matt Snyder of MediaMob, who helped whip together the telethon. “It’s been like a revolving door of kindness.”

In the courtyard of the bungalow-plus-studio, Snyder hung out with Taylor, Issac and Nicole Hanson (Issac’s wife). Coffee, water and energy drinks spilled over one table. Artists and techs ducked in and out of the upstairs-downstairs studio and control room, which house four cameras and an array of editing equipment.

“We’ve received incredibly positive vibes from everyone,” Isaac Hanson said. “And the longest we’ve gone without music or recorded messages is two minutes.”

Taylor Hanson saluted the local engineers for dropping everything to contribute digital expertise and equipment.

“So many people have come through,” he said. “We are just going to let it stream.”

Half way through the telethon, SXSW4JAPAN had raised more than $92,000, but that didn’t include the text donations that were being tallied separately.

Although the telethon will end at midnight Saturday, he said, future streaming, YouTube clips and an iTunes album are in the offing.

Photos to come.

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