SXSW® starts  today with long lines, pouring rain, and a trademarked nickname for those officially in the know: SOUTH BY™ (seriously).  The music portion of the festival doesn’t begin until March 13th, and badges are still available.

If you can’t make it to Austin this year, MMT℠ has several no cost, no hassle, no passport or federal registration required alternatives.

New for 2012 are four channels streaming the music of SXSW Artists, now with even more Hip Hop:

Channel 1: Indie Rock and Pop
Channel 2: Americana and Singer/Songwriter
Channel 3: Electronic, Dance, World and Hip Hop
Channel 4: Rock, Metal, Punk and even more Hip Hop

The Austin 100: A SXSW Mix
The NPR crew sorts through 2,000 acts to bring you 100 hand-picked songs.  And since this is Free Friday, 71 of them are available for free download.

CXCW: Couch by Couchwest
The slacker alternative, CouchBy™ brings the music to you.  Musicians can submit YouTube or Vimeo links of their CXCW videos through March 17, 2012.  The videos must be made expressly for Couch by Couchwest, and can be recorded anywhere except a stage.  Fans can view the festival online from March 11 – 18, and are encouraged to share their experience via twitter, facebook or email.

photo: Aaron Bruno of AWOLNATION by David D’Agostino