For the past two decades, the Japan Nite showcase has been one of the most celebrated events at the South By Southwest (SXSW) music conference and festival, a gathering where industry types, everyday music fans and performers from all over the world descend on Texas' capital. The music component of this year's festival took place from March 17-22, with Japan Nite taking place on Friday, March 20.

When the Japan-centric showcase first started, SXSW functioned as a place where relatively unknown performers could leave an impression on labels, while fans could take in dozens of sets a day all across Austin. Such was the case at Japan Nite's 20th anniversary edition this year: Familiar faces watched Japanese bands play a wide range of music, while others chatted with the performers on the opposite side of the venue.

In 2015, however, scenes like this at SXSW felt like a rarity. The festival, in general, puts a premium on already hyped acts and the corporate brands hosting them. All week, attendees queued up for hours outside of the Fader Fort (sponsored by Converse) and the Hype Hotel (presented by Taco Bell) to see artists such as English producer Sophie and American rap trio Migos.