SXSW kinda sucks. It's never worth the price of admission as all the bigger acts cost more money. Too many douchy music executives and way too many douchy hipster fans.
Maybe you're going to the wrong shows.
Tons of bands that are featured on this website do TONS of free shows throughout sxsw. I've never paid for a badge and I've seen everyone I've wanted at SXSW for the past 5 years.