It’s that time of year—SXSW is just around the corner, and with it comes all the excitement, intrigue, and inevitable overwhelm of trying to see, do, and eat it all. (I mean seriously, so many tacos, so little time!)
With the music portion of the festival running from March 16th through March 22nd this year, there are a ton of incredible panels and showcases that you don’t want to miss. But how do you decide? First a couple things to keep in mind:
Pick a focus
Before you even get to SXSW, make sure you go in with an objective. Knowing that you’re there primarily to learn about say, booking, means you won’t get tempted by all the other panels that have nothing to do with booking. Or, if you know you’re there to get in front of certain speakers, you’ll know where to look for them, and to make their panels a priority. It’s totally ok to change your objective as you go—but try to have one, because SXSW can quickly get overwhelming.
Once you have that down, make a list of everything you want to do! SXSW has a handy app you can use to keep track of all the official events, but you might want to pull out a notepad and pen for good measure because there are bound to be a lot of unofficial events you want to incorporate into your schedule—and a lot of those are incredible so you really don’t want to miss out!
Ok, ready to dive into our 7 recommended panels?
Who doesn’t want to learn how to get more fans and hold onto existing ones? This panel, comprised of Jesse Atwell (Triple 8 Management) Noah Kagan (SUMO Group), Micahel Schneider (Single Music), and Flavia Watson (Favia Speaks LLC), will teach attendees growth hacking techniques and a way to forge innovative new paths like A/B testing, rapid experimentation and superfan segmentation to reach new fans and keep them happy.
Knowing music laws doesn’t always sound super exciting, but it is incredibly important—and when you learn it can help you get paid, it becomes a little more intriguing.
In this panel with Todd Dupler of The Recording Academy, Bart Herbison (NSAI—Music), Kevin Kadish (NSAI Music) and Regan Smith (US Copyright Office) The Copyright Office will break down what recent legal changes mean for musicians and indie artists, such as those made in 2018 with the Music Modernization Act. It will also delve into other important legal and policy developments and include key music stakeholder speakers
You’d like to uncover a bit more cash, wouldn’t you?
This panel explores untapped revenues and how to monetize recordings based on international regulations. I know, it sounds a bit dry but, remember, this means more money.
These speakers will be uncovering details specific to properly registering works and getting your metadata sorted to increase royalties worldwide. On this panel are Sharaya Howell (BANJI Entertainment), Michael Shanley (Music Reports), Ann Tausis (Kobalt Music Group) and Bruce Waynne (Transparence Entertainment)
I hate to break it to you, but most artists don’t actually know what a music manager does. This panel is going to quickly clear that up. Featuring Annabella Coldrick (Music Managers Forum UK), Ellen Kirk (Look Out Kid), Kwame Kwaen (Ferocious Talent LTD), Meg Symsyk (Entertainment One) they’re clearing up all those misconceptions and misunderstandings about managers to dive into what music management means today and what the role will entail moving forward
Messaging apps are a fascinating way to connect with your audience, and in this panel with Aaron Bogucki (AWAL Recordings), Tim Heineke (I Am Pop), Jessie Scoullar (Wicksteed Works) and Alex Thomson (Green House Group) we’re diving into why DMs are the future, and newsfeeds, as we know it, are coming to an end.
Specifically, the speakers will be looking at FB Messenger, Whatsapp, and iMessage to see how they can offer a direct connection with your audience and look at strategies being rolled out by leading digital execs who are championing this direct messaging avenue.
You want your tour to be successful and profitable, right?
Featuring Bruce Houghton (Hypebot, MusicThinkTaknk, Skyline ARtists Agenct) Jamie Loeb (Nederlander Concerts) and Fabrice Sergent (Bandsintown) That means knowing where your fanbase lives and how to reach them. That, comes from data. But knowing how to filter through all that data and make sense of it is what makes all the difference. In this panel, the experts will explore their recommendations for the best data sources for smart touring, using real-world examples of artists using data to tour smart.
Which panels are you most looking forward to at SXSW?
We’re just getting started! If you’re looking for tips on increasing fan engagement then join me for my free Masterclass ‘How to gain your next 1,000 fans. 3 simple steps that lead to higher engagement, sold-out shows, and life-changing opportunities’.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placements on Alternative Press, Noisey, Substream, Spotify and more as well as the THRIVE Mentorship community—an online community that provides indie artists with affordable year-round mentoring from music industry experts, and much more. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.