12 Music Panels You Shouldn’t Miss at SXSW 2015

Article by: Evan Levy

Mon March 02, 2015 | 00:00 AM

You’ve scored your credentials and picked out the bands you want to see for this year’s SXSW, but now another challenge awaits you: sifting through the hundreds of music conference sessions (which span March 17-22) where you can learn more about the music biz from a veritable who’s who of industry insiders. Before you start clicking away on the schedule pages, here are a few recommendations of sessions we think you’re going to love.

Monday, March 16
Hamburger Helper Is My Bae: Weird Brand Twitter
5 - 6 pm, Next Stage @ Austin Convention Center

If you’ve been wondering why the tweets of some large corporations’ Twitter accounts read like the texts of a teenager with ADD, then this session is for you. Presenters Chapin Clark of R/GA and BuzzFeed’s Katie Notopoulos will discuss the recent trend of brand-name products posting weird and silly content on Twitter so that they can connect with a younger audience and gain more followers. If you’re looking for a new strategy to build up your brand and increase your numbers on Twitter, attend this one.

Tuesday, March 17
Russell Brand’s Revolution Will Be Televised
12:30 - 1:30 pm, Ballroom D @ Austin Convention Center

Here’s your chance to spend an hour with Russell Brand. The comedian will be hosting a session to discuss his click-worthy YouTube show Trews, and his new book, Revolution. While both projects poke fun at government and the news media, this session promises to give you an inside look at Brand’s master plan to shake up the media business and inspire news organizations to change how they deliver content to their audiences. There’s no doubt this session will fill up fast, so you’d better get in line now.

Wednesday, March 18
Ladies First: How to be a Woman in Rap Journalism
12:30 - 1:30 pm, Room 8C @ Austin Convention Center

Attention aspiring female journalists: If you hope to launch a career reporting on the world of hip-hop, you must add this session to your calendar. The panel discussion features four women who cover the rap game for a number of media powerhouses, including MTV News and Townsquare Media. They’ll be offering up some advice on breaking into hip-hop journalism, and there’s also a good chance they’ll share a few juicy stories about their experiences behind-the-scenes. Either way, you’re bound to learn something new.

Coachella 2014 The Confluence   13

Wednesday, March 18
Craft Beer, Cabanas & Concierge: Curating the New Festival Experience
5 - 6 pm, Room 16AB @ Austin Convention Center

Music festivals offer more than just a great lineup of bands these days. If you’ve got the cash, you can have swanky VIP experiences including large cabanas with staff serving up a wide variety of hand-crafted beers and gourmet food. While this trend is great for those who are willing to spend big bucks, it threatens to cause a rift within its audience. Hosted by the people who bring you Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Governor’s Ball and the Newport Folk Festival, this session will reveal how festival hospitality will continue to evolve. Music festival season is almost upon us, so if you want to find out what kind of goodies these guys are cooking up for their upcoming events, be sure to grab a seat at this session.

Thursday, March 19
Give It Away Now: The “Value” in Free Music

12:30 - 1:30 pm, Room 15 @ Austin Convention Center

Everybody loves scoring free music, but is it a good idea for artists to give away their songs to streaming services like Pandora or Spotify? This session, featuring legendary punk rock guitarist Cheetah Chrome, will examine how offering up music for free benefits both bands and their fans.  

Bmi Panel Sxsw 2015

Thursday, March 19
Building the Beat: A Conversation with Music’s Most Influential Producers
2 - 3 pm, Room 18ABC @ Austin Convention Center

Want to know how some of the biggest hits by Lil Wayne, Jay Z, Kanye West, and Snoop Dogg were made? Then you’d better make plans to attend this session, featuring legendary hip-hop producers Mannie Fresh, Young Guru, Just Blaze and KLC. These rap moguls will give you an inside look at the production of their famous clients’ heavy-hitting tracks and the technology used to make them.

Thursday, March 19
Yes Virginia, There Are Still F**kin Jukeboxes!
3:30 - 4 pm, Room 10A @ Austin Convention Center

Old school vinyl record-filled jukeboxes may be a thing of the past, but now you can find touch-screen jukeboxes sitting in bars and clubs around the country. This session examines the evolution of jukebox culture, explores the latest trends and offers a glimpse at what the future holds for the digital jukebox.

Thursday, March 19
Access to Affinity: The Future of Digital Music
5 - 6 pm, Room 12AB @ Austin Convention Center

Digital music services have big plans to expand beyond providing streams and downloads to their customers.  This session promises to preview some exciting new amenities they’ll be offering in the next decade to bring fans closer to their favorite artists. If you want to know what these guys are dreaming up for the future, don’t miss this one.

Sxsw 2014 Art Gimbel   15

Friday, March 20
Should Music Mags Survive or Get Killed Off?
12:30 - 1:30 pm, Room 12AB @ Austin Convention Center

Long gone are the days when the only place to get your music news was in the pages of your favorite magazine. Thanks to the digital revolution and the plethora of music blogs, streaming services and newsgroups, accessing information on artists just takes a few clicks. This session’s panel, which features employees of Rolling Stone and NPR Music, will examine whether or not traditional music publications are needed in today’s digital world.

Friday, March 20
Fest Forward: The Future of Music Festivals
2 - 3 pm, Room 17A @ Austin Convention Center

Your festival experience begins months before you buy your ticket and step foot on the festival grounds. Technology plays a big part in helping to promote the event and generate buzz. This session (which our co-founder Art Gimbel co-moderates) features an in-depth analysis about how social media is being utilized to win over scores of new festival-goers, and what the future of festival promotion will be.

Friday, March 20
Books Are the New Vinyl
5 - 6 pm, Room 16AB @ Austin Convention Center

Following in the footsteps of vinyl records, books have now become the newest highly-coveted collectible. Featuring a panel that includes legendary rapper and author Chuck D of Public Enemy, this session examines why traditional books are making a comeback, and how the trend has grown in the last few years.

Saturday, March 21
Alan Lomax at 100: A Centennial Retrospective
12:30 - 1:30 pm, Room 15 @ Austin Convention Center

Documenting and preserving folk music was Alan Lomax’s passion, and now his life’s work will be celebrated and explored at this panel discussion. Hosted by two employees of his official archives and a representative from the Library of Congress, the session will showcase a variety of unique items from his extensive collection, covering the years 1933 through 1991. To understand how folk music has evolved over the years, be sure to get a seat at this one.

For more information on these and other sessions, visit SXSW.com.