Yes, you can actually vote on the panels that will be featured at South by Southwest.
Even if you’re a regular at SXSW, you may not realize that there’s an elaborate panel selection process that starts months before the event. The process — called ‘PanelPicker’— is overseen by SXSW chief programming officer Hugh Forrest and actually gets underway about 7-8 months ahead of the next conference.
That makes sense: SXSW is an absolutely enormous event spanning music, tech, film, and the environment, among other sub-divisions. We’re guessing that the SXSW team takes about a week off after the end of one event, then comes back and starts a 51 week setup process for the next one.
Accordingly, the conference’s PanelPicker process for 2019 started in July, with thousands of entries pouring in. Now, SXSW is inviting people to vote on what they want to see.
Here are a few proposed panels I’d love to see get green-lighted.
These are all core to the music industry and will be valuable to artists, rights owners, managers, label execs, and others. But these are five out of thousands of proposals, so to browse on your own, jump over to panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote, register, and upvote what you like.
Also, voting ends Thursday (August 30th) at 11:59 pm PT.
1. A&R 2018: Gut Instinct vs. Data
“A&R used to stand for Artist & Repertoire. Today it stands for Analytics & Research.”
That’s the very apt opening line in the description for this panel, which takes an interesting look at the massive changes in artist discovery and development. This panel, which features two major label executives, will delve into all sorts of factors that lead to artists getting signed — and whether that’s good.
The panel will feature Eric McLellan of Sire Records/WMG, Drew Thurlow of Sony Music Entertainment, and Craig Snyder of ReverbNation. You’ll probably get some insights into how to game the A&R system, or whether you really want to play this game at all.