18 Most Interesting Music PanelPicker Ideas for SXSW 2020

Every year SXSW lets community vote on the best ideas for panels, presentations and talks during their PanelPicker time in August. This year is no different and I have decided to put together a list of 18 most interesting music PanelPicker ideas for SXSW 2020 to help you you navigate what sometimes can feel like an overwhelming amount of information.

You can vote on individual panels by clicking their links.

The community voting closes Friday 23 August 2019.


Big Ideas & Future

In this category I included six panels that discuss big and interesting ideas about the present as well as the future of the music industry.

CAN STREAMING MUSIC SERVICES SAVE LOCAL MUSIC? - This one looks really interesting as it combines thoughts on streaming and local musicians - taking a look how streaming can increase diversity of listening and help indie musicians rise.

HOW THE RISE OF SHORT FORM CONTENT IMPACTS MUSIC - Hugely relevant topic when it comes to capturing consumers and fans’ attention on the internet, especially considering the ever changing shifts to new apps. Perspectives from both tech companies and music labels make this a really intriguing entry.

F*CK THE GATEKEEPERS. WAIT, MAYBE WE NEED THEM? - Definitely a panel worth attending if it’s picked. The gatekeepers might be the easy target to blame for when things go wrong with a campaign but it can often be a case of artists team’s wrong course of action. This discussion between artist teams and gatekeepers will definitely be illuminating.

FINDING SUCCESS IN A CROWDED MARKETPLACE - This panel is presented by professionals in the independent sector (A2IM, AWAL, etc) so hearing their perspectives on how to succeed in the crowded, and ever-evolving marketplace will be definitely something I’d want to hear.

THE NEW OIL? ACCESS AND OWNERSHIP OF FAN DATA - There were a lot of panels that were concerned with data but I think this one will give a great breakdown on fan data and how to find it, how to use and why it’s important to know about it.

BREAKING ARTISTS IN A DIGITAL LANDSCAPE - I found the concept for this panel very intriguing because it’s going to cover three recent breakout artists of 2019 as “case studies” for artists, managers and independent labels. I would be very interested to see their dissection of these strategies.

Music Marketing & Strategy

This is probably the most interesting category for me as it includes panels that talk about marketing and strategies - most of them using data to create innovative artists campaigns that work in today’s digital era.

SPOTIFY ARTIST & LABEL WORKSHOP - The name itself is pretty straightforward but it’s definitely a worthwhile panel to attend if picked. It is invaluable to be able to get insight into the fastest growing streaming service and make sure that artists and their teams do everything right to get the most out of Spotify.

FAN HACKING: ACQUIRING AND RETAINING MORE FANS - This panel looks like it’s going to be full of useful information on how to hack growth with your fan base. Having professionals from both music and tech should really bring out the best of both worlds and make for an unmissable panel.

THE GENIUS OF MEME MARKETING IN MUSIC - This one might seem a bit goofy at first but there is a definite rise in using memes in music marketing, usually to get the initial attention of the consumers/fans, which allows for data gathering and opening the first line of communication. Definitely the one to watch.

SMART TOURING: GUIDE BOOKING + MARKETING WITH DATA - This panel is another twist on the data in the music industry - this time focusing on using data to book shows and market them better. Presented by Bandsintown and Hypebot, there is definitely a lot they can say on the topic with confidence and knowledge.

THE POWER OF THIRD PARTY PLAYLISTS - The title of this panel might speak for itself but it will be a definite eyeopener to what third party playlists can do to help artist’s song rise in the algorithms. Plus plenty of useful tips on what curators of playlists are looking for and how to approach them.

CAN YOU BREAK AN ARTIST ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS? - This panel is presented by three digital leaders in three independent labels. I am sure it will be full of great insights and useful tips on how to use limited budgets wisely and tweak marketing campaigns to help artists succeed.

Music & Tech

This category focuses on panels that mesh music and technology in a different ways - some of them are more workshop-like with direct tips and actionable information while others discuss more future-focused topic that intersect between music and tech.

WHY EUROPE IS HOT ON THE WORLD MAP OF MUSIC TECH? - I think the topic of music tech booming in Europe is not talked about enough and it would be great to see this panel picked for next year so there is more awareness of European based entrepreneurs in the music tech space.

MESSAGING APPS AND THE FUTURE OF ONLINE SHARING - Messaging Apps and Bots are one of the hottest topics in digital marketing and automation right now and it will be really interesting to see how this is approached within the music space. I think you shouldn’t miss this panel if it is picked.

CONTEXTUALISED CONTENT CREATION EMPOWERED BY AI - This panel is presented by AI Music, London-based company that is at the forefront of harnessing the power of AI to create native advertisements that fit in with the music you are listening - so so fascinating and definitely worth voting for.

ARTIST MANAGER INTERROGATES 3 NEW TECH PLATFORMS - Such an interesting concept for a panel. If picked it is not to be missed as I haven’t seen anything like it before. Hopefully the questions asked will be constructive and useful for anyone who needs to question any new platforms that come fighting for users/fans attention.

MAKING SENSE OF YOUTUBE'S MONETIZATION POLICIES - Self-explanatory title but a must-watch as it will definitely have plenty of YouTube tips and tricks that will make every artists and labels life easier. We all know YouTube is not going away any time soon. Might as well make the most of it.

BRAND PLAY: MUSIC + TECHNOLOGY = CULTURAL CURRENCY - Merging music and technology is not a new topic but I think this panel headed by Atlantic Records can really shine a great light on how they create campaigns that benefit all parties and help tech companies utilise music culture to increase engagement.


So there they are - 18 Music PanelPicker ideas for South by Southwest 2020 that I found the most intriguing from the selection submitted this year. Let me know in the comments if you are attending next year and what panels you are more excited to (possibly) attend.

Pivotal Music Conference 2019: Top 8 Music Marketing Takeaways