Last week, the DataArt Media & Entertainment team flew to Austin, TX, to take part in what is undoubtedly the biggest event the industry has to offer – South by Southwest (SXSW) – where both newcomers and leaders of the industry engage in conference sessions, a trade show, a start-up incubator, and of course, professional networking.
This year’s agenda included thousands of smaller events taking place in a few hundred locations inside the Austin Convention Center and around the city, stretching for over a week on March 10 to 19. Recognizing that the size and scope of the event may be more than a bit overwhelming for attendees, organizers offered not one but two apps - SXSW Social and SXSW Go – and even introduced Abby, the SXSW Bot, to help attendees navigate the conference and festivals, find out what’s happening, and get timely answers in a casual, fun, and conversational style.
SXSW covers almost every aspect of the entertainment industry, including social, technological, legal, and other important matters. The 2017 list of speakers included a music legend Nile Rodgers; Adam Grant, Wharton’s top-rated teacher and a New York Times writer; Jacob Fain, VP A&R at Sony/ATV Music Publishing; David Levin, VP Digital Licensing at BMI; Deana Cosper, Head of Social (NY) at WMA; and many-many others.
Our team concentrated on selected panels featuring copyright and royalties, new music economy and challenges of streaming, VR and AR, future of ML and AI, and other hot topics relevant to music tech. We joined discussions of the on-going issues and demands of music transparency, learned how much data is too much, shared ideas on the implications of Blockchain and implementation of DDEX, and explored changes in music consumption and marketing. And some of the greatest creative and technical minds of media and entertainment steered the way.
With all the insightful sessions and panel discussions, it’s worth mentioning that SWSX is the sort of event where you often learn more outside of the official sessions in informal conversation with speakers and fellow attendees. This year, Sony House was a place of especially good discussions and a great performance from Rag N Bone Man.
All in all, SXSW is an important event to strengthen existing relationships and make new connections as well as one of the best brain-picking platforms for media & entertainment professionals. Just remember to include smaller, invite-only dinners, meet-ups, and parties as part of your schedule.