TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: new tech and the war on format, journalism and PR, and royalties and copyright (Music Conference panel overview, part 4 of 4)

By on Thursday, 10th March 2016 at 1:00 pm

Editor’s note: We’ve made some exciting changes to our annual TGTF Guide to SXSW this year! In addition to the music showcase portion of the guide that you are likely already familiar with, we’ll also be bringing you our picks of the best of the conference panel programming for the convention side of SXSW Music. The SXSW Music Conference is divided into 12 general categories of panels, called tracks, and we have divided our panel coverage into four separate articles, each highlighting a different sections of panel content. This is part four of our four-part preview. If you missed the earlier parts of our panel preview series, you can click here to find them.

Music Tech and Format Wars
The music technology track at SXSW 2016 features a wide variety of session topics, ranging from general interest to increasingly specific discussions regarding new modes of music delivery. In the general category, we find Catch the Wave: The Industry’s Transition into Tech on Wednesday 16th March and Music 2020: How We Can Change the Future on Thursday 17th March. The more specialised end of the spectrum includes a Wednesday 16th March panel titled How 3D Printing Can Transform the Music Business.

Monetisation, the topic in the back of everyone’s mind, comes into play with Innovation in Digital Music & Making Streaming Pay on Wednesday 16th March and Music Content Value in a Post-Ownership Age, scheduled for Thursday 17th March. On a related note, the war on leaked and pirated music will be addressed on Friday the 18th of March in Digital Distribution & Security: The End of Piracy, which will center around promotional distribution platforms such as the ones we often use for music reviews here at TGTF.

Thursday the 17th of March will see two niche panels, Preservation Tips for DIY Labels and Indie Bands, and Goodbye to Your Tunes: Tech’s Race to Save Music. These will focus on music recorded in past and current formats (think cassettes, CDs and MP3s) and trying to keep it available as new formats become standard. The beloved vinyl record format will be discussed in its own right on Saturday 19th March, in a forward-looking panel titled Where Will the Vinyl Industry be in 2018?. True audiophiles will rejoice over Listening in High Definition: Future Music Consumption on Wednesday 16th March and Hi-Res Audio in Every Earbud on Thursday 17th March.

PR, Journalism and Media

This track of the Music Conference is loaded with Mentor Sessions for publicists, writers and artists themselves, as well as a Featured Session with guest speaker Jessica Hopper regarding feminism in the music industry. For more information about Jessica Hopper and her panel presentation on that topic, have a look back at our feature on feminism at SXSW 2016 right back here.

How to Get Heard When No One’s Heard of You, scheduled for Wednesday 16th March, and Thursday 17th March workshop DIY Music PR: The Secrets of Pitching Your Band, will talk about pitching music to mid-level blogs and reviewers (like TGTF!). No Basic Pitches: Publicity by the Journalists takes a unique perspective in examining the very fluid relationship between artist PRs and music journalists.

Bob Boilen

Bob Boilen, courtesy of Meg Vogel/NPR

NPR’s Bob Boilen examines music marketing from another unique perspective in The Recording Industry Hates Grownups on Friday the 18th of March. Along with guest panelist Jim Fusilli of the Wall Street Journal, Boilen explores the idea of marketing to the over-40 age demographic, which he suggests is under-represented in the industry.

Royalties and Copyright
Monetisation (again!) is the underlying focus of this conference track, which examines the relationships among the music industry, related private organisations, and government. Hot topics here include Making Streaming Royalties Fair(er) on Wednesday the 16th of March and Fair Music: Transparency in the Music Industry on Friday the 18th. For the artists themselves, two Friday 18th March workshops, The Revenue Stream Roadmap for Songwriters and YouTube: Stop Complaining and Start Monetizing!, offer some guidance on how to make music pay.

Advocacy for artists’ rights will also be a popular topic, with the role of Music Rights Organisations being explored in two panels, Music Rights Organizations (MRO): What Are They? on Wednesday 16th March and One Rights Society To Rule Them All: Meet The GMRO on Friday 18th March. Wednesday 16th March panel The New Artist Rights Grassroots Advocacy will feature guest speaker David Lowery from artist rights blog The Trichordist, and Thursday 17th March session Advocating for Musicians: Why DC Matters will focus on public and governmental advocacy.

As with Music Festival showcasing artists, Music Conference panels are subject to change. For complete information on Music Conference tracks at SXSW 2016, including updated panel listings and scheduling information, you can consult the official SXSW 2016 Web site by clicking here.

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