Una Mullally

Society, life and culture on the edge

SXSW Preview: The Best Music Panels

SXSW Music kicks off next week, and I’ll be there in Austin soaking up the tunes, talks and tacos. I’m going to do a few preview posts before heading over, so first up here are the panels I’m most looking …

Tue, Mar 5, 2013, 18:25


SXSW Music kicks off next week, and I’ll be there in Austin soaking up the tunes, talks and tacos.

I’m going to do a few preview posts before heading over, so first up here are the panels I’m most looking forward to taking notes and stroking my chin at. By ‘best music panels’, I mean the ones that appeal to me the most, so I won’t be attending panels about how to break your band in the UK or how to avoid band disputes, or a conversation with Clive Davis (even though that’s interesting), or music in gaming, or women in metal, music licensing or jingles or The Beatles or the countless other interesting panels that are happening over the week. This list is more about the ones that are interesting from a journalism / future-of-the-music-industry / personal taste perspective.

Photo by: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Dave Grohl’s Keynote Speech
Thursday, Convention Centre, Ballroom D, 11am – 12pm
Who would have thought that the drummer from Nirvana would have turned into the multi-faceted rockopoly that Dave Grohl has become. Probably not even him. From making documentaries, selling millions of records with Foo Fighters, headlining festivals all over the world, being a talk show host and general all-round nice dude, Grohl has seen the industry change dramatically from his drum stool, and he’s managed to develop an exceedingly impressive portfolio career within it, while retaining his rawk credibility. Grohl will deliver the keynote address at SXSW13.

The Explosion of EDM in America
Thursday, Convention Centre, Room 12AB, 12.30pm – 1.30pm
The drop keeps coming and everyone wants a piece of the EDM pie Stateside. Probably a good time to pop into a chat about electronic music in the States as the genre is at its peak. Speakers include Jeff Pollack (industry trend spotter, founder of the Big Bang Conference, a producer on Live 8, movie music supervisor), Richard Bishop (managed Paul Oakenfold, Paul Van Dyk etc in the US, exec-produced the EDM doc Re-Generation), Ken Jordan (The Crystal Method) and more. There are a fair few EDM panels, but this one appeals to me more as an overview type discussion.

Young Guru v Just Blaze
Saturday, Convention Centre, Room 12AB, 3.30pm – 4.30pm

Guru and Blaze discuss their work with Jay-Z, on Roc-A-Fella albums and how their competition pushes them forward.

Constructive Disruption for the Music Biz
Tuesday, Convention Centre, Room 12AB, 11am – 12pm

Jim Carroll, Finian Murphy, McKee Floyd (Glassnote Records) and Brooke Parrott (Songkick) talk about how outside influences can creatively disrupt and offer new ideas for the music industry.

A Conversation with Nick Cave
Tuesday, Convention Centre, Room 18ABCD, 11am – 12pm
Larry Ratso Sloman (he wrote Reefer Madness amongst other things) will chat to Cave about his music, songwriting, screenplays, books and film scores. I’m not the biggest Cave fan in the world, but Sloman is an amazing music writer – he worked with Anthony Kiedis on Scar Tissue, one of the best rock memoirs in recent history – so I’d really be interested to see how this conversation goes down.

Forbes 30 under 30: Meet Spotify’s Daniel Elk
Tuesday, Long Center, 3.30pm – 4.30pm
The CEO and co-founder of Spotify chats to Steven Bertoni (associate editor, Forbes) about Spotify, its future, and how people listen to songs.

Girls and Tech: Why Young Women Rule in Music
Wednesday, Convention Centre, Room 17A, 2pm – 3pm
An exploration of how relationships between young women, bands, brands and technology develop. The description looks really interesting: “Women and the teen girls they were know the power of their affections when it comes to entertainment, the internet, and the attention economy — and yet they’re primarily focused on making new friends and telling each other stories. Explore the why and how fandoms develop over bands and brands and how that can work for and against platforms, products, and people.” Speakers include Rae Votta (MTV), Danielle Strle (Tumblr), Lindsay Gabler (GRAMMYs) and more.

The Anatomy of Amanda Fucking Palmer: An Inside Look
Wednesday, Convention Centre, Room 16AB, 12.30pm – 1.30pm
Amanda Palmer and her homies look inwards to figure out how the bird from Dresden Dolls became an indie monster. Apart from Palmer, the panel includes Nicole St Jean (Topspin), Martin Goldschmidt (Cooking Vinyl), Kevin Wortis and Vickie Starr of Girlie Action Media & Marketing and Kendel Ratley (Kickstarter).

Deadmau5 & Richie Hawtin: Talk. Techno. Technology.
Tuesday, Convention Centre, Room 12AB, 5pm-6pm
EDM’s biggest mouse-mouth and Hawtin talk about their careers, the industry, and the impact of technology and social media on what they do.

Raise Your Fists: Music Meets Activism
Friday, Convention Centre, Room 15, 3.30pm-4.30pm
Expect Pussy Riot to get a shout out in this discussion about how (and if) musicians, activists and fans can work together to effect change. Amongst others, Mike Mills (REM) and Mikel Jollet (Airborne Toxic Event) are on the panel.

Stevie Nicks Interview
Thursday, Convention Centre, Room 18ABC, 5pm-6pm
Fleetwood Mac ledgebag is interviewed by Ann Powers (NPR).

Brands Are Music Fans Too
Friday, Convention Centre, Room 15, 12.30pm-1.30pm
Since the taboo of bands working with brands is utterly dead, this panel seeks to branch into fandom, the positives of what bands can get from drinking the Kool Aid, Mountain Dew or Pepsi. Matt Bennett (Clash Music Group), Doug Palladini (Vans) and the founder of Resident Advisor Nick Sabine amongst others will converse.