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Who’s Ready For SxSW? – Digital Gabe
Digital Gabe
Cutting Edge Commentary On All Things Media

Who’s Ready For SxSW?

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This weekend SxSW kicked off in Austin.  For the uninitiated, SxSW is a bizarre blend of digital marketing content, live music and even a film festival, all wrapped in a PR-hyped frenzy.  Brands and publishers are there to be sure.  But so is every weirdo influencer you’ve never heard of trying to grab a piece of the social zeitgeist somewhere around the corner of 6th and Trinity.  To help you navigate this year’s SxSW, AdWeek has compiled a summary of what to expect.

  • Blockchain: Believe it or not the riveting field of digital-based ledgers which can be used to verify transactions is on the hot list this year.  From cryptos looking for a secure way to send/receive their currencies, to media vendors looking for a system to validate impression delivery, Blockchain will have a little something for everyone in Austin this year.
  • Cannabis: Two years ago there were a handful of panels on the Cannabis industry at SxSW.  These were sparsely attending because nobody wanted to be seen hanging too long in the stoner lounge.  What a difference a few years can make!  This year there are 60 different content sessions at SxSW devoted to the budding (sorry!) Cannabis business.
  • Politics: Even though we’re over a year away from the 2020 elections, expect to see politicians swarm Austin in an attempt to out-cool one another.  This will be especially true on the Dem side, whose alliance with the tech industry over the issue of net neutrality gives them easier access to the right panels and parties.
  • Music (sort of): A few years ago if you were in any way connected to the music industry you just had to be in Austin.  While it’s true that live music performances remain the backbone of SxSW’s calendar, some of the biggest music streamers including Pandora and Spotify are sitting this year out.  The biggest reason for the pullback is cost – it’s not cheap to sponsor and/or run a concert venue for eight straight days.  So yes, you’ll still overdose on live music this year, but it’ll just be a little less prominent than years past.

That’s a quick summary of what you can expect to see.  No doubt there will be some surprises along the way – I’ll check back later in the week with some of the highs and lows from this year’s SxSW.


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