Music Conference PanelPicker Tips

Written by Bobby Nall | June 30, 2014
Lost in Translation session at SXSW 2014

SXSW Music Conference PanelPicker opens on July 1, and closes on July 25. Here are some helpful tips from our staff on creating a successful submission. We can't wait to hear your great ideas for 2015!

What's new in the Music Conference?
Are you the right person to lead a meetup of your music industry peers? Do you bridge a unique gap between two areas of the music world? This year's Music PanelPicker has the option to submit you creative idea for a meetup that you would help lead. Networking is one of the most important things our attendees come to SXSW for, and you can help facilitate that.

Look Forward
SXSW has made its reputation on being at the forefront of our respective industries. Our attendees are thirsty for insight on innovations, trends, well-researched predictions, and thoughtful advice and guidance to further careers. That's not to say history has no place here, and those panels can be great, but we're very selective about them. Show us that you're on the leading edge and share that knowledge with your peers!

Who's Your Audience?
You can't be everything to everyone at SXSW (and shouldn't try to). Knowing and targeting a more focused audience will produce a more engaged and interested crowd at your session (and more votes to make your session happen in the first place). General "state of the industry" or genre overviews may seem like they appeal to the masses, but chances are, those masses are splitting up to go to sessions that speak directly to their personal interests, goals, and positions. Think depth, not width; laser beam, not shotgun.

Your Panel's Title
There's a fine line between intriguing and cutesy. Brevity is the soul of wit, as they say, and that certainly applies here. A clever, punny title might get a chuckle, but a pointed, descriptive one will fill a room. And another note, generally speaking, anything that comes before a colon in a suggested title can be (and often is, by our staff) omitted entirely. For example, "Being the Super Best: Stories of Success in PanelPicker History". Let's can it, shall we?

This Ain't No Sales Pitch
You've got a killer service, product, or band? Awesome! There are plenty of places to showcase those things at SXSW - the Music Festival, Trade Show or Gear Expo to name a few, but a panel is not the place for it. Attendees hate nothing more than hearing a thinly-veiled sales pitch when they want to be informed and inspired. Avoid these situations; they reflect poorly on you and they're usually pretty easy to spot.

Promote!
Once voting goes live on August 4th, let your friends, colleagues, coworkers, pets, everyone know about it, and encourage them to vote for you.

Supplementary Media
Sometimes a short video of previous work, a clean, focused slide deck, or even links to other written material have been the deciding factor in choosing an idea. Use this to your advantage - if you've got relevant media to support your proposal, make sure it's included when you submit.

The Simple Stuff
We've made it fairly easy to submit your ideas, but by missing steps, not following the rules, or using incorrect grammar/spelling, you can seriously diminish your idea's chances of being chosen. Take the time to ensure your proposal is polished. It will be worth your time.

Click here for even more info on the PanelPicker process.

Photo by Riley Carithers