Tips For Musicians: How To Apply For SXSW

Written by James Minor | Wednesday, Jul 9, 2014
Krampfhaft at SXSW 2014

One of the questions I’m most frequently asked is whether I have any advice for artists who are planning to apply for SXSW.

Let’s start from the beginning. The application process is actually pretty simple. If you are an artist interested in performing at SXSW 2015, you must complete an online application through Sonicbids. Once you’ve completed your application, it’s sent to us along with a link to your Sonicbids EPK (Electronic Press Kit) for review.

There are a few easy ways to increase your chances of being invited to SXSW. Consider the following to put your best foot forward.

Apply early.

Do yourself a favor and get your application in early. You’ll not only save yourself a few dollars by applying during the early registration rate, you’re also likely to submit a better application if you’re not applying last minute and racing to beat a deadline.

Complete your Sonicbids EPK.

As previously mentioned, we learn about you and your music from the information in your Sonicbids EPK. Providing a complete EPK for us to review is the best way to show us what you’ve achieved.

Leaving your “Calendar” section blank or unfinished, for instance, leaves the impression that you have never left your hometown or toured, and that you’re not actively performing. Skipping over the “Press” section and not including any links to reviews sends the message that no one has written about you. Take your time completing your application and EPK, so that we can view the full scope of your career.

If you already have an existing Sonicbids EPK, make sure it’s up to date. If not, it could appear as if you’ve been inactive since the last time it was updated.

Focus / quality over quantity.

Finding the balance between too much and too little can be difficult. Tailor your EPK to focus on your strong points by including your best audio, video and photos.

Presenting the listener with 3-5 of your best songs leaves a better impression than uploading 10 and hoping that they find something they’ll like. The same train of thought should be applied to photos; a few of your best shots will do the trick.


Having a good bio is extremely important. Include what will set you apart from other acts and what is likely to make people take notice. Keep your bio short and concise, or you risk losing your reader.

Submit your application between July 8 and September 12, 2014 and pay only $33. The fee for applications submitted after September 12, 2014 is $45. All applications must be submitted no later than the final deadline of October 10, 2014. You can find more information on applying to showcase at SXSW 2015, here.

Krampfhaft photo by Jose Cavazos