SXSW PanelPicker: Music Trends for 2017

SXSW Music 2016

We’re getting down to the wire on the 2017 SXSW PanelPicker entry process: The final deadline extension to enter your ideas for the 2017 SXSW Conference is this Sunday, July 24 at 11:59PM CT!

While you’re putting the finishing touches on your idea, we wanted to share a few examples of trends in the music industry we’re looking forward to tackling here in Austin next March. These are not meant to be all-encompassing - there will certainly be a plethora of hot topics to discuss at SXSW 2017. Be sure to read through our tips and success stories from SXSW 2016 as well.

In 2016-2017, we’ll see a continued effort to add transparency to digital transactions and streamline payments to rights-holders through technology: using blockchain, global databases, open-source/automated licensing platforms, and eliminating middlemen. Much of this requires a large-scale effort and terms that large and small players can agree upon. The interests of both sides must be accommodated with by proving increased revenue to all parties and/or though legislation (and that’s a whole other issue).

Artists and management will look to maximize touring, live, and festival income, not just through traditional means, but through remote, digital, and streamed 360-VR live shows. The music industry will be actively seeking highest-adoption platforms for VR/360. We see continued consolidation and acquisitions in the touring and live industries at large.

There is a continued broadening of revenue streams for working artists: monetizing fan engagement (live or through social channels), mutually-beneficial brand partnerships, etc. These have been growing, auxiliary income streams that have become a major piece of a lot of musicians' pies.

We're seeing a big shift of the traditional album cycle, and in fact, the notion of a full-length album itself is being relegated by some, to antiquity. It's a reversal to the pre-1970s music business which focused on singles, and simultaneously we see artists eschewing and escaping the artificial time limit (or expected length) for a release - and many fans don't seem to mind. Singles, EPs, mixtapes, and double-albums are all in play. Whether it's a matter of shorter attention spans, overload of choice, or artists' embrace of the shorter turnaround time for the recording and release process, things are speeding up and artists have a choice in their formats.

The discussion on streaming payments and how they eventually make it to artists and rights holders is going to continue to be a big issue within the music industry in 2017. The importance of transparency in relation to streaming payments will continue to dominate the streaming discussion, as artists and labels see decreases in physical and download sales.

Unfortunately, issues surrounding venue and artist safety have taken a forefront in 2016. Recent events in Orlando, Paris, and elsewhere in the world have led to the need for a discussion surrounding venue safety in regards to both the audience and artists. Club owners and industry stakeholders need to come up with plans to ensure that venues and clubs continue to serve as a safe space. As artist earn a significant amount of their income through touring. Venue safety is critical for the success of the artist's and the touring industry as a whole.

Don’t forget: The 2017 SXSW PanelPicker entry process closes this Friday, July 24 at 11:59PM CT.

Photo by Kara Mosher

By Rory Burbeck