What We're Looking For in Your Showcasing Artist Application

By Hailey Hess

08/12/2021

Music


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It’s time to show us what you’ve been working on at home and hop on a stage to show the world in March. This season’s South by Southwest Music Festival will be a glorious reunion for musicians and fans to celebrate what Austin does best: live music.

Whether this is your first rodeo or you’ve been on the scene, our festival is for you. We invite artists from all over the world to perform in front of industry professionals and hungry fans, connect with fellow musicians, celebrate the power of music, and discover new paths for their careers.

We could go on and on about the fun to come this spring but first: applications. This year’s early deadline to apply is August 26 and final deadline is now October 14. We know gathering your things and hitting send can feel like a shot in the dark but we are here to help. We asked the people who will be going through thousands of applications like yours what they are looking for. Here’s what they said.

Let Us Know Where Your Music Has Been Featured

One of the most important parts of your application is showing us where your music has been featured including playlists, blogs, magazines, TV, movies, video games, and beyond. In our world, user-curated playlists are just as important as an editorial feature – so don’t forget to include those links! We also recognize that you may not have played many live shows during the past 18 months so be sure to add any virtual shows you played or any creative ways you promoted new music during the pandemic.

Don’t Be Discouraged

Artists aren’t always accepted the first time they apply to SXSW. Part of our grading process involves determining whether a band’s career is at the right stage to showcase in front of an international audience of music industry professionals and fans. So, as your career develops and your story continues to build, we encourage bands to apply again to tell us about your progress and why you’re ready to showcase this year at SXSW.

Don’t Wait

Have you been waiting for one last bit of news that you think could really make a difference? A feature, review, or maybe confirmation that you’ve landed the opening slot on a tour? We understand why that would seem like a good idea, but it’s honestly best to turn your application in as soon as possible. By submitting sooner, you’ll save a few dollars (the application fee goes up after August 26) and won’t end up rushing last minute to get your application in. Keep in mind that you can always follow up with us about any new developments you’d like to have added to your application.

Be Thorough

It’s just as easy to overthink your application as it is to rush and leave out important information. What we’re looking for is information that will help us formulate a decision. The best way to do this is by submitting an application that’s as complete as possible. Assume that the person reviewing your application has never heard of you, and include everything that they need to know about you and your music. It’s better to include what you might perceive as being too much information than too little.

Be a part of the 2022 SXSW Music Festival from March 14-20 in Austin, TX. Get your applications in by the final deadline extension of October 14 at 11:59pm PT to save. Browse the Music Showcases FAQ for more details.

Apply Now

Get Inspired by SXSW Music Festival Alumni

Listen to our Apple Music and Spotify Playlists, and surf our YouTube Music Video playlist while you get your application together.

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