Announcing Keynote Lyor Cohen and Featured Speakers Common, Lena Waithe, Peter Diamandis and More for SXSW 2018

2018 Keynote, Lyor Cohen – Photo by Noa Griffel

SXSW is pleased to announce Lyor Cohen, Global Head of Music at YouTube and Google, as the latest Music Keynote for SXSW 2018. Additionally, a new group of Featured Speakers comprised of industry trailblazers, dynamic storytellers, and creative visionaries joins the SXSW programming lineup.

“Over his 30 year career, Lyor Cohen has been behind the most prolific musical acts and at the helm of the biggest labels. His creativity and passion to keep the music industry innovative continue to flourish with his leadership at YouTube,” said Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer. “Cohen and the speakers announced today continue to define SXSW as the foremost destination for creative people.”

Featured Speakers include Giphy CEO Alex Chung; actor and musician Common; journalist and author Katie Couric, songwriter and musician Kim Deal; XPRIZE Foundation founder and Executive Chairman Peter Diamandis; Uber Chief Brand Officer Bozoma Saint John; the cast of NBC drama This Is Us; actress, producer and Emmy Award-winning writer Lena Waithe; and others.

Building on an impressive 2018 Conference lineup, these speakers represent many of the developing trends expected to come out of SXSW 2018. Cohen’s presence also reflects one of our 12 top trends for SXSW 2018 – that new media companies are breaking into entertainment in a big way.

With even more reasons to attend SXSW 2018, buy your badge by Friday, January 12 and save. Dive into our speaker lineup below and get ready to explore what’s next in the worlds of film, culture, music, and technology during the 2018 SXSW Conference & Festivals from March 9-18 in Austin, TX. Stay tuned for more programming announcements throughout the season.

Keynote Speaker

Lyor Cohen (Music Keynote) – Lyor Cohen is an American music industry executive, currently serving as Global Head of Music at YouTube and Google where he oversees domestic and international music partnerships as well as artist and label relations. He is also founder of 300, a music content company that leverages innovative tech to discover, cultivate and promote rising artists with a boutique focus. Prior to 300, Cohen was the Chairman and CEO of Recorded Music for Warner Music Group. Cohen was intimately involved in the careers of The Killers, fun., Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, The Black Keys, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and many more.

Cohen joins previously-announced SXSW Keynotes Darren Aronofsky, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Barry Jenkins​, Sadiq Khan, Esther Perel, and whurley. His Keynote will take place on Wednesday, March 14 during the second half of SXSWeek.

2018 Keynotes

Featured Speakers

Alex Chung (Brands & Marketing) – Alex Chung is the founder and CEO of GIPHY, the people who bring you all the GIFs. Before founding Giphy, he was a Hacker in Residence at Betaworks and directed media technology for companies such as MTV, Viacom, and Comcast, managed research for Paul Allen’s R&D lab, and started his career as a hardware engineer at Intel.

The Chi Featured Session (Entertainment Influencers) – Showtime’s The Chi is a relevant, timely, and distinctive coming-of-age story that follows six interrelated characters linked by coincidence but bonded by the need for connection and redemption that takes place in Chicago’s South Side. Join executive producer Common; creator, writer, and executive producer Lena Waithe; and actors Jacob Latimore and Jason Mitchell for a conversation about the upcoming drama.

Katie Couric (News & Journalism) – Katie Couric is an award-winning journalist, cancer advocate, and New York Times best-selling author. Couric’s documentaries include: Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric, for National Geographic; Under the Gun, which aired on EPIX; and Fed Up, available on Netflix. Following the success of Gender Revolution, Couric is partnering with National Geographic on a six part documentary series airing in Spring 2018 that takes a deep dive into the revolutionary changes and major social issues of our time. She hosts an eponymous podcast on the Stitcher network with Brian Goldsmith, featuring conversations with boldfaced names in politics, media, and popular culture.

Kim Deal and Steve Albini (Music Culture & Stories) – Kim Deal is a songwriter and musician, known for her work as the bassist of the alternative rock band The Pixies and the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for The Breeders. Breaking out with 1990’s Pod and 1993’s Platinum-selling Last Splash, The Breeders defined the American rock underground and helped pave the way for grunge and alternative to explode into the mainstream. Renowned studio engineer Steve Albini has recorded legendary rock albums from The Breeders, Nirvana, PJ Harvey, The Jesus Lizard, The Stooges, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and hundreds more. Albini owns and runs his analog studio, Electrical Audio, in Chicago and performs with his band, noise-rock icons Shellac, now in their 25th year.

Peter Diamandis (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Dr. Peter H. Diamandis is an international pioneer in the fields of innovation, incentive competitions, and commercial space. In 2014, he was named one of “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” by Fortune Magazine. In the field of innovation, Diamandis is Founder and Executive Chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation, best known for its $10 million Ansari XPRIZE for private space flight. Diamandis is also the co-founder and Vice-Chairman of Human Longevity Inc. (HLI), a genomics and cell therapy-based diagnostic and therapeutic company focused on extending the healthy human lifespan.

Bozoma Saint John (Brands & Marketing) – Bozoma “Boz” Saint John is the Chief Brand Officer for Uber. Over the course of her career, Boz has earned a formidable reputation as a trailblazing marketing and advertising executive. Most recently, Boz was the Head of Global Consumer Marketing for Apple Music and iTunes. In the role, she spearheaded campaigns geared towards growing consumer brand recognition, loyalty, and equity around the world.

Shakey Graves with Bodie Johnson, Janelle Browning and Keith Levy (Music Industry) – In this session, musician Shakey Graves (Alejandro Rose-Garcia) and his team will share insights into their personal journey within the music industry and the steps made to build career longevity. Hear directly from an artist and the team that provides support: managers, tour managers, agents, label reps, publicists, and all the components that create success.

This Is Us Featured Session (Entertainment Influencers) – Everyone has a family. And every family has a story. This Is Us chronicles the Pearson family across the decades: from Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) as young parents in the 1980s to their 37-year-old kids Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz), and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) searching for love and fulfillment in the present day. Join cast Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, and Justin Hartley for an inside look at the Emmy Award-winning drama.

2018 Featured Speakers

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2018 Keynote, Lyor Cohen – Photo by Noa Griffel

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