Given the growing size of SXSW each year, the amount of events quickly becomes overwhelming. Thankfully, there is often a thread that runs through the festival each year, connecting the different components into a unified and cohesive whole allowing spectators and participants the opportunity to engage with meaningful topics and subsequently create meaningful change in the world following the festival.

Here are the topics slated to take center stage at SXSW in 2018:


A core component of SXSW every year is an effort to bring together people from multiple industries and fields and put them in a space together where they wouldn’t normally overlap. This allows for networking, brainstorming, and discourse that transcends industry and profession and allows for new ideas to take shape. With a focus on the importance of adaptability, the trend of convergence will continue in 2018 with the hopes of diverging from the rigidity and boundaries that tech and industry professionals often find themselves working within allowing for what SXSW describes as “collaboration and revolution.”

Social Justice, Empowerment, Inclusion, and Activism

In 2018, it is no secret that division exists amongst us and the politics of today continuously strive to divide us. However, this has created a trend of people organizing and making their voices heard. This will be a key component to SXSW in 2018 as the spotlight is shone on leading activists across all industries and fields. The goal for the organizers of SXSW is to create a space in which diversity is showcased in an effort to show that inclusion is what helps lay the foundation for creative and innovative societies. SXSW is looking towards the future and this topic will be a key aspect of that.


This year, SXSW will be putting a focus on the combination of technology and health as they offer panels and content that will address how our devices are capable of providing a deeper understanding of our health and our bodies. Panels will address everything from advancements in altering the human genome to the future of drug development to the implications of health data collection for individuals. There will be no shortage of ideas addressed at SXSW, all of which are sure to lead to new ways of thinking both for our collective society as well as our individual selves.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality has been a trend in the tech industry for years. However, in recent years it has advanced rapidly to the state it is in now being readily available within the consumer market. Transcending industries, virtual reality is now a prominent fixture in the fields of music, gaming, film, and even health. SXSW will be addressing this advancement and what the future looks like for virtual reality.

Music Revenue in the Streaming Age

Agents, producers and artists will want to pay close attention to the content SXSW has to offer regarding streaming services and its implications in the music industry. Money is coming back into the industry after a steady decline. However, in order to be back on the side of profits, it will be essential for industry professionals to know how to utilize these new platforms. Given its status as a relatively new fixture within the industry, those who work in the industry are still figuring out how to best work with these services and adapt to the ways in which they create and release products and do business. SXSW will be offering content that will address the rise of and the future of the playlist as a product and what artists need to do in order to be profitable by adapting to these new trends.

New Media Companies

In 2018, versatility is key. It is no longer true that only certain companies can do certain things. With Buzzfeed breaking into the world of motion pictures and Apple dominating the music world it has become an essential fact that companies need to be able to adapt to trends in order to have longevity. These companies are projected to spend billions to ensure they are at the top of the leaderboard. However, SXSW will spend its time looking forward with panels and events that addresses the quickening pace of content creation and the increase in the costs to have content reach audiences. This year, SXSW will act as a guide with insiders providing insight on how companies can survive in these rapidly changing times.
Although these topics and trends can diverge from one another in terms of subject matter there is one thing they all have in common: each topic addresses how we move forward as a society into the future. You can count on the fact that SXSW will, once again, prove itself to be a leader in bringing people together and putting forth ideas that will shape the world we live in for the coming year and beyond.