Brand manager: Sonicbids CEO Panos Panay
Brand plans: As SXSW’s exclusive band-application platform since 2007, Sonicbids will extend its presence throughout Interactive and Music this year. The official SXSW party will be held March 15 at Maggie Mae’s with San Cisco, Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown and Wild Cub on the bill. Additionally, Sonicbids’ Panay will be a judge at SXSW’s Music Accelerator startup competition on March 13.
Official SXSW event? Yes.
How it will stand out: Sonicbids is enhancing its profile at SXSW to promote its recent acquisition by Backstage (Billboard’s sister company) and the companies’ joint effort to be positioned as the “LinkedIn” for performing artists. Additionally, the company has been hosting new programs for brands like Marley Beverage, Anheuser-Busch and Renaissance Hotels in the weeks leading up to SXSW.

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Brand manager: Converse chief marketing officer Geoff Cottrill
Brand plans: In addition to its presenting sponsorship of the Fader Fort, Converse will host a special Austin edition of its Rubber Tracks studio. Up to 11 Texas-based musicians of all ages and genres will be invited to reserve time at the studio March 4-15 to record original music alongside veteran engineers. The studio will also host exclusive performances by additional artists as well as band interviews, all to be exclusively streamed on Converse social media channels.
Official SXSW event? No.
How it will stand out: It will co-host the fourth annual Converse x Thrasher Magazine Death Match at the Scoot Inn March 13-17, featuring performances by the Black Angels, the Adolescents, King Tuff, Mac Demarco and Trash Talk as well as past Converse Rubber Tracks recording artists Low Fat Getting High, All Eyes West, Heliotropes, Grey Sky Appeal, Fresh Daily and Flatbush Zombies.

Brand manager: Chevrolet director of advertising and sales promotion Molly Peck
Brand plans: A lead sponsor of SXSW Interactive and Music once again, Chevrolet will have a strong presence throughout the week, taking its new tag line “Find New Roads” to the festival for the first time. Part of its plans include teaming with mtvU’s Woodie Awards on behalf of Chevy Sonic for the College Artist Woodie Award, which will spotlight four emerging campus musicians through promotions that have appeared on MTV, mtvU and
Official SXSW event? Yes.
How it will stand out: Chevy will be one of the most integrated sponsors at SXSW, from its fleet of vehicles that will double as taxis for attendees to a series of pop-up events in addition to the Woodies. “South by Southwest is a great partner that reaches an audience that is interesting, youthful, forward-thinking and open-minded, and really embodies ‘finding new roads,’” Peck says. “And the Woodies is another great piece to leverage while we’re at the festival with finding new artists and new roads. The sense of discovery it brings will help the way we go to market.”

Brand manager: Pandora chief marketing officer Simon Fleming-Wood
Brand plans: Pandora is returning to Antone’s for its second Discovery Den, where it will deliver free concerts both in-person and through live audio streams. The four-day activation will be supported by partnerships with NBC’s “The Voice,” Qualcomm Snapdragon and Norton by Symantec.
Official SXSW event? No.
How it will stand out: Pandora will feature one of the most eclectic, exciting lineups of the week. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Josh Ritter, Chali 2na (from Jurassic 5) and Allen Stone are confirmed.