SXSW adds YouTube/Google exec Lyor Cohen as music keynote

Kim Deal of the Pixies and Breeders has been added as a featured speaker at SXSW 2018. Deborah Cannon/AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2010

Music industry executive Lyor Cohen, a longtime Warner Music executive who’s now Global Head of Music at YouTube and Google, will be a music keynote speaker at South by Southwest in 2018, the conference announced Tuesday morning.

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Cohen is the first music keynote to be confirmed for the event, which runs March 9-18. He’ll speak on Wednesday, March 14. Other keynotes announced so far include Darren Aronofsky and Barry Jenkins​ (film), Esther Perel ​(interactive), and Ta-Nehisi Coates, Sadiq Khan and whurley (convergence).

Cohen oversees domestic and international music partnerships, along with artist and label relations, for YouTube and Google. A founder of the music content firm 300, Cohen previously was chairman and CEO of recorded music for Warner Music Group, where he helped oversee the rise of acts such as the Killers, Jay-Z, Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars and the Black Keys.

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Tuesday’s announcement also included the addition of around a dozen featured speakers in music, entertiainment, marketing and other tracks. The “Music Culture & Stories” track added Pixies/Breeders mainstay Kim Deal and noted Chicago producer/engineer Steve Albini. And Austin rising star Shakey Graves will take part in a music industry panel about building career longevity with Bodie Johnson, Janelle Browning and Keith Levy.

They join country star Keith Urban, previously confirmed as a 2018 featured speaker for the “Music Culture and Stories” track.

SXSW Conference programming is organized into 24 Tracks divided between Interactive, Film, Music, and Convergence, presented in a variety of session formats. Attendees get primary access to programming associated with their badge type, with secondary entry to most other SXSW events. Registration is via the SXSW website; the next registration deadline is January 12, with a price increase after that date.