South By Southwest Has a New Investor

With 50% ownership in SXSW LLC, P-MRC provides “lifeline”

The scene at the Convention Center, SXSW 2019 (photo by Aaron Rogosin)

South by Southwest has partnered with P-MRC, a media venture that handles publishing operations for brands like Rolling Stone, Billboard, Variety, Vibe, and the Hollywood Reporter.

The partnership functions as a vital financial lifeline for the currently cash-strapped Austin organization, which has not held an in-person event since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. SXSW co-founder and Managing Director Roland Swenson informed his staff of the deal on Sunday night and noted that, in it, SXSW retains control and management of the company.

P-MRC, minted in 2020, is a joint venture between the Beverly Hills-based MRC Media & Info and Penske Media, which is headquartered in New York City and Los Angeles.

“It’s been an incredibly tough period for small businesses, SXSW included,” Swenson said in an emailed statement. “When Jay Penske came to us with interest in becoming a partner, it was a true lifeline for us.

“While SXSW’s core business will retain its focus on the March event in Austin, this strategic investment also brings the exploration of new capabilities in providing quality programming to our diverse community of highly engaged creative professionals,” the statement continued.

P-MRC is now a 50% owner of SXSW, LLC. The Chronicle’s publisher, Nick Barbaro, is also a founding partner of SXSW.

The expanded business relationship is expected to give SXSW an opportunity to grow its digital audience.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

SXSW Film Review: <i>When Claude Got Shot</i>
SXSW Film Review: When Claude Got Shot
Documentary goes beyond the headlines of Black-on-Black crime

Shane Pfender, April 7, 2021

SXSW Film Review: <i>Disintegration Loops</i>
SXSW Film Review: Disintegration Loops
How a simple ambient experiment became a timeless tribute to 9/11

Richard Whittaker, April 7, 2021

More by Kevin Curtin
The Austin Chronic: On Joint Rolling, Wonderment, and Turning 40
The Austin Chronic: On Joint Rolling, Wonderment, and Turning 40
Am I Feeling Anything Yet?

July 12, 2024

Caleb de Casper, Money Chicha, and More Crucial Concerts for the Week
Caleb de Casper, Money Chicha, and More Crucial Concerts for the Week
Classical, hip-hop, jazz, blues, and much more

July 5, 2024


SXSW 2021, Roland Swenson, P-MRC

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle