Skip to Main Content
YouTube employee David Krinsky at SXSW 2024 work diaries

Work Diaries: Conquering SXSW with David Krinsky

We’re peeling back the curtains with our series, Work Diaries, where you can experience the inner workings of YouTube. How do decisions get made? What goes into a product, feature, policy or event? We’re asking YouTube employees to give us the low-down.

Since 2018, David Krinsky has been YouTube’s Head of Independent Label Relations, helping the independent music community to realize success through effective content strategies that leverage YouTube’s many artist tools for fan generation and engagement. This involves a mix of education, evangelization, and collaboration, which helps YouTube develop features with the independent community’s needs in mind. He also spearheads YouTube Music’s Pride initiatives.

Here, Krinsky recaps a week on the ground in Austin, TX at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Music Festival, which combines panels discussing different aspects of the music community, industry member meet-ups, showcases from breaking artist talent, and so much more!

YouTube employee's badge at SXSW 2024


I’m based in Los Angeles, but even before leaving town for Austin, I’ve run into other music industry colleagues at the airport who are also heading to SXSW. Today is mostly travel and logistics like picking up my speaker badge from the Austin Convention Center, but I have a few evening meet-ups with some of my longtime pals who have moved on to startups and other companies. It’s a good way to keep up with what’s next at the intersections of music and technology. Nothing too late though, since there’s a long week ahead.

A panel at SXSW 2024

YouTube Music’s Director of LATAM, Sandra Jimenez


The conference is already in full swing, so I’m off to some of the official panels. As much as I’m here to share my YouTube knowledge with partners, I like learning things as well!

First up is “African Music's Mainstream Impact on Culture & Community.” I’ve had the pleasure of working with globally breaking Afrobeat stars like Asake and Fireboy DML, through our partnership with Empire, but this is just the start of a larger wave of global African music. The panel features my longtime colleague Melanie McClain, Tunecore’s Liz Agyeman and others in a spirited discussion of why Afrobeat is now resonating on a larger scale.

Next up, the global music conversation turns towards Latin America for “Latin Music Momentum in the Age of Glocalization”, which features YouTube Music’s Director of LATAM, Sandra Jimenez. As Latin music is a movement bigger than a genre, the conversation covers everything from Anitta breaking into the American market to Daddy Yankee finding an audience in Asia - all things we’ve seen first-hand on YouTube.

YouTube employee David Krinsky at SXSW 2024

The YouTube Music crew

In the afternoon, it’s my turn to share some insight, as I’m doing a stint as a SXSW Mentor. Mentor slots include quick one-on-one sessions with college students, managers and others to discuss everything from advice on the music industry to content strategy for Ukrainian music on YouTube.

SXSW has brought a small but mighty YouTube Music crew from multiple cities and territories together, so in the evening, we take the opportunity to have a rare meal together. This is an amazing group of people and I’m very proud to work alongside them.

Concert photo of Alexandra Kay performance at SXSW 2024

Peso Pluma at ACL Live at the Moody Theater


Wednesday brings yet another focus, as our Independent Label Relations team (myself and the stupendous Scott Pollack and Ashraf El Gamal) jump into a series of meetings with key independent labels and distributors to discuss our business together - what’s going well, what’s happening next and how can we continue to grow performance together.

The evening leads us to dinner with The Orchard, whose breakthrough artist Peso Pluma became YouTube’s #1 US artist in 2023 - and who is playing SXSW tonight, so we all head over to his show together. The Austin City Limits Theater is packed to capacity - with a line still outside - and the crowd is going wild for both his solo tracks and recent collaborations. The show also features Young Miko, a Puerto Rican rapper and recent Billboard Women in Music honoree, who we partnered with in YouTube Music’s 2023 Pride campaigns, so I’m excited to see her live.

I also sprint to catch country artist Alexandra Kay (who self-releases via Tunecore) perform at another venue up Congress Avenue. It’s a more intimate acoustic set and the crowd embraces Alexandra’s heart-on-her-sleeve personality, which is familiar to her over 360,000 YouTube subscribers. It’s probably the last time I’ll get to see her in a smaller room because the next time I’ll see her play will be at Crypto Arena as part of her nationwide tour opening for Jelly Roll.

YouTube's SXSW 2024 panel

My panel in action


On Thursday, my main focus is the official SXSW panel I’m hosting - “Please Help, My Artist is Lost in a Sea of Content!” I get so many questions from partners about successful multi-format content strategy, from what kind of content they should create to landing impact moments with that content, that a panel became a perfect way to publicly answer those questions. But instead of just me talking for an hour, I have the pleasure of being joined by Beggars Group’s Brandon Becker, Tunecore’s Amy Lombardi, and Alexandra Kay, to share a wide range of ways they’ve created success on YouTube.

Content cohesion is key to creating mindshare, so whether it’s Alexandra’s integration of music into her Shorts, Mitski’s bespoke font across all album-related content, or Queens of the Stone Age and their modern take on a Roman Empire theme across Shorts, videos, and album art, having such concrete examples to discuss helps the audience understand their own paths to multi-format concepts that are authentic to them. (For these examples, and more, you can check out

A huge thank you to my panelists for their time and for sharing their learnings with the SXSW audience!

Concert photo of Angelica Garcia at SXSW 2024

Alice Longyu Gao performing


On Friday, I combined partner meetings with more live music!

I got to enjoy several acts from the UK, from Dry Cleaning’s blend of simmering guitars and deliciously cool vocals to Fat Dog’s twisted but danceable electronic-rock hybrid that led to a full dance party at a South Congress taco garden.

But it’s not all British - Alice Longyu Gao gives us everything from a harp to hyperpop, plus endlessly quotable between-song banter, like “another day…another slay.” We also partnered with her on our 2023 Pride campaigns, so it’s great to see a whole room of people bouncing up and down to her music. Faye Webster plays songs from her just-released album “Undressed at the Symphony”, casting a spell over the large crowd. And Angélica Garcia swirls around the stage as she unfurls her vocals against a powerful and percussive but moody electronic backdrop.

These shows are scattered across Austin, so today involved a ton of walking, some taxis, and a pedicab that criss-crossed multiple traffic lanes so fast I didn’t have time to get scared - but it did get me to my next show on time.

Lest anyone thought there hadn’t been enough of me talking today, I have the honor of being interviewed for Australia’s The Music Network podcast, where we covered the successful multi-format examples from my panel and others I’ve also worked with (like JVKE and Laufey, who have exploded on YouTube). Look for that to post soon.


Today I finally head home, but not before one last batch of performances! I head to East Austin’s famed Hotel Vegas for some heavy guitar-driven “speed dating” at the Fiesta Destructo day party, as I bounce around their three stages of simultaneous performances. A virtual tour around the world, I finally get to see Colombia’s psychedelic-tinged BALTHVS, the sludgy-but-melodic HotWax from the UK, and Canada’s heavy and brooding Hot Garbage.

It’s time to head to the airport, with what’s left of my speaking voice, very tired feet, and a slight ringing in my ears. The forecasted thunderstorms have held off, so we’re good to fly. I’m not sure I’ve ever talked to so many people in one week, but it’s all been terrific. Until next time, Austin!