Music

SXSW Drops U.S. Army & Weapons Manufacturer Sponsorships Following Boycotts

SXSW will no longer engage in partnerships with the U.S. Army or weapons manufacturers, the event announced Wednesday (June 26).

“After careful consideration, we are revising our sponsorship model,” reads a statement posted to the SXSW website. “As a result, the U.S. Army, and companies who engage in weapons manufacturing, will not be sponsors of SXSW 2025.”

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The development comes after more than 80 artists and panelists pulled out of the annual music and tech event in Austin, Texas this past March due to sponsorships by the U.S. Army and the North Carolina-based weapons manufacturer Collins Aerospace.

The boycotting artists included Irish band Kneecap, who wrote on X that pulling out of the event was “done in solidarity with the people of Palestine and to highlight the unacceptable deep links the festival has to weapons companies and the U.S. military who at this very moment are enabling a genocide and famine against a trapped population.”

Today’s news is an about-face for SXSW, which initially defended the sponsorships, releasing a statement during the March event that said organizers “fully respect the decision these artists made to exercise their right to free speech. The defense industry has historically been a proving ground for many of the systems we rely on today. These institutions are often leaders in emerging technologies, and we believe it’s better to understand how their approach will impact our lives. The Army’s sponsorship is part of our commitment to bring forward ideas that shape our world. In regard to Collins Aerospace, they participated this year as a sponsor of two SXSW Pitch categories, giving entrepreneurs visibility and funding for potentially game-changing work.”

Billboard’s parent company PMC is the largest shareholder of SXSW and its brands are official media partners of SXSW.

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