White Denim performs on the Austin Convention Center Radio Day Stage on March 16 during the SXSW Music Conference. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

The South by Southwest Conference and Festival opened registration today and music attendees might be suffering from a bit of sticker shock. While last year’s early bird music badges started at $650, this year the base price has gone up to $825.  With the price hikes the festival promises “expanded access to more of the SXSW Conference & Festivals.”

Our colleague Omar Gallaga talked to SXSW director Hugh Forrest today and he confirmed that the festival is moving towards greater convergence between the Interactive, Film and Music conferences. “Eventually, we envision one SXSW event, and one badge that allows maximum flexibility for all, with access to even more compelling and diverse programming, and choices that allow attendees to shape their own customized SXSW experience,” Forrest said.

The early bird price for the Platinum badge, that offers access to all three festivals, has dropped from $1345 for the 2016 festival to $1150 for 2017.

Speaking specifically to the price jumps in the music and film conferences (last year’s film badges started at $525 and now are also $825) Forrest said, “As the lines between a growing number of industry segments blur, we’ve come to understand the future of Film and Music lies in collaboration and convergence across a myriad of industries. With expanded access across all of our events, the increase in the badge price is now on par with other industry events.”

Forrest said the festival has mailed discount codes to registrants who paid to attend our Film and/or Music events within the past several years.

The 2017 SXSW Conference and Festival runs from March 10-19, 2017.