After the pitching session of Eurosonic Noorderslag: The European MusicPlatform, our TAMK team as planned divided up to attend different panels. Here are some accounts of our team of students and the talks they attended over the course of the conference.
I participated in the “Collaborations in Europe” panel. The participants were Fabien Miclet from Liveurope (Brussels), Zsuzsanna Bende from Random Trip (Budapest), Tom Vangheluwe from Dibrocco (Kotrijk) and Marjan Dewulf from Tourope (Diksmuide). All the participants told in a nutshell what their organizations are doing. All of the organizations aim to create better circulation of European acts in Europe.
Liveurope is a live music platform which aims to gather concert venues and give them support, as well as opportunities for European artists. Random Trip is a weekly jam club in Hungary that gives a chance for musicians to come together and get to know each other by experimenting with music. Tourope on the other hand is concentrated in creating good co-operation between concert venues around Europe and calling the whole industry to action. Dibrocco is an online platform for live show videos. It also aims to give education for upcoming bands and eventually create a virtual music festival.
The downside to these projects was that none of them work in Finland. Only Liveurope worked in northern Europe at all. They were also the only ones who said to even be interested in co-operation with the Nordic countries when I asked about it. I guess Europe still doesn't always reach here, which is a real shame.
The panel that I attend was entitled “360º VIRTUAL REALITY MUSIC VIDEO/ STREAMWATCHR / KOLLEKT.FM". The panel consisted of Stephen O'Reilly (Shuffler.FM, GB), Chief marketing officer at curated internet radio service Shuffler.FM., and Ralph Simon (Mobilium, GB) CEO at Mobilium Global Limited.
This discussion was basically three presentations, which consisted of three new different products in music world. First was 360º music videos presentation about video clips that shot in new way for music industry and could be checked by Oculus Rift or *surround video* app. Next was a presentation about Streamwatchr. Streamwatchr is a service designed to monitor the world's music listening behavior. Data is based on Twitter, MusicBrainz, Youtube and Last.fm. The last presentation discussed Kollekt.fm. This service aims to help music listeners corral music from Facebook, SoundCloud, and YouTube, so they can keep it all in one tidy place.
Ok the conference I will talk about a bit was the panel called "Global A&R - Developing Talent for the Int'l Stage". The panel had Bert Meyer (International manager at Grandmono), Kai Robøle (CEO at Waterfal music) and Sat Bisla (A&R, Mesexpo, GB). They discussed how important A&Rs are to the music world. A&R is the part of music business that has the responsibility of finding the talents. Nowadays one could find any artist in the internet but, like in the old times, nowadays the A&Rs prefer finding new talents in live events or inviting people to their premises in order to hear what they can do.
In the modern days is not just about finding a relevant artist for today but they need to find an artist that is worth at least 5-10 CDs in a period of time of 5 years. A&R is the purest part of the music business, is just about finding the right person at the right time and as they mentioned is 90% luck.
In 2009 when I first started traveling to Finland I would travel via Iceland to the mainland of Europe. Little did I know but it was the beginning of a love affair with Icelandic music. Countless hours logged in the airport translated into countless hours of listening Icelandic music.
Needless, to say I was quite please to read the words, “Iceland Erupts at Eurosonic Noorderslag” when checking the conference schedule. It goes without saying there were several discusses that I made note to attend!
One of which was…
“Iceland Airwaves- Can a Small City Festival Transform an Entire Country?”
The panel consisted of Grímur Atlason (Iceland Airwaves, IS) Festival Manager and Booker of Iceland Airwaves/ Kevin Cole (KEXP, US) Program director-DJ at radio station KEXP in Seattle/ Dagur B. Eggertsson (Reykjavik City, IS) Mayor of Reykjavik City/ Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir (Industry and Commerce, IS) Minister of Industry and Commerce Iceland.
Now for a bit of back history and stats; Iceland Airwaves (I.A) is a music festival that takes place in November. It started in 1999 and has grown to an attendance of 60,000/ 50 venues/ 680 off-venues/ 220 artists. The festival spans five days (Wednesday – Sunday).
Given the fact that “1876 was the first time two or more people played an instrument in the same room, which amounted to a venue of sorts in Iceland and Iceland skipped the Industrial Revolution all together, the above numbers are quite impressive!
As the discussion started the question “What makes Iceland so different in the creative industry?” came up. The central focus of the discussion was Iceland’s unique approach to the creative industry; starting with these concepts.
1. Balance in all things - This concept can be seen in practices of “one must import to export Icelandic music”, the collaboration between Icelandic Airlines, the festival promotors, and government offices.
2. Festivals need a safety net - In this case this aspect is seen in the model of “the festival pays its dues via creating an economic avenue for the city, the country. In turn the government supports the festival in hard times.
3. Be trustworthy - Make something trustworthy and people will come.
4. Just Do! - In short…”Life is a learning process. Think about what you want to say/ do…then say it, do it, be creative”.
5. Draw connections - Draw connections between emerging artists and established artists.
The last concept “draw connections” has found a strong support in the form of Kevin Cole who is the Program director-DJ at radio station KEXP in Seattle. Kevin spotlights not only recognized Icelandic artists on KEXP Live but is also interested in championing new music!
To give you a taste of KEXP Live check out the link below. In this particular live performance KEXP showcases the band Icelandic band Sólstafir, who also played a gig at the Vera during Eurosonic.
Last year I attended the “Music & Media Conference” in Tampere. During one of the discussions one of the director/manager of a major music label and record company announced that they would be developing a Nordic/Scandinavian stronghold of festivals in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland. Noticing that he didn’t mention Iceland I questioned him after the discussion as to whether or not Iceland would be included in this Nordic/Scandinavian infer-structure of festivals/ artists.
His response was, “No…Iceland is too far away and not of importance!”
Given the strong Icelandic presence in the world across different genres of music/ the overwhelming response of fans to Icelandic music, art, the very culture I can’t help but wonder if this director/manager has had a change of heart!