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East Meets West at Finland’s Music and Media Festival [Danish comments and list of companies]

Linus Lassus
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Photo: Anna-Kaisa Kaplas

Music and Media is the biggest music industry event in Finland, and also the oldest in Europe to be held without interruption. MXD paid a visit to meet the Finnish industry and to chat with Taija Holm, managing director of the event. Johannes Dybkjær Anderson from Volume, who visited the festival, also gave his views on it.

The conference takes place in October in Tampere, and is combined with the Lost in Music festival – an event showcasing the freshest Finnish talent as well as international up-and-coming artists and more established homegrown acts. All in all there are over 100 artists playing 14 venues. This year’s edition took place between 15th and 17th October.

The delegates list for the 2015 edition includes more than 700 names, of which about 100 are international guests. The Finnish music industry attracts a lot of professionals from especially Germany and Central Europe and also Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Russia, Belarus and Canada are represented.

According to Taija Holm, managaing director for the conference, many guests are from the live and recording sectors. Especially ticket services have seen significant growth during recent years.

taijaholm

Taija Holm, CEO for Music and Media Festival, at the Industry Awards Gala

Why Music & Media then – what’s the media part?

”Media has always been a part of the festival, quite naturally,” says Taija. ”There are many seminars during the conference dealing with media – radio, print, TV and most importantly online. This year we had a special focus on sync and movies, with many international guests from that sector. The cross-over field between media and music is also growing bigger every year.”

During the 26 years that Music and Media has been around, many Finnish careers have taken off after playing the festival – among the biggest ones are The Rasmus, HIM and Von Hertzen Brothers.

What about international bands – have they been benefitting from playing the festival?

”Absolutely! The best example is probably the Estonian band Ewert and the Two Dragons. Their career really took off after playing here – they found what they came for.”

On the last day of the festival, the official Finnish music industry awards gala is held. According to Taija deals have been struck across the tables at that event too.

So, is it inevitable to play Music and Media if you want to enter the Finnish music market?

”Not necessarily, it all depends on the strategy of the artist. We’d love to see more Nordic acts and companies visiting – it’s a great way of getting to know the Finnish industry and the important players in the market. The most attractive factor is probably the live sector and the opportunities there.”

As with Finland in general, Music and Media is an ”east-meets-west”-hotspot. There were several artists and industry professionals from Russia, Estonia and Belarus visiting the festival this year, so it’s a great arena for seeing new faces and meeting future partners from new markets.

”We had seminars about the Russian market and a meet and greet with Belarusian industry. We also had three Belarusian artists playing. They are all lovely people! The Belarusian bands are huge in their home country, so they’re used to playing large stages. We had to schedule them for one of the smaller venues at the festival so we were worried and asked them to check it out in advance to make sure it was OK. They came back to us and said it was a lovely place to play and that they really were looking forward to a great show.”

At the festival we also met Johannes Dybkjær Anderson from Volume. He had been invited by Music Finland for a panel discussion on sync and commercial partnerships and to present a keynote on Volume’s project with Mew and Microsoft (MEW365 ). He describes his Music and Media experience in the following way:

“The conference was relatively small and the international delegates were relatively few. However, the invited delegates were very relevant to each other and the framework for networking was really good. Also, the hosts were really good at seeing opportunities, introducing us to each other and guiding us to the best experience – socially and business-wise.

I got to hear quite a lot of new Finnish music and the standard was really high. A bit to my surprise, I thought all the shows I saw were really good. I was on a panel together with some international music supervisors, and the Finnish publishers pitched their songs to us. The quality ranged from a bit square to international hit potential.

I got the impression that the industry infrastructure as well as the international perspective on the music business is on a high level in Finland anno 2015. I came home with new learnings and good contacts, both from Finland and abroad.”

A selection of companies and players represented at Music and Media 2015:

Finland:

Fullsteam Agency
Flow Festival
Fried Live
GAEA Booking
Basso Media
YleX Radio
Playground Music
Pori Jazz Festival
Q-Stock Festival
Blockfest
Ilosaarirock Festival
Live Nation Finland
Nem Agency
Pop Media
ProPromotion
Provinssi Festival
Sakara Records
Solina Records
Soliti Records
Stupido Records and Booking
Tavastia Klubi
The Circus
Tuska Festival
Sony Music
Universal Music
Spinefarm Records
Warner Music
Radio Helsinki

International:

Crunch Industry
Domino Recordings
Dragon Productions
Factory 92
FKP Scorpio
Nuclear Blast
Sparta Booking
Oktober Promotion
Rough Trade Distribution
Sziget Cultural Management
A.S.S. Concerts & Promotion
Arcadia Live
Believe Digital
Blixten & Co.
Cargo Records
Cinesong
Downbeat/Warner Music Germany
Experty.by
Firestarter Music
For Noise Festival