Tag Archives: Music industry

A career as a producer of electronic music?

In cooperation with SUISA and the association “Cultures électroniques”, the Electron Festival, music festival for electronic music in Geneva, is going to organise a discussion panel on Saturday, 04 May 2019. It is the objective of the panel to show composers which means and ways they have available in order to support them for their professional career. Text by Erika Weibel

Electron Festival: A career as a producer of electronic music?

Electron Festival: SUISA panel with networking event on Saturday, 04 May 2019, in Geneva: “A career as a producer of electronic music? A real challenge!” ((Photo: Electron Festival)

The path to success is often strewn with stones for composers and requires a lot of resilience. Numerous successful Swiss producers of electronic music have also had this experience.

In the course of the 2019 Electron Festival, the music festival for electronic music in Geneva, various music producers are going to talk about their careers at a public SUISA panel. During their discussions with those in charge of funding institutions as well as with experts from the music industry, they are going to screen specific support options and jointly analyse the current situation of electronic music in Switzerland. The main objective of the discussion panel is to inform composers on the existing support infrastructure and to follow up on the question whether the existing structures are sufficient.

The audience is cordially invited to contribute its own experiences to the discussion. Once the panel has ended, there is an informal drinks reception offering the audience the opportunity to continue the conversation with those in charge of funding institutions and the artists.

The SUISA panel at the Electron Festival 2019

“A career as a producer of electronic music? A real challenge!”
takes place with a drinks reception afterwards:
on Saturday, 04 May 2019, 4.00pm, at Crea, Rue Eugene Marziano 25, in Geneva

Panellists:
Dominique Berlie, Cultural Counsel, Service culturel (SEC) of the city of Geneva
Marius Käser, Pop music, Pro Helvetia
Albane Schlechten, Director FCMA, Antenne Romande Swiss Music Export
Manuela Jutzi, Co-Managing Director, Helvetia Rockt

Participating music creators:
Deetron
Garance
Ripperton
Opuswerk
Ramin & Reda
Honorée & Kaylee

Presentation: Anne Flament (RTS-Couleur3)

The Electron Festival shall take place between 25 April and 05 May 2019 in Geneva. Further information on the Festival can be accessed here: www.electronfestival.ch

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The beats from others – but your own songsThe beats from others – but your own songs The melody is a catchy tune but the groove just doesn’t match. For days, you haven’t got rhythm while some ingenious lyrics are on the tip of your tongue. There are many reasons why creators use someone else’s raw material for their own songs. The following legal and practical tips on how to deal with bought-out beats help you keep in sync with formalities. Read more
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In cooperation with SUISA and the association “Cultures électroniques”, the Electron Festival, music festival for electronic music in Geneva, is going to organise a discussion panel on Saturday, 04 May 2019. It is the objective of the panel to show composers which means and ways they have available in order to support them for their professional career. Text by Erika Weibel

Electron Festival: A career as a producer of electronic music?

Electron Festival: SUISA panel with networking event on Saturday, 04 May 2019, in Geneva: “A career as a producer of electronic music? A real challenge!” ((Photo: Electron Festival)

The path to success is often strewn with stones for composers and requires a lot of resilience. Numerous successful Swiss producers of electronic music have also had this experience.

In the course of the 2019 Electron Festival, the music festival for electronic music in Geneva,...read more

Minor amendments only to noise legislation

The ordinance on the federal act governing protection against non-ionising radiation and sound hazards (V-NISSG) was sent to the consultation stage in February 2018. The draft regulation provided more stringent requirements for events involving electrically amplified sound, as well as new stipulations for events without amplification. It was announced in early October that the Federal Office of Public Health would not adopt the most stringent restrictions. Text by Sarah Coopman

V-NISSG: Minor amendments only to noise legislation

Much ado about (almost) nothing: following fierce resistance from industry representatives affected by the proposed changes, the Federal Office of Public Health will refrain from major changes to noise protection legislation (including for major concerts such as the one pictured). (Photo: Marcel Grubenmann)

If you want to learn more about the limits and restrictions that currently apply to sound at events, check the Sound Levels and Laser Ordinance (SLO). It first and foremost states that events with a noise level of less than 93 dB(A) are not subject to any legal stipulations. These threshold values are determined using the average noise level during a one-hour period. According to the current SLO, the requirements for event organisers take effect when noise levels reach at least 93 dB(A) per hour for events that use electric amplification.

Current SLO regulations

The sound protection measures required differ according to the average sound level and can be divided into three categories. The first category of events comprises those with an average hourly noise level of between 93 and 96 dB(A). The organiser is required to report an event to the enforcement agency 14 days in advance. The audience must then be informed of possible damage to their hearing through signs at the event itself. Free ear protection must be provided. Finally, the SLO requires the noise level to be monitored with a decibel meter during the event. No special requirements exist for these meters.

The average hourly noise level at an event that uses electric amplification may not exceed 100 dB(A). For events with a noise level of between 96 and 100 dB(A), the same requirements apply as for events in the first category, provided the total duration of the noise does not exceed three hours. Again, event organisers are subject to the following requirements: a duty to notify the authorities of the event, a duty to inform the audience and provide earplugs, and a duty to monitor the noise level throughout the entire event.

No requirements for unamplified noise so far

However, if the duration of noise exceeds three hours stricter rules apply. In this case, the event organiser must record the noise level and create a quiet zone to compensate. The noise level may not exceed 85 dB(A) in this zone.

The maximum noise level, i.e. the loudest level of noise exposure measured at any given point, may not exceed 125 dB(A) at any time. Unamplified sound is not currently subject to any conditions. This means that symphony orchestras, opera singers or Guggenmusik bands are not subject to any of the above limits and the associated requirements. These are the regulations for events with electrically amplified sound according to the currently applicable sound regulations.

Opposition to V-NISSG draft ordinance

The draft of the new ordinance concerning the federal act governing protection against non-ionising radiation and sound hazards, V-NISSG, largely adopted and selectively amended these regulations. The draft ordinance also provided stipulations for events without amplification. And it would have expanded the obligation to record the noise level to all events with an average noise level in excess of 93 dB(A). The federal government also wanted to institute more stringent requirements for the recording devices.

During the consultation, industry representatives vehemently opposed the proposed changes. Following discussions with industry representatives in late September, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has now decided to abandon these changes and will ask the Federal Council to remove the more extensive recording requirements. This means that the status quo remains in terms of the recording requirements, with recording only required at events with an average noise level in excess of 96 dB(A) for more than three hours.

FOPH will refrain largely from tightening

The FOPH will request only that events with unamplified sound of above 93 dB(A) be subject to a duty to inform the audience and provide free ear protection. The previous obligation to notify the authorities will be removed. Minimum requirements will apply to orchestral performances, classical music concerts and similar events, provided the noise level of 93 dB(A) is reached.

The stricter requirements for decibel meters are unlikely to be implemented. Rather, the requirements for the meters and the measuring method should be defined per se based on an industry recommendation.

No major changes to noise control legislation are therefore expected in light of these developments. In particular, the current limits will remain in place. According to the FOPH, these conditions have been accepted by industry representatives and were not questioned during the course of the consultation. However, the extent to which changes may still be incorporated into the new ordinance is not fully clear at the moment. The Federal Council will decide definitively on the implementation and entry into force of the draft ordinance in early 2019.

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If bands and event promoters organise a concert togetherIf bands and event promoters organise a concert together The event organiser of a concert has to pay the copyright licence fee. How does it affect the legal situation, if musicians and organisers jointly run the performance by way of a cooperation? The concert organiser is responsible for paying the copyright licence fee in the case of artist engagement agreements. It occurs that events are organised by the bands themselves or in cooperation with third parties. In such cases, the type of cooperation between the band and the organiser determines who has to pay the copyright licence fee. Read more
“Hands-on” – the new Common Tariff K“Hands-on” – the new Common Tariff K The new Joint Tariff K applies to events which have taken place since 01 January 2017. An overview of the changes to the concert tariff in force and some answers to frequently asked questions which have arisen based on the experience gathered with the new provisions in the first few months. Read more
Copyright law revision: work starts in the parliamentary committeesCopyright law revision: work starts in the parliamentary committees On 22 November 2017, the Federal Council presented its Message on the revision of the Federal Copyright Act (FCA), and referred the copyright bill (FCA-B) to the two houses of Parliament. The bill reflects the compromise reached by the AGUR12 II working group at the beginning of March 2017. Parliament has started working on the bill, and SUISA was invited to present its point of view on 12 April 2018 at a hearing organised by the Science, Education and Culture Committee of the National Council. SUISA also had the opportunity to state its views before the Legal Affairs Committee of the National Council, first in writing and then orally on 18 May 2018. Read more
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The ordinance on the federal act governing protection against non-ionising radiation and sound hazards (V-NISSG) was sent to the consultation stage in February 2018. The draft regulation provided more stringent requirements for events involving electrically amplified sound, as well as new stipulations for events without amplification. It was announced in early October that the Federal Office of Public Health would not adopt the most stringent restrictions. Text by Sarah Coopman

V-NISSG: Minor amendments only to noise legislation

Much ado about (almost) nothing: following fierce resistance from industry representatives affected by the proposed changes, the Federal Office of Public Health will refrain from major changes to noise protection legislation (including for major concerts such as the one pictured). (Photo: Marcel Grubenmann)

If you want to learn more about the limits and restrictions that currently apply to sound at events, check the...read more

Blockchain – an ending or future for collective management organisations?

Dear members, everyone in the music industry is talking about “Blockchain” at the moment. But it’s not easy to find anyone who can explain in simple terms what it’s all about … By Vincent Salvadé, Deputy CEO

Blockchain - an ending or future for collective management organisations?

British singer songwriter Imogen Heap is said to be the pioneer in the practical application of Blockchain technology for music distribution: Since October 2015, her single “Tiny Human” can be purchased and licensed online via the platform Ujomusic. The payment of the parties involved is based on pre-defined distribution rules via crypto currency. (Photo: Screenshot ujomusic.com)

Blockchain is a technology, a database, a register. It enables the secure exchange of information in a network which is based on the contribution of qualified participants (miners) who check the validity of the transaction by means of the processing power of their computers. All transactions are grouped into blocks which are linked with one another and each participant can check whether the validation operation is correct. This is also how Bitcoin works.

You haven’t quite grasped all of the above? Me neither. It appears, however, that this technology which is based on “smart contracts” gets away without intermediaries: The composer could therefore be paid for concert tickets or music streaming directly. There is even word in the street that this could be the end of collective management organisations.

“Collective management of rights is more than just pure technology. It is based on an important value: a joint defence of creative work.”

Same old story: Since online music emerged about 20 years ago, people predicted that the internet would free authors and help them to become independent of intermediaries. Well, collective management organisations are still here and they constitute an indispensable counterweight to internet giants.

Collective management of rights is, after all, more than just pure technology. It is based on an important value: a joint defence of creative work. Authors will always need an organisation which supports them, which negotiates contracts for them (including smart contracts) and campaign for fair transaction conditions (even if they have been certified by the Blockchain).

But hold on a minute: This statement does not allow us to rest on our laurels. It’s the duty of collective management organisations to be interested in the Blockchain, to understand it and to try and use it for the utmost advantage of authors and publishers.

“Collective management organisations hold essential information which ensures that the remuneration is transferred to the right persons.”

SUISA collaborates with its sister societies to achieve this aim – in Switzerland and abroad. This technology could, after all, be instrumental in avoiding conflicts among rights holders with respect to a work or regarding their due remuneration.

Collective management organisations hold essential information which ensures that the remuneration is transferred to the right persons, and they also possess powerful IT instruments. So how would it be possible that they’re skipped in the transaction validation process?

One thing is for sure: You must not leave the technology companies alone to deal with these questions. Otherwise the Blockchain would become a blocking chain – at the detriment of creative work!

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Mint Digital Services: FAQsMint Digital Services: FAQs SUISA and SESAC, a US collective management organisation, have established Mint Digital Services as a joint venture. Mint Digital Services will take over the invoicing and administration services for SESAC and SUISA’s online licensing activities. The joint venture will also offer services to publishers and collective management organisations. Warner/Chappel Music, a major publisher, is already using Mint’s services. Here the main FAQs. Read more
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Dear members, everyone in the music industry is talking about “Blockchain” at the moment. But it’s not easy to find anyone who can explain in simple terms what it’s all about … By Vincent Salvadé, Deputy CEO

Blockchain - an ending or future for collective management organisations?

British singer songwriter Imogen Heap is said to be the pioneer in the practical application of Blockchain technology for music distribution: Since October 2015, her single “Tiny Human” can be purchased and licensed online via the platform Ujomusic. The payment of the parties involved is based on pre-defined distribution rules via crypto currency. (Photo: Screenshot ujomusic.com)

Blockchain is a technology, a database, a register. It enables the secure exchange of information in a network which is based on the contribution of qualified participants (miners) who check the validity of the transaction by means of the processing...read more

Mint Digital Services: FAQs

SUISA and SESAC, a US collective management organisation, have established Mint Digital Services as a joint venture. Mint Digital Services will take over the invoicing and administration services for SESAC and SUISA’s online licensing activities. The joint venture will also offer services to publishers and collective management organisations. Warner/Chappel Music, a major publisher, is already using Mint’s services. Here the main FAQs: By Fabian Niggemeier, Martin Korrodi, Sebastian Spring and Erika Weibel

Mint Digital Services: FAQs

Through Mint Digital Services, SUISA is relying on its high-performance, state-of-the-art IT infrastructure to develop new business. (Graphics: Hej – Büro für Strategie und Gestaltung in Kultur und Wirtschaft, Zurich)

What is Mint Digital Services?
Mint Digital Services is a joint venture established by SUISA and SESAC, a US music rights organisation. Mint Digital Services offers administration services for multi-territorial online music licensing. Essentially, its services involve processing usage reports for online platforms, identifying represented repertoires, and invoicing.

The purpose of Mint Digital Services is on the one hand to streamline online licensing of SESAC and SUISA’s own repertoires. On the other, the joint venture intends to offer its services to large music publishers and, in due course, to other collective management organisations.

What were the reasons underlying SESAC and SUISA’s decision to establish Mint Digital Services?
There were three main reasons:

  1. Through Mint Digital Services, SUISA can turn to account its high-performance IT infrastructure for the development of new business areas.
  2. The joint venture will enable SUISA to fully exploit the capacity of its existing IT infrastructure. So far, SUISA’s extensive investment in its online licensing and distribution activities has only served its own repertoire. With little additional cost, Mint Digital Services can take on the invoicing and administration of SESAC’s repertoire and those of other publishers – at a later date perhaps even for other collective management organisations.
  3. SUISA is equipping itself for the future. In coming years, collective management organisations will see their monopolies challenged. The rule that only one society should be responsible for licensing the world repertoire in its own country is gradually eroding. The trend towards direct licensing – in other words, multi-territorial licensing of (solely) own repertoire – is progressing even outside the online sector.

Should members apply to Mint for online uses of their works?
No. Nothing will change for SUISA members. SUISA remains the contact for members and will continue to issue their settlement statements. Mint Digital Services simply provides services to SUISA.

Developing a new company costs money. Will members now receive lower settlements owing to higher cost-coverage deductions by SUISA?
No. The greater part of the investment was already made in recent years since SUISA has regularly upgraded its IT – regardless of the joint venture. The cost of developing the new company is therefore relatively low, and the business plan shows that the investment can be fully depreciated in a few years.

Can members expect to receive more money, more quickly for uses in the USA thanks to the partnership with SESAC?
The partnership with SESAC will have no effect on settlement flows from the USA. The joint venture only concerns online uses outside the USA. SUISA will continue to use its best efforts to improve payments from the USA and other countries. However, SUISA has only limited influence on the practice of the foreign sister societies.

Warner is a customer of Mint Digital Services. Does that mean that SUISA will henceforth focus on the majors to the detriment of the needs of its members?
No. Warner is Mint’s customer – not SUISA’s. Moreover, SUISA strives to be as customer-oriented as possible, regardless whether it is dealing with a major, an independent or an author.

Will Mint Digital Services be responsible for licensing the online repertoire?
No. The joint venture will only provide administration and invoicing services. SESAC and SUISA will establish two separate companies in the coming weeks to handle the licensing of their repertoires. Mint SESAC Licensing, a subsidiary of SESAC, and Mint SUISA Licensing, a subsidiary of SUISA. The two companies will be responsible for the separate online licensing of their respective rights, and for the performing rights of most Anglo-American companies.

Can SUISA now negotiate better terms and conditions with online platforms?
We may be able to negotiate better contracts with certain online platforms. But it is up to the platforms themselves to decide whether they want to negotiate with the SUISA and SESAC licensing entities individually or jointly. If they decide in favour of joint negotiations, Mint SUISA Licensing may be able to profit from the larger SESAC repertoire in order to obtain better terms and conditions.

SUISA regularly renegotiates its contracts with online platforms with a view to securing the best possible terms and conditions for authors and publishers; Mint SUISA Licensing will do the same.

Press release: “SUISA and SESAC Launch Mint Digital Services and Join Forces with Warner/Chappell Music as its First Client”
For more information about Mint visit the website of the joint venture: www.mintservices.com

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SUISA and SESAC, a US collective management organisation, have established Mint Digital Services as a joint venture. Mint Digital Services will take over the invoicing and administration services for SESAC and SUISA’s online licensing activities. The joint venture will also offer services to publishers and collective management organisations. Warner/Chappel Music, a major publisher, is already using Mint’s services. Here the main FAQs: By Fabian Niggemeier, Martin Korrodi, Sebastian Spring and Erika Weibel

Mint Digital Services: FAQs

Through Mint Digital Services, SUISA is relying on its high-performance, state-of-the-art IT infrastructure to develop new business. (Graphics: Hej – Büro für Strategie und Gestaltung in Kultur und Wirtschaft, Zurich)

What is Mint Digital Services?
Mint Digital Services is a joint venture established by SUISA and SESAC, a US music rights organisation. Mint Digital Services offers administration services for multi-territorial online music...read more

Concerts and Festivals in Switzerland

In a commentary for IQ magazine, the publication of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC), Chantal Bolzern, Head of the Performing Rights Department at SUISA, outlines the importance of co-operation between collective management organisations and promoters.

Concerts and Festivals in Switzerland

Chantal Bolzern used to organise concerts herself in the past; she also completed a cultural management training course. In 2004, she started to work for SUISA in the legal department. Since 2010, she has been Head of the Performing Rights Department. (Photo: Sebastian Vollmert)

The Swiss apparently love concerts and festivals. Every year new festivals are founded and are taking place even in remote areas in the mountains. Some disappear again after a short time, others can look back on a long tradition of 40 years or more. There is also a wide range of alternative music clubs who attract a large crowd every week.

In 2015, SUISA licensed more than 20,000 concerts and festivals where over 360,000 different songs were performed. The tariff for concerts generated royalties of CHF 20.3m in 2015 which is nearly 50% of all revenue from performing rights. Considering that Switzerland only has a population of 8m, these figures are rather impressive.

SUISA serves as hub between songwriters and concert promoters

In order to make all this possible you need a great song as a basis, you need performers who translate the song into an inspiring live performance on stage. And last but not least you need the promoter to organize the event, make it run smoothly and make the crowd happy.

SUISA serves as a hub in this business. As a co-operative society we are owned by our members and therefore our aim is to help songwriters and publishers to participate in the income others generate with their songs. On the other hand, we want promoters to have easy access to the rights they need to create their event and to generate their revenue.

For two years, SUISA negotiated a new concert and festival tariff with all the relevant trade organisations in order to simplify the calculations for the promoters. The tariff sets  a license rate for concerts or festivals between 7% and 10% of ticketing revenue and a discount for the membership in a trade organization. Our tariff is also a one stop shop for the neighbouring rights which facilitates especially the lives of festival promoters.

Respect helps conquering new challenges in the live business ecosystem

Every 3 months we distribute royalties with detailed statements so that songwriters and publishers can verify where their money is coming from. We have full transparency in the revenue stream. All licensing and distribution work is done at a low administration cost of 12%.

Live business is an ecosystem where all parties involved need each other in order to keep things going. When all of them do a good job, they have not only a great time but they also make money. This allows composers to create new songs, which makes new performances and new concerts possible. Therefore we should all value and respect each other’s share and efforts in this business and work on solutions for new challenges together.

This contribution was written for IQ magazine where it has been published in the print edition of January 2017 on page 27 as well as online on the magazine websit. IQ magazine is an annual publication with 6 editions per year of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC).

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All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

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In a commentary for IQ magazine, the publication of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC), Chantal Bolzern, Head of the Performing Rights Department at SUISA, outlines the importance of co-operation between collective management organisations and promoters.

Concerts and Festivals in Switzerland

Chantal Bolzern used to organise concerts herself in the past; she also completed a cultural management training course. In 2004, she started to work for SUISA in the legal department. Since 2010, she has been Head of the Performing Rights Department. (Photo: Sebastian Vollmert)

The Swiss apparently love concerts and festivals. Every year new festivals are founded and are taking place even in remote areas in the mountains. Some disappear again after a short time, others can look back on a long tradition of 40 years or more. There is also a wide range of alternative music clubs...read more

Hurry, haggle and hope at Womex

In cooperation with Pro Helvetia, FONDATION SUISA has been providing a Swiss stand at the music exhibition Womex since 2006. But what is the advantage of participating in such an exhibition at all? Ane Hebeisen of the Berne band Da Cruz attended by way of a self-experiment. An unadorned experience report from Budapest. Text by guest author Ane Hebeisen

Hurry, haggle and hope at Womex

In the midst of the events at the Womex 2015 in Budapest (from left to right): Guest author Ane Hebeisen and Mariana Da Cruz (both members of the band Da Cruz), Arnaud di Clemente (Bee-Flat im Progr), Mauro Abbühl (Artlink) (Photo: Eric van Nieuwland)

The Swiss stand at the Womex music fair in Budapest is hopelessly overrun. An invitation has gone out for drinks at the stand – organised together with the Austrians – and thus attracted a huge crowd. You can enjoy cheese, dried meat, wine and hold small talk. Most favourite topics: The state of the Helvetic concert market and the prices completely made up by Budapest taxi drivers. At the edge of the crowd, a booker of the Zurich club Moods negotiates with a French concert agency, not far from that, Berne organisers Bee-Flat scurry through the masses and the manager of Sophie Hunger meets people who look somewhat important. Very briefly, an Austrian band tries to perform a serenade but is silenced quickly by the security staff of the congress hall. Business is on the agenda for the day, music is not planned before the evening.

The dilemma is well-known. As a musician, it helps not just to be a creator of sound art but, advisably, also booker, manager, public relations agent and label manager. And because that’s the way it is, it can’t hurt to visit such fairs every now and then. Right, off to battle. The aim: to jazz up summer season 2016 with a few festival bookings.

The good news here at Womex: Open Airs such as Glastonbury, Sziget or Roskilde have dispatched delegates to Budapest who are looking for new bands. The bad news: They prefer to sneak around the exhibition incognito. If they do, however, decide to stop for a while, they immediately have a bunch of “fleeting acquaintances” around themselves, who are trying to slip them CDs and catalogues. That surely looks tiresome. Better to leave them alone.

World music – a marketing term for exotic music

Among the various music exhibitions and showcase festivals, Womex is among the older ones, and because of the niche that it serves, maybe not the trendiest. But people underestimate it. It takes place each year in a different city and is the world’s greatest fair for so-called World Music. A term that has been created nearly 30 years ago by marketing managers of English record labels, it has attempted to pigeon-hole music which didn’t fit into the traditional Anglo-American Pop-Rock scheme.

Also a term which is still stuck with the image of an unpleasant mystique mix of jute romanticism, third world exotics and cultural neo-colonialism. But World Music has long become an umbrella, under which everything from global pop by someone like Manu Chao, via electro-ethno studies of someone like Björk, up to Brazilian Favela Funk or Mongolian zither players roams around. World Music is what sounds exotic to the ears of a Westerner.

If you have to offer anything exotic in terms of music you are in the right place here. You are sure to meet someone that can help you on. The Womex community has become a closely-knit family, radio editors are searching for new music, and event organisers who don’t feel like putting together their concert programme merely based on the newsletter by various agencies are present here. And, due to the fact that the British hype machinery is no longer firing on all cylinders lately, even the most important major festivals can’t avoid digging around in the world for some hidden gems.

Serious preparation for a music exhibition is a must

If there is one species that has very low popularity scores at music exhibitions, it is representatives of bands who push sound recordings into the hands of any passer-by while reciting excerpts of their band biography. The key is to be prepared. Weeks before the exhibition, you need to find out by intense research work which of the concert organisers, agencies or festival bookers that are going to attend are on the same wavelength as you, and then you need to arrange a brief meeting with them.

Womex has established an internet platform on which you can browse around once you have been accredited. Each participant is listed here, often with e-mail contact details and sometimes with a photo. Those that decline meeting with you can usually be found in a cigarette break or at concerts in the evening where the trendiest Afrobeat bands of the world play alongside Cambodian Mickey-Mouse MIAs, Brazilian hip hop wannabes or Chinese Metal bands and try to trump each other.

Business meetings at Womex: promising to hazy

Back to the exhibition. The voice is hoarse, the head hurts. The meetings so far have been rather good. The gentleman representing a big Open Air in Luxembourg has listened to the music links sent to him prior to the exhibition, and offers an option for a date in July. It’s his business partner, however, who could still ruin the deal. He tells us in agitated way that during the Globus riots in Zurich, he was imprisoned and has since been avoiding Switzerland like the devil fears holy water. I mime empathy and hope for some mercy later on.

A festival in Amsterdam and a big city festival in Hanover reserve a date in the summer. The latter is said to attract about 15,000 people. An organiser from Helsinki has been wooed by what he heard so much that he wants to win the band over for a festival in May. And the delegation of a major Turkish organiser who is in charge of the country’s biggest Open Airs, brings along two festival organisers from Israel to the meeting. They say they had talked about the band and decided to start something together.

Other meetings end on a vague note. For example the French. The Festival Jazz à Vienne shows some interest but they say they’d get back to us if there was a need to. Same applies to the Festival Les Suds à Arles. And Roskilde? Passed each other and said hello. No more than that. Glastonbury? The rep wasn’t seen. Sziget? A conversation with a booker resulted in finding out that the world stage of the festival had been subject to a rather conservative programme; difficult for a band with a laptop as part of its instrumentation.

Efforts for visiting the exhibition and persistence when following up could pay back

But it’s always the same, whenever you return from a music exhibition: You stash away countless business cards carefully, reflect on various meetings and you have that fuzzy feeling and assurance that the global career is within arm’s length. Three weeks later, however, you’ll realise that the newly made friendships and business relationships aren’t that stable after all as you thought and that following up is a much more tedious process than you anticipated. And it’s going to be just like that – this year is no exception.

Past years have, though, showed that the effort and a certain persistence do pay back. Concerts at the Montréal Jazz Festival, at the Fernwärme Open Air in Vienna, at the Festival Fiest’A Sète, at the World Village in Helsinki or at the Festival d’éte de Quebec have come about as a result of attending Womex. Our agencies in France and Italy have also become aware of us once we played a showcase in Copenhagen in 2009.

One week after the exhibition, the Turks got back in touch. Everything was right on track. They said they’d listened to the CD we slipped them often and liked it. And a Spanish festival has also knocked on our door. With the question whether the band was getting financial support from somewhere. If so, they’d be interested. Yes, the financial crisis. It hasn’t spared World Music. Let the negotiations begin.

www.womex.com

The author, Ane Hebeisen, plays with the Berne band Da Cruz (www.dacruzmusic.com) and is a reporter with the daily “Der Bund”.

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In cooperation with Pro Helvetia, FONDATION SUISA has been providing a Swiss stand at the music exhibition Womex since 2006. But what is the advantage of participating in such an exhibition at all? Ane Hebeisen of the Berne band Da Cruz attended by way of a self-experiment. An unadorned experience report from Budapest. Text by guest author Ane Hebeisen

Hurry, haggle and hope at Womex

In the midst of the events at the Womex 2015 in Budapest (from left to right): Guest author Ane Hebeisen and Mariana Da Cruz (both members of the band Da Cruz), Arnaud di Clemente (Bee-Flat im Progr), Mauro Abbühl (Artlink) (Photo: Eric van Nieuwland)

The Swiss stand at the Womex music fair in Budapest is hopelessly overrun. An invitation has gone out for drinks at the stand – organised together with the Austrians –...read more

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    Hallo!

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    Nina

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