A Masterclass in Creative Leadership for the Music Industry!

Executive Summary

In 2021/2022 the Music Cities Network convened the first European Music Business Task Force (EMBTF) to develop new insights, skills and knowledge resulting in tools and proposals for developing a strong, sustainable, transnational market for European music within Europe, post-Brexit as well as in pandemic times.

The 12-person group met a number of times, both online and in person, working with a team from the Kaospilots in order to research, explore and build a series of recommendations and networks which might meet the initial brief of this Creative Europe funded project.

The group ultimately focussed on pathways and opportunities for early career professionals looking to build sustainable employment in the European music industry. Following a period of research and investigation, the first EMBTF has made a series of direct recommendations to be explored, further aimed at three distinct groups:

  • Governments / public funders looking to stimulate the music industry in their purview;
  • Existing music industry professionals keen to ensure a thriving talent development pipeline;
  • Individuals seeking to build a career in the music industry.

Recommendations are centered around thematic links from a series of interviews carried out by the EMBTF with a number of music industry professionals from across Europe. The group looked at consistencies and similarities in career paths across the sector in what can often seem a disparate or non-standardised journey for many.

These recommendations therefore sit broadly under the following headings:

  • Professional international networks
  • Enabling risk taking
  • Publicly funded opportunities
  • Individual support from a professional mentor
  • Co-creation / cooperation as an essential catalyst for opportunity

It is envisaged that this is the first European Music Business Task Force cohort and that there will be future groups that build on and enhance this work.

This report will be presented to the European Commission, music industry representatives and Music Cities Network partners.

Download the full report

Download the full report here.

EMBTF report

Astrid Storm Thorsen, DK

Astrid started as a Spinnup Scout in 2017 and quickly became a full time project manager and A&R at Universal Music Denmark, working with names such as Tessa and Emil Kruse. Since then, she occasionally appears as a guest expert on radio and podcasts, as well as being the Scandinavian ambassador for COLORS.

Last year she was awarded the prize of one of Nordic Music Biz’s ‘20 under 30’ and in 2020 Astrid was offered an A&R position at Universal’s label Copenhagen Records.

Colm O'Herlihy, IS

Colm O’Herlihy is founder of INNI, which is an independent music company based in Iceland that represents a diverse roster of producers, composers, and songwriters.

Based between Reykjavik and Los Angeles, INNI – the first Icelandic publishing company to be established in the country – was formed by Colm and film composer Atli Orvarsson in 2019. As well as offering publishing services, INNI also works as an independent record label and music production house.

Colm got his start in music when The Smiths’ frontman, Morrissey, signed his band to his own signature label, Attack Records. Since then, Colm has toured the globe as a guitarist for artists such as Joan Shelley, Grant Hart (Hüsker Dü), and more. In 2014, he moved from Ireland to Reykjavik and managed two labels, Bedroom Community and Mengi Records. There he saw a niche for a specialised music publishing company in the heart of the music scene of Iceland. In 2019, he launched the company with film composer, Atli Örvarsson.

Freddie Aitken, UK

As the Membership Officer at London Youth Choirs, Trustee and F&A member at The National Foundation for Youth Music, and co-founder of Manchester-based electronic music collective, Traffic, Freddie’s career in music has grown to focus on empowering and supporting the next generation of music makers to develop a passion for music that will hopefully be a source of joy and fulfilment throughout their lives.

After missing his first year studying Social Anthropology at university through illness, he returned to the city of Manchester (UK) and developed a love for the wonderful techno scene. This led to him running a DIY record label and club night focussed on supporting and highlighting local emerging talent, Traffic. Seeing an opportunity to develop his knowledge in how to do this more effectively, Freddie began volunteering at Brighter Sound, a music charity that (among other things) provides music-making and music career education opportunities to emerging industry professionals and young people. This led to him being appointed as a full-time member of the team, working on trans-European projects and playing a key role in Manchester’s membership in the Music Cities Network. It was through this work that he learned the potential for positive change that European collaboration could bring about in the music industry.

Hildur Maral, IS

Hildur is Marketing Coordinator for booking agency and concert promoter smash!bang!pow! (DK). Starting her career in her teens as a music radio show host, she has since held various positions within artist-, event-, PR- and label management. Hildur studied creative leadership, business, process and project management at the Kaospilots and holds a MA in Global Entertainment and Music Business from Berklee College of Music.

It was through Hildur´s job with Iceland Music Export over a decade ago at The Great Escape showcase festival that she came across a man who she would later form a management firm with. This chance encounter was one of many such events that would clearly show her that if one was open to new opportunities, having the support of music export offices or similar institutions was fundamental in building a career in music. Many other such events would later occur, be it touring in Japan via a cross-country collaborative grant, or attending showcase festivals around the world which would lead to record deals and more collaborations. One thing is for sure – that each event played a massive role in Hildur´s career.

Jens Uhre Karlsson, DK

Jens has been managing the death metal band BAEST since the beginning of October 2015. He started out as a helping hand, taking care of the essentials for an upcoming band: communications, marketing and the early steps in terms of touring. He finished his Bachelor’s degree in Information Science and worked as a social media manager for a local ad agency up until he was hired full time for the local booking agency, Skandinavian, in 2018. Since 2018, he has represented a small handful of bands in different genres on the booking and touring side, while managing BAEST and upcoming projects. In January 2020, he started his own booking agency, Backbeat Music, and joined forces with Heartbeat Management, strengthening his setup for global growth. Working with BAEST and other signings has given him the opportunity to learn more about the music industry, from the very upcoming, underground to the more mainstream. He has learned from some of the best people in the industry and has taken great inspiration from the ideas of sustainability and integrity – features he admires and hopes to enforce in the projects in which he is involved. He believes in cooperation and always seeks new inspiration.

Jørgen S. Avnsnes, NO

Jørgen works as a manager at Made Management in Bergen, Norway. Made represents some of Norway’s biggest artists and producers, among them AURORA and Sigrid. He’s had an unlikely road into the music industry, at least at first: working as a carpenter building houses in his hometown of Bergen, volunteering at festivals, as well as working in the bar on the biggest concerts in the city, starting with Metallica.

While this was at this point just a hobby, he’s always thought about how people started to work with music, and at one point planned to promote concerts with his friend, but quickly aborted the idea as the rights involved and tasks seemed daunting for the pair.

Chance would have it that Jørgen’s girlfriend was moving to London to finish her Bachelor’s in Film and TV, and he decided to join her, where he finished a Bachelor of Science and Arts in Music and Entertainment Industry Management at the University of Hertfordshire. He then went on to work at Decca Records, pitching AURORA to the label, which in turn led to him working at Made Management, via Brak, a non-profit organisation for the music industry in western Norway, and as a CEO of Buzz, an investment fund owned by Bergen County focussed on investing in local music companies.

Maria Riedel Borg, DK

Maria is Digital Partners and Export Manager for disco:wax, No3 and One Seven Music based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her passion for music developed alongside her education in Musicology and Modern Culture from Copenhagen University, where she specialised in music management and female representation in culture. Concurrently with her studies, she started her career in the music business as a Scout and later as an A&R Coordinator.

After a short time, Maria expanded her network within the music industry and realised her motivation for working with music in international markets. In continuation of this, the company and Maria created a new position with a focus on export and international relations, which has been developing rapidly. Now she is focussing on streaming and international marketing strategies and has the overall responsibility for presenting and pitching music projects to internal and external partners.

Oskar Pullinen, FI

Oskar works as a publishing A&R at Elements Music. Elements Music is Finland’s leading independent music publishing company and Oskar is running the international creative activity of the company. As an A&R, he represents songwriters and producers, organises songwriting sessions, and pitches songs to record labels, artists, and managers. Oskar holds an MA in Musicology from Åbo Akademi University and he has minored in Music Production and International Marketing.

Even though Oskar had been a musician his whole life, his actual journey into the music industry started with an internship at Music Finland, the music export office of Finland. Music Finland has a very central role in the Finnish music industry and it works closely with all Finnish labels, publishers, and management companies. During the internship, Oskar got to know a lot of key people in the industry. As Music Finland works with music export, the internship created a good base for Oskar to start creating an international network and he quickly grew accustomed to handling international affairs on a daily basis. Through these networks, Oskar gained mentors and these people play an important role in how Oskar works today.

Sandra Perens, EE

Sandra works as an A&R Manager for Tier Music Publishing, a company in Tallinn, Estonia and as an Event Coordinator at the Arvo Pärt Centre. She studied cultural management at the University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy and has an MBA in International Business Management from Estonian Business School. The start of her career in the music industry can be traced to 2011, when she first met the head of Tallinn Music Week (TMW) through one of her teachers in Viljandi. First starting out as an assistant, she soon progressed to the head of programme for the festival. 

While still working for TMW, Sandra was able to finish her studies, have two internships abroad, start her MBA studies and also start working for the newly formed music export office as the first international project manager. The internships abroad and career opportunities that have followed have all been possible thanks to the connections made while working at TMW. After leaving the festival, she has been the Executive Assistant and Ticket Sales Manager at the largest dance music festival in the Baltic countries, Weekend Festival Baltics, and a Marketing Manager for the Baltic Region at Sony Music Entertainment, before settling into her current positions. 

Sjoerd Vriesema, NL

Sjoerd Vriesema, from Groningen, The Netherlands started coaching emerging artists as a creative manager so that he could develop his own artistic career. As ‘Stuart Mavis’, he released an EP on Sony Music Entertainment Benelux and played more than 300 shows, including at Eurosonic Noorderslag. Today, he uses the experience gained from his years as an artist to help grassroots artists with their careers, but also to make connections between municipalities, education programs, organisations and talents in the Northern Netherlands. Sjoerd is the lead in  multilingual co-creation projects, Wurdspøken and Wisselstroom, two projects that aim to develop artists through co-creation. He is also co-organiser of the official talent programme of ESNS, Hit the North and LEC, an international co-creation and exchange for hip-hop acts from four European cities. Sjoerd is also co-owner of the Lake Woozoo music studios in Leeuwarden, where he and his colleagues host artists-in-residencies and writing camps.

His first international experience as a project manager was when he travelled to Denmark in 2018 to support hip-hop artists from his city during an international writing camp in Aarhus. The connections and experiences these artists had gained through co-creation sparked a flame in his own motivation to work within the European periphery and seek more collaborations. He found a strong connection to the Music Cities Network (MCN) when, in the year of the pandemic, Lena Ingwersen invited him to contribute to an application to the European Commission for the Link Up Euro Connection, the first edition of which has just taken place successfully online in cooperation with Noordstaat. Sjoerd learned about the EMBTF through the MCN. His selection allowed him to increase his international network and opportunities in international exchange, which will benefit both the city of Groningen and the Northern region of the Netherlands. Sjoerd believes that sharing experiences and learning from other European professionals is an opportunity that you don’t get very often. Let’s work on that!

Tom Besford, UK

Tom runs English Folk Expo (EFEx), which supports the English folk, roots and acoustic music sector. EFEx delivers showcases, live events, artist mentoring, industry training, audience development, runs Manchester Folk Festival, hosts online learning platforms and produces the Official Folk Albums Chart. Tom is a member of the Greater Manchester Music Commission and is on the Steering Group of Manchester Music City. He is also an elected politician.

Tom was heavily involved in the Folk Society at Durham University, becoming President and overseeing the running of many folk events including IVFDF in 2010. On leaving university, he got a job in the Folkworks team at Sage Gateshead supporting the delivery of folk programmes for the organisation. During this time, he met Booking Agent Terry O’Brien who invited him to work on a newly created showcase, English Folk Expo. Tom continued to work part time on the showcase whilst building his full time career with roles in the Programming Team at the Royal Northern College of Music, as Head of Artist Liaison at Manchester International Festival and eventually as Head of Culture for the Rochdale Boroughwide Cultural Trust. When English Folk Expo joined Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisation in 2018, Tom left his full time role to become its first Chief Executive. Since then, Tom has overseen the expansion of the organisation from a singular annual showcase to the broad music charity it is today, creating new programmes, building a board and fundraising to quadruple the size of the organisation. Tom has consistently worked for charities supported through Arts Council England, Local Authorities and Trusts and Foundations. In 2019, Tom was elected to Rochdale Council as the Labour Councillor for Littleborough Lakeside.

Victoria Brüker, DE

Victoria Brüker (M.A.) is a booking agent, artist, and project manager of Hamburg-based music agency OHA! Music. She started wandering down the path of pop culture and music during her studies of media and philosophy in Bochum (DE), Antwerp (BE), and Hamburg (DE). After collecting professional and international experiences in film, she worked as a PR and social media manager at OHA! Music, as a project manager at RockCity Hamburg e.V., and has now returned to OHA! Music’s artist department.

A chance encounter as a visitor of the Reeperbahn Festival led to her first job in the music business where she found her passion for the industry through mentoring and trust. After having worked on a European level in film, Victoria realised that she wanted to expand her network internationally in music as well to develop valuable exchange and drive change. This mindset led to an awareness of international programmes, to the application for the EMBTF, and eventually to the first important steps towards a European career by making meaningful connections and creating a network of like-minded people.

About European Music Business Task Force

The fast and ongoing technical and digital developments have caused one of the biggest structural changes for music-making and the music business.

The advent of streaming and digital distribution is proving to be one of the biggest “border-breakers” for the music industry in decades.

Spotify, Soundcloud, Apple Music and other platforms are opening the gates for music lovers to learn and listen to music from other countries, markets and territories – besides the traditional US and UK markets. This is an opportunity for which the European music market and industry must be prepared.

The European Music Business Task Force is a music business training programme for future-oriented music business professionals, this project improves the participants’ business-related skills & network to develop their careers in the European music sector, contributing to boost the music business in Europe as well as facilitating sustainable change.

The common goal of the Task Force is to gain and share knowledge through a leadership masterclass focused on improving the abilities necessary to find new strategies for boosting the internal music market in Europe.

The programme aims to develop new insights, skills and knowledge resulting in tools and proposals for developing a strong sustainable transnational market for European music.

The European Music Business Task Force programme is co-funded by the European Union.

The facts

Promus and the Music Cities Network announced an open call for applications for the first European Music Business Task Force programme in early 2021. From August 2021 until the end of January 2022, 12 upcoming European music business professionals embarked on a transnational European expedition searching for answers to the question: How can we boost European music within Europe?

The second edition of the EMBTF programme has received funding from the European Union. We will start calling for applications at the beginning of 2023. Stay tuned!

The programme is organised by Promus, Aarhus (DK) in collaboration with by the transnationally acting Music Cities Network.

Executive Summary

In 2021/2022 the Music Cities Network convened the first European Music Business Task Force (EMBTF) to develop new insights, skills and knowledge resulting in tools and proposals for developing a strong, sustainable, transnational market for European music within Europe, post-Brexit as well as in pandemic times.

The 12-person group met a number of times, both online and in person, working with a team from the Kaospilots in order to research, explore and build a series of recommendations and networks which might meet the initial brief of this Creative Europe funded project.

The group ultimately focussed on pathways and opportunities for early career professionals looking to build sustainable employment in the European music industry. Following a period of research and investigation, the first EMBTF has made a series of direct recommendations to be explored, further aimed at three distinct groups:

  • Governments / public funders looking to stimulate the music industry in their purview;
  • Existing music industry professionals keen to ensure a thriving talent development pipeline;
  • Individuals seeking to build a career in the music industry.

Recommendations are centered around thematic links from a series of interviews carried out by the EMBTF with a number of music industry professionals from across Europe. The group looked at consistencies and similarities in career paths across the sector in what can often seem a disparate or non-standardised journey for many.

These recommendations therefore sit broadly under the following headings:

  • Professional international networks
  • Enabling risk taking
  • Publicly funded opportunities
  • Individual support from a professional mentor
  • Co-creation / cooperation as an essential catalyst for opportunity

It is envisaged that this is the first European Music Business Task Force cohort and that there will be future groups that build on and enhance this work.

This report will be presented to the European Commission, music industry representatives and Music Cities Network partners.

Download the full report

Download the full report here.

EMBTF report

NEWS

March 1st, 2023

European Music Business Task Force Vol. 2 – a Masterclass in Creative Leadership for the Music Industry calls for applications

Promus, the Music Community of Aarhus (DK), and the globally acting Music Cities Network are officially calling for applications for the EMBTF – a masterclass in creative leadership for the music industry. 12 European music business professionals will have the opportunity to embark on a transnational European expedition from April 23 – May 24 searching for answers to the question: 

How can we boost the European music market? 

As the industry continues to face multiple challenges, the programme aims to develop deeper insights, creative leadership skills, and foster knowledge, which will result in tools and proposals to create a strong, sustainable transnational European music market. The second volume of the EMBTF will build on the already published findings from the first Task Force (download the report here). 

Participants are determined to shape the future of the European music market, to develop sustainable job opportunities in the European music industry, to become part of a valuable European network of music business professionals and enhance their creative leadership skills. The Task Force will work on their own projects via workshops and online training sessions. They will attend inspirational keynotes and receive tools for personal development such as mentoring sessions with a mental health specialist. Moreover, we’ve decided to remove the age limit for applicants in this volume, allowing for intergenerational exchange. 

EMBFT Vol. II offers one crucial aspect that most music professionals don’t have – time. The participants are given the space to get out of their daily work environment to think outside the box and to think big – which is needed to establish a more future-oriented and more healthy European Music Industry.

The European Music Business Task Force actively participates in the following music industry events as part of the learning process which is facilitated by the creative leadership experts KaosPilots Aarhus:

  • Workshop 1: SPOT Festival and the SPOT+ Festival conference in Aarhus, Denmark (5th – 6th of May  2023).
  • Workshop 2: Reeperbahn Festival and the Reeperbahn Festival Conference in Hamburg, Germany (20th – 23rd of September 2023).
  • Workshop 3: Iceland Airwaves and the Airwaves Pro Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland (2nd – 4th of November 2023).
  • Workshop 4: Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) and the ESNS Conference in Groningen, Netherlands 2024). 
  • Workshop 5: Tallinn Music Week and conference in Tallinn, Estonia (2024)

„As the industry keeps on changing rapidly, we need to adapt our music business leadership masterclass just as fast. For this new volume, we’ve included personal development and career mentoring sessions, workshops, and a longer time frame. Additionally, we’re removing the age limit for applicants, allowing for the crucial intergenerational exchange. After all, EMBTF prioritises the fundamental variable for change – time.” Jesper Mardahl, Managing Director, Promus

“We are super thrilled for this programme to happen again, and cannot wait to take this journey with a fresh cast of music industry professionals that are motivated, determined and ready to disrupt the status quo of the industry right now.” Lena Ingwersen, Managing Director, Music Cities Network

The second volume of the European Music Business Task Force is co-funded by the European Commission, organised by Promus (Aarhus), Music Cities Network (global), KaosPilots (Aarhus) and Reykjavik Music City. Festival Partners are SPOT Festival (Aarhus, DK), Reeperbahn Festival (Hamburg, DE), Iceland Airwaves (Reykjvaik, ISL), Eurosonic Noorderslag (Groningen, NL) and Tallinn Music Week (Tallinn, EST)

Feel like this is exactly the kind of challenge you’ve been looking for? Read more and apply via the “open-call” button on the front page.

Deadline is the 20th of March 2023 at 12.00 CET

*********

March 14th, 2022

European Music Business Task Force:
How do we boost European music industry post Brexit and Corona?

For the very first time, 12 young professionals from the European music industry have developed a report that focuses on the future of the industry. The results have just been published, and show, besides other recommendations, a direction for how the industry ensures sustainable career opportunities that promote musical development at a time where Brexit and Corona have taken on a huge part of the discussion within the European music industry.

A need to concentrate even more on exchange of knowledge and securing a sustainable and healthy development of talent and network – all across boarders in Europe – to be able to tackle and improve the current structures and politics of the European music industry – are the main focus of the report.

For instance the report states that we should: “create a tax incentive for music organizations who provide cross border internships/mentoring to strengthen international networks”, just as “organizations should commit to open recruitment rather than simply offering jobs to their existing networks” and the “industry should actively promote their work to educational institutions as a viable career pathway.”

These are three of the 37 recommendations that the report points to.

One of the initiators of the report is the network platform PROMUS, who has gathered the 12 professionals across industry backgrounds to ensure a variety of perspectives on the industry. Jesper Mardahl, head of PROMUS, states:

“The report points to a complete check of the industry, and makes suggestions to how the existing music industry, the public bodies around it and the people who want to be a part of it can help change the competing mind-set seen in the industry. If we dare to listen to the report and see each other as a united team, we can overcome the challenges that the industry faces – both artistically and business-strategically.”

Europe is one of the epicenters of music production, but Brexit and Corona have kept the microphone for too long, which is why PORMUS together with the Music Cities Network and in collaboration with the KaosPiloterne, SPOT Festival, Reeperbahn Festival, Iceland Airwaves and Eurosonic Noorderslag have gathered 12 young professionals across industry areas and given them time and space to explore the industry in which they themselves are formed. The question is how can the European community stimulate and strengthen the framework of the industry for the benefit of the industry as a whole, the consumers and the development of music?

Sandra Perens, one of the 12 professionals in the Task Force, states:

“The value of the Task Force and projects like these is that, they help you to first broaden your network of people, get to know their experience and in the end understand that one is not struggling alone, that there are like-minded people who have gone through the same difficulties or are going through the same thing. It gives the opportunity to learn from people like yourself and also in turn, gives the opportunity to support each other. I hope that the future of the industry will be formed with fairness to all – first of all the creators making the music and also the people behind the scenes. “

The European Music Business Task Force calls for applications! 

Join the 2nd Volume of the Creative Leadership Masterclass – Apply now

  • Do you want to shape the future of the European music market together with other like-minded European music business professionals?
  • Are you an experienced and driven music industry professional?
  • Do you want to become part of a valuable European network of music business professionals and develop your creative leadership skills?

We believe the world needs leaders, entrepreneurs, and change-makers who dare to disrupt the status quo! If you agree, do not hesitate to take the next step in your career and apply for the second European Music Business Task Force (short EMBTF).

Promus, the Music Community of Aarhus (DK) and the Music Cities Network invite 12 European music business professionals to embark on a transnational European expedition from April 2023 until May 2024. On this journey, they will search for answers to the question: How can we boost the European music market?

As the industry continues to face multiple challenges, the programme aims to develop deeper insights, elevate leadership skills, and foster knowledge. Together, we will develop tools and proposals to create a strong and sustainable transnational European music market. The second volume of the EMBTF will build on the already published findings from the first Task Force held in 2021/22 (download the report here). 

EMBFT Vol. II offers one crucial aspect that most music professionals don’t have – time. The participants are given the space to get out of their daily work environment to think outside the box and to think big, which is needed to establish a more future-oriented and more healthy European Music Industry.

The Task Force will meet in person and online to engage with various current challenges and opportunities in the music industry. On the basis of this groundwork, we will then actively participate during the following music industry festivals as part of the learning process facilitated by the creative leadership experts KaosPilots (five nights at each event):

  • Workshop 1: SPOT Festival and the SPOT+ Festival conference in Aarhus, Denmark (5th – 6th of May  2023).
  • Workshop 2: Reeperbahn Festival and the Reeperbahn Festival Conference in Hamburg, Germany (20th – 23rd of September 2023).
  • Workshop 3: Iceland Airwaves and the Airwaves Pro Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland (2nd – 4th of November 2023).
  • Workshop 4: Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) and the ESNS Conference in Groningen, Netherlands (2024). 
  • Workshop 5: Tallinn Music Week and Conference in Tallinn, Estonia (2024)

The programme is organised by Promus and the transnationally acting Music Cities Network in collaboration with the City of Reykjavik and the Kaospilots. It is co-funded by the European Commission.

Apply here: https://form.typeform.com/to/kiBVIjAa

The application deadline is March 20th 2023 12.00 CET

Who is it for

  • You must be working freelance, part-time, or full-time in the music sector; a.i. labels, booking agencies, festivals, management, publishing, entrepreneurship, or other related work. 
  • You must have a finished degree of relevant education AND/OR have similar 2-3+ years of practical work experience within the music sector.
  • You are open-minded, sociable, a team worker, visionary, and keen on always thinking progressively.
  • You must be able to take care of your regular job and participate in the Task Force at the same time.

What is expected from you

  • You must be able to attend all five in-person workshops (5 days at each location). 
  • You must be able to attend and actively participate in all five festivals. 
  • You must be able to take part in at least five in-between online workshops (expect 2-3 hours per workshop).
  • You must be able to take time for research and exchange (expect 1-2 hours per week).
  • You are able to contribute the participant fee of either 1000€ (participants from Music Cities Network member cities)* or of 1500€ (participants from non-member cities).

     

  • Please Note:

    We are aware that the participants fee can be seen as a barrier to apply. So to clarify, here’s how the fee will work:

    1. You pay the participants fee in advance. Understand this as a deposit that we get from you, which is a necessary part of our budget planning. EU-funded projects usually come with specific obligations that need to be met by us. 
    2. By the beginning of the program you will receive 80% back. With this money, you are to pay and book your travels over the 1,5 years of the program individually.
    3. By the end of the program, you will receive the remaining 20% of what you paid in the beginning. The participant fee can like this be understood as a return on invest. 

We recognise the positive value of diversity, promoting equity and celebrating inclusion. Thus, we encourage applications from people of all cultural backgrounds, ages, sectors, genres and subgenres of the music industry.

*Contact your Music Cities Network member organisation to consult about the possibility of co-financing the participant fee. See the list of member cities here: https://www.musiccitiesnetwork.com/

What’s in it for you

  • Future-oriented insights and courses focusing on the most important industry trends and needs. 
  • Individual career mentoring and personal development sessions with a mental health specialist.
  • Design Thinking and Creative Leadership Skills as a method for your work.
  • Project management experience  on how to invent and manage a project which creates value for all participating parties.
  • You will become part of a network of like-minded talents and professionals within the music industry.
  • Co-design of the learning process based on your needs.  
  • Access to the five festivals and conferences.
  • Free travel and accommodation to the five above-mentioned industry festivals (please note that travel and accommodation costs are limited. We encourage you to book as economically and ecologically as possible). 

Selection Criteria

  • The primary assessment is based on your motivated application and secondarily your experience and background.
  • We appreciate a diversity of experience, cultural background, age, and gender.
  • You need to be fluent in English – oral and written.

What happens next?

Once we’ve collected all applications, a jury of music industry experts, including former EMBTF participants, will dive into the selection process. Together, they will decide if you fit the programme and reach out to you by the end of March. We will then let you know what the following steps are. The official start of the programme is the beginning of May 2023. Please note, the first meetup is during SPOT Festival (DK) on May 2nd – May 7th 2023!

Selection process:

March 20 at 12.00 CET: Deadline for applications.
March 29: Selected participants will be informed.
March 29: Deadline for confirming your participation.

About the Kaospilots & Training Programme

The Kaospilot is an education programme based in Aarhus, Denmark that was founded in 1991. It is a 3-year programme focusing on Enterprising Leadership. People are educated to drive results and to create transformation as changemakers, entrepreneurs, and leaders.

The Kaospilots offer a wide range of programmes for professionals in Denmark and abroad. The school has been a partner in the programme “Music Management” by the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus. The Kaospilots will also be a partner of the second EMBTF edition and take care of the workshop programme. 

The overall schedule for the programme:

Workshop 1 – “Discover”: SPOT Festival, Aarhus (DK)
The aim is to onboard the Task Force candidates in the programme. We share expectations and start research projects across countries and disciplines. Problems shall be defined, experts can be consulted.

Actions performed:

  • Build a learning community, gather information, exchange knowledge.
  • Clarify expectations and needs for the programme.
  • Define areas of work.
  • Distribute the first tasks among the participants.

Workshop 2 – “Define”: Reeperbahn Festival, Hamburg (DE)
Observations will be analysed and synthesised to define the core problems identified up to this point. The purpose is to interpret and reframe the research and map it into activities.  

Actions performed: 

  • Share collected information and work results.
  • Test ideas and define projects based on the research, formulate questions.
  • Consider/include relevant inputs from invited keynote speakers.

Workshop 3 – “Design”: Iceland Airwaves, Reykjavik (IS)
With this solid background the Task Force can now start to “think outside the box”. They will look for alternative ways of viewing the problems and find solutions. The purpose is to develop and design a final project which should be implemented before the last module.

Actions performed:+ what skills do you bring yourself?

  • Design the  concept for the project.
  • Plan the management of the project.
  • Consider/include relevant input from invited keynote speakers.

Workshop 4 – “Deliver”: Eurosonic, Groningen (NL)
The final workshop will deliver and present some of the findings in a workshop held by the participants in the Masterclass.

Actions performed:

  • Test of the project in a real-world setting.
  • Inclusion of  feedback.

Final Presentation Meet-Up: Tallinn Music Week (TMW), Tallinn (EST)
At the final festival meet-up the participants will present their final results. The findings and the projects developed and tested throughout the programme will form the basis of the content.

In addition, there will be at least five in-between online courses through digital learning software designed by the Kaospilots, and additional lectures from leading music business experts.

What do you need to do when applying? 

For the application process, you will need to answer 8 questions in total that will enable us to get to know you and your motivation better. You will be forwarded to a questionnaire when you start the application process *here*. We highly recommend you prepare these questions in advance, so you can insert them easily into the questionnaire. The preparation will take approximately 1-2 hrs. We’re looking forward to receiving your application – Good Luck!

  1. Why are you working in music and what has been a groundbreaking moment in your professional career (max. 500 characters, excluding links and websites)
  2. Please provide a short biography (max. 500 characters)
  3. What do you see as the biggest opportunities for the European music market? (max 1000 characters) 
  4. Why is the Task Force exactly the right thing for you to do right now? What would you like to change in the current system of the music industry? (max. 750 characters)
  5. What skills and experiences do you hope to gain from participating in the programme? What skills do you bring yourself? (List max. three each) 
  6. Name three reasons a friend or colleague would tell us to pick you.
  7. Choose at least one topic you would like to focus on in the program and explain why Examples: entrepreneurship, international networks, music and advertising, diversity, data analytics, music and tech, artist development, music policy, etc. (max. 1000 characters, link to report)
  8. Anything else you want us to know about you/be aware of (leave out if no)? (max. 500 characters

 

Important dates:

The application deadline is March 20th 2023 12.00 CET!

Selection process:

March 20 at 12.00 CET: Deadline for applications.
March 29: Selected participants will be informed.
March 29: Deadline for confirming your participation.

Please note, the first meetup is during SPOT Festival (DK) on May 2nd – May 7th 2023!

  • Workshop 1: SPOT Festival and the SPOT+ Festival conference in Aarhus, Denmark (5th – 6th of May  2023).
  • Workshop 2: Reeperbahn Festival and the Reeperbahn Festival Conference in Hamburg, Germany (20th – 23rd of September 2023).
  • Workshop 3: Iceland Airwaves and the Airwaves Pro Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland (2nd – 4th of November 2023).
  • Workshop 4: Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) and the ESNS Conference in Groningen, Netherlands (2024). 
  • Workshop 5: Tallinn Music Week and Conference in Tallinn, Estonia (2024)

 

Astrid Storm Thorsen, DK

Astrid started as a Spinnup Scout in 2017 and quickly became a full time project manager and A&R at Universal Music Denmark, working with names such as Tessa and Emil Kruse. Since then, she occasionally appears as a guest expert on radio and podcasts, as well as being the Scandinavian ambassador for COLORS.

Last year she was awarded the prize of one of Nordic Music Biz’s ‘20 under 30’ and in 2020 Astrid was offered an A&R position at Universal’s label Copenhagen Records.

Colm O'Herlihy, IS

Colm O’Herlihy is founder of INNI, which is an independent music company based in Iceland that represents a diverse roster of producers, composers, and songwriters.

Based between Reykjavik and Los Angeles, INNI – the first Icelandic publishing company to be established in the country – was formed by Colm and film composer Atli Orvarsson in 2019. As well as offering publishing services, INNI also works as an independent record label and music production house.

Colm got his start in music when The Smiths’ frontman, Morrissey, signed his band to his own signature label, Attack Records. Since then, Colm has toured the globe as a guitarist for artists such as Joan Shelley, Grant Hart (Hüsker Dü), and more. In 2014, he moved from Ireland to Reykjavik and managed two labels, Bedroom Community and Mengi Records. There he saw a niche for a specialised music publishing company in the heart of the music scene of Iceland. In 2019, he launched the company with film composer, Atli Örvarsson.

Freddie Aitken, UK

As the Membership Officer at London Youth Choirs, Trustee and F&A member at The National Foundation for Youth Music, and co-founder of Manchester-based electronic music collective, Traffic, Freddie’s career in music has grown to focus on empowering and supporting the next generation of music makers to develop a passion for music that will hopefully be a source of joy and fulfilment throughout their lives.

After missing his first year studying Social Anthropology at university through illness, he returned to the city of Manchester (UK) and developed a love for the wonderful techno scene. This led to him running a DIY record label and club night focussed on supporting and highlighting local emerging talent, Traffic. Seeing an opportunity to develop his knowledge in how to do this more effectively, Freddie began volunteering at Brighter Sound, a music charity that (among other things) provides music-making and music career education opportunities to emerging industry professionals and young people. This led to him being appointed as a full-time member of the team, working on trans-European projects and playing a key role in Manchester’s membership in the Music Cities Network. It was through this work that he learned the potential for positive change that European collaboration could bring about in the music industry.

Hildur Maral, IS

Hildur is Marketing Coordinator for booking agency and concert promoter smash!bang!pow! (DK). Starting her career in her teens as a music radio show host, she has since held various positions within artist-, event-, PR- and label management. Hildur studied creative leadership, business, process and project management at the Kaospilots and holds a MA in Global Entertainment and Music Business from Berklee College of Music.

It was through Hildur´s job with Iceland Music Export over a decade ago at The Great Escape showcase festival that she came across a man who she would later form a management firm with. This chance encounter was one of many such events that would clearly show her that if one was open to new opportunities, having the support of music export offices or similar institutions was fundamental in building a career in music. Many other such events would later occur, be it touring in Japan via a cross-country collaborative grant, or attending showcase festivals around the world which would lead to record deals and more collaborations. One thing is for sure – that each event played a massive role in Hildur´s career.

Jens Uhre Karlsson, DK

Jens has been managing the death metal band BAEST since the beginning of October 2015. He started out as a helping hand, taking care of the essentials for an upcoming band: communications, marketing and the early steps in terms of touring. He finished his Bachelor’s degree in Information Science and worked as a social media manager for a local ad agency up until he was hired full time for the local booking agency, Skandinavian, in 2018. Since 2018, he has represented a small handful of bands in different genres on the booking and touring side, while managing BAEST and upcoming projects. In January 2020, he started his own booking agency, Backbeat Music, and joined forces with Heartbeat Management, strengthening his setup for global growth. Working with BAEST and other signings has given him the opportunity to learn more about the music industry, from the very upcoming, underground to the more mainstream. He has learned from some of the best people in the industry and has taken great inspiration from the ideas of sustainability and integrity – features he admires and hopes to enforce in the projects in which he is involved. He believes in cooperation and always seeks new inspiration.

Jørgen S. Avnsnes, NO

Jørgen works as a manager at Made Management in Bergen, Norway. Made represents some of Norway’s biggest artists and producers, among them AURORA and Sigrid. He’s had an unlikely road into the music industry, at least at first: working as a carpenter building houses in his hometown of Bergen, volunteering at festivals, as well as working in the bar on the biggest concerts in the city, starting with Metallica.

While this was at this point just a hobby, he’s always thought about how people started to work with music, and at one point planned to promote concerts with his friend, but quickly aborted the idea as the rights involved and tasks seemed daunting for the pair.

Chance would have it that Jørgen’s girlfriend was moving to London to finish her Bachelor’s in Film and TV, and he decided to join her, where he finished a Bachelor of Science and Arts in Music and Entertainment Industry Management at the University of Hertfordshire. He then went on to work at Decca Records, pitching AURORA to the label, which in turn led to him working at Made Management, via Brak, a non-profit organisation for the music industry in western Norway, and as a CEO of Buzz, an investment fund owned by Bergen County focussed on investing in local music companies.

Maria Riedel Borg, DK

Maria is Digital Partners and Export Manager for disco:wax, No3 and One Seven Music based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her passion for music developed alongside her education in Musicology and Modern Culture from Copenhagen University, where she specialised in music management and female representation in culture. Concurrently with her studies, she started her career in the music business as a Scout and later as an A&R Coordinator.

After a short time, Maria expanded her network within the music industry and realised her motivation for working with music in international markets. In continuation of this, the company and Maria created a new position with a focus on export and international relations, which has been developing rapidly. Now she is focussing on streaming and international marketing strategies and has the overall responsibility for presenting and pitching music projects to internal and external partners.

Oskar Pullinen, FI

Oskar works as a publishing A&R at Elements Music. Elements Music is Finland’s leading independent music publishing company and Oskar is running the international creative activity of the company. As an A&R, he represents songwriters and producers, organises songwriting sessions, and pitches songs to record labels, artists, and managers. Oskar holds an MA in Musicology from Åbo Akademi University and he has minored in Music Production and International Marketing.

Even though Oskar had been a musician his whole life, his actual journey into the music industry started with an internship at Music Finland, the music export office of Finland. Music Finland has a very central role in the Finnish music industry and it works closely with all Finnish labels, publishers, and management companies. During the internship, Oskar got to know a lot of key people in the industry. As Music Finland works with music export, the internship created a good base for Oskar to start creating an international network and he quickly grew accustomed to handling international affairs on a daily basis. Through these networks, Oskar gained mentors and these people play an important role in how Oskar works today.

Sandra Perens, EE

Sandra works as an A&R Manager for Tier Music Publishing, a company in Tallinn, Estonia and as an Event Coordinator at the Arvo Pärt Centre. She studied cultural management at the University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy and has an MBA in International Business Management from Estonian Business School. The start of her career in the music industry can be traced to 2011, when she first met the head of Tallinn Music Week (TMW) through one of her teachers in Viljandi. First starting out as an assistant, she soon progressed to the head of programme for the festival. 

While still working for TMW, Sandra was able to finish her studies, have two internships abroad, start her MBA studies and also start working for the newly formed music export office as the first international project manager. The internships abroad and career opportunities that have followed have all been possible thanks to the connections made while working at TMW. After leaving the festival, she has been the Executive Assistant and Ticket Sales Manager at the largest dance music festival in the Baltic countries, Weekend Festival Baltics, and a Marketing Manager for the Baltic Region at Sony Music Entertainment, before settling into her current positions. 

Sjoerd Vriesema, NL

Sjoerd Vriesema, from Groningen, The Netherlands started coaching emerging artists as a creative manager so that he could develop his own artistic career. As ‘Stuart Mavis’, he released an EP on Sony Music Entertainment Benelux and played more than 300 shows, including at Eurosonic Noorderslag. Today, he uses the experience gained from his years as an artist to help grassroots artists with their careers, but also to make connections between municipalities, education programs, organisations and talents in the Northern Netherlands. Sjoerd is the lead in  multilingual co-creation projects, Wurdspøken and Wisselstroom, two projects that aim to develop artists through co-creation. He is also co-organiser of the official talent programme of ESNS, Hit the North and LEC, an international co-creation and exchange for hip-hop acts from four European cities. Sjoerd is also co-owner of the Lake Woozoo music studios in Leeuwarden, where he and his colleagues host artists-in-residencies and writing camps.

His first international experience as a project manager was when he travelled to Denmark in 2018 to support hip-hop artists from his city during an international writing camp in Aarhus. The connections and experiences these artists had gained through co-creation sparked a flame in his own motivation to work within the European periphery and seek more collaborations. He found a strong connection to the Music Cities Network (MCN) when, in the year of the pandemic, Lena Ingwersen invited him to contribute to an application to the European Commission for the Link Up Euro Connection, the first edition of which has just taken place successfully online in cooperation with Noordstaat. Sjoerd learned about the EMBTF through the MCN. His selection allowed him to increase his international network and opportunities in international exchange, which will benefit both the city of Groningen and the Northern region of the Netherlands. Sjoerd believes that sharing experiences and learning from other European professionals is an opportunity that you don’t get very often. Let’s work on that!

Tom Besford, UK

Tom runs English Folk Expo (EFEx), which supports the English folk, roots and acoustic music sector. EFEx delivers showcases, live events, artist mentoring, industry training, audience development, runs Manchester Folk Festival, hosts online learning platforms and produces the Official Folk Albums Chart. Tom is a member of the Greater Manchester Music Commission and is on the Steering Group of Manchester Music City. He is also an elected politician.

Tom was heavily involved in the Folk Society at Durham University, becoming President and overseeing the running of many folk events including IVFDF in 2010. On leaving university, he got a job in the Folkworks team at Sage Gateshead supporting the delivery of folk programmes for the organisation. During this time, he met Booking Agent Terry O’Brien who invited him to work on a newly created showcase, English Folk Expo. Tom continued to work part time on the showcase whilst building his full time career with roles in the Programming Team at the Royal Northern College of Music, as Head of Artist Liaison at Manchester International Festival and eventually as Head of Culture for the Rochdale Boroughwide Cultural Trust. When English Folk Expo joined Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisation in 2018, Tom left his full time role to become its first Chief Executive. Since then, Tom has overseen the expansion of the organisation from a singular annual showcase to the broad music charity it is today, creating new programmes, building a board and fundraising to quadruple the size of the organisation. Tom has consistently worked for charities supported through Arts Council England, Local Authorities and Trusts and Foundations. In 2019, Tom was elected to Rochdale Council as the Labour Councillor for Littleborough Lakeside.

Victoria Brüker, DE

Victoria Brüker (M.A.) is a booking agent, artist, and project manager of Hamburg-based music agency OHA! Music. She started wandering down the path of pop culture and music during her studies of media and philosophy in Bochum (DE), Antwerp (BE), and Hamburg (DE). After collecting professional and international experiences in film, she worked as a PR and social media manager at OHA! Music, as a project manager at RockCity Hamburg e.V., and has now returned to OHA! Music’s artist department.

A chance encounter as a visitor of the Reeperbahn Festival led to her first job in the music business where she found her passion for the industry through mentoring and trust. After having worked on a European level in film, Victoria realised that she wanted to expand her network internationally in music as well to develop valuable exchange and drive change. This mindset led to an awareness of international programmes, to the application for the EMBTF, and eventually to the first important steps towards a European career by making meaningful connections and creating a network of like-minded people.

Partners

PROMUS
Promus is the community and networking center for both the music industry and the musicians in Denmark. Located in Aarhus, our main objective is to focus on the city’s rich tradition for new music talent. We see ourselves as the bridge between the established music business and the new emerging talent and are constantly working on tying to two together through networking arrangements, courses and seminars, workshops, mentor programs, business advice and office facilities.

MUSIC CITIES NETWORK
The Music Cities Network (MCN) is a transnational non-profit association embracing the collaboration of music cities around the globe. With synergies that arise from a holistic approach, gaps between all music city stakeholders are bridged: policy makers, city marketing strategists, music business professionals and artists work towards a future-proofed creation of sustainable and resilient music ecosystems. The Network was initiated by the Cities of Aarhus, Hamburg, Sydney, Sound Diplomacy, and Hamburg Music. In 2021, the MCN was founded as an independent transnational association.

Current member cities are Aarhus, Bergen, Berlin, Gothenburg, Groningen, Hamburg, Manchester, Reykjavik, and Sydney.

Each Music City is represented by a professional music business organisation or represented directly by their respective city councils invested in the network.

KAOSPILOTS
Kaospilot is an education platform based in Aarhus, Denmark founded in 1991. It is a three-year programme focussing on Enterprising Leadership. People are educated to drive results and to create transformation as changemakers, entrepreneurs, and leaders. Kaospilot offers a wide range of programmes for professionals in Denmark and abroad, too. The school has been a partner in the programme, Music Management, run by the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus.

REYKJAVIK MUSIC CITY
In 2018, the City of Reykjavík established the Reykjavík Music City project whose aim is to create favorable conditions for musical activities throughout the city. To ensure an ongoing vibrant and diverse music sector, the City of Reykjavík supports the local music scene in several ways. Reykjavík’s yearly cultural funding supports a wide variety of music
projects, and the Festival City project currently features two music festivals (Iceland Airwaves and Dark Music Days) that receive generous funding from the city. RMC is also a member city of the MCN since 2018, which – together with their in-depth music scene knowledge and innovative solutions to challenges – makes them the perfect fourth partner in this EMBTF consortium.
It is the combination of these organisations’ strengths that will make this project successful, and the training offer more inclusive, more assertive to people and European music market’s needs, more updated and more upskilling at internal level (partners’ staff) and external level (Task Forces). While Kaospilot provides educational support, PROMUS, Music Cities Network and Reykjavik Music City provide the specific music connections, in terms of knowledge, contacts, locals and other possibilities that may arise.

Behind the project

 

 

 

 

Tallinn Music Week

Music Industry Voices

Visibility is the first step in creating change. 

In Music Industry Voices, we come together with professionals from the music industry, listening to their stories about how they started out working in the industry, got to their first jobs, what challenges were faced and which opportunities arose. This way, we are making career paths more visible, disclosing opportunities to those who are starting to work in the industry just now, and inspiring those who are searching a new path in their career.  

Music Industry Voices is to be understood as an ever-evolving platform, growing with the stories told. Tune in, lean back and listen to us detangling ourselves in our careers on air.

MIV emerged from the European Music Business Task Force (EMBTF), a Creative Europe funded training programme facilitating a transnational innovative leadership masterclass  for  12 emerging European music business professionals by the globally acting Music Cities Network, and the in Aarhus Denmark based Music Organization Promus and the Creative Leadership experts KaosPilots (Aarhus). The podcast is hosted by Freddie Aitken, Manchester-based Membership Officer at London Youth Choirs, Trustee and F&A member at The National Foundation for Youth Music. He is also the co-founder of Manchester-based electronic music collective Traffic and – last but not least – proud member of the first EMBTF Cohort. 

Jingle produced and provided by Sjoerd Vriesema
Cover produced and provided by Franz Thöricht
Podcast production by Sabrina Dehati 
Supervision by Lena Ingerwersen and Jeppe Rasmussen
Facilitation by the Music Cities Network and Promus

Photo credits:  Juliette Rowland

Photo credits:  Juliette Rowland

Photo credits:  Juliette Rowland

Photo credits:  Juliette Rowland

Photo credits:  Juliette Rowland

Photo credits:  Juliette Rowland

Photo credits:  Juliette Rowland

Feel free to contact us

 

Lena Ingwersen
lena@musiccitiesnetwork.com

 

Jeppe Rasmussen
jeppe@musiccitiesnetwork.com