MDLBEAST has unveiled programming details and initial line up of speakers for their XP Music conference, the first of its kind in the Middle East. The three-day and night event will take place in Riyadh from 13th – 15th December and will host a large number of leading industry figures, regional and international, who will address topics that are essential for the amplification and evolution of the region’s music industry.
Ramadan Alharatani, CEO of MDLBEAST, said: “The XP conference will help accelerate the growth of the music industry across the Middle East. We’re bringing together the most forward-thinking people from the world of music who will offer their insights and expertise to provoke conversation and incite positive action to grow our music industry.”
Attending audiences will represent diverse backgrounds including labels, publishers, talent, NGOs, GOVs, events’ companies, entrepreneurs, and industry media. All activations will be categorised under four main pillars which are considered the building blocks of the development of the regional music industry: Talent, Scene, Policy, and Impact.
The Talent pillar at XP will be addressed through 12 activations that cover topics such as original content, professionalisation as well as technology. The conference will kick off with a live performance and a discussion panel that lays down the fundamental ingredients for success in music such as education, tech innovation and investments. The activations will also deal with cultural challenges facing professionalisation in the region, where music is yet to be perceived as a viable career path. When it comes to the role of technology in nurturing talent, the conference will feature a wide range of topics such as the latest production platforms, tools and innovations that can aid the progress of up-and-coming talent.
Among the speakers covering original content at XP will be Chaz Jenkins of Chartmetric, while the Kuwaiti duo, Sons of Yusuf, will be covering professionalisation. As for music and technology, Dr Peter Evans of Let The Music Pay, Janet Sawari of Sinofy Group and Eric Reithler-Barros of Let The Music Pay (dba RCRDSHP) will share their knowledge and experience.
The XP conference will feature day programs rich with informative content through a wide variety of activations including live performances, panels, workshops, Q&As, keynotes, fishbowl discussions and screenings, and the night program will include regional event brands with unique artist line ups performing across a range of stages, turning XP Music Conference into a platform to bring local and regional events’ brands to the surface.
The Scene pillar at XP will be addressed through 19 activations that cover topics such as nightlife; creative tourism, media and the copyrights collection society. Within this category a fishbowl conversation will take place to discuss the role music can play in putting a city on the global map, exploring the power of placemaking and connecting the audience with a certain location through music. The panels will also delve into the role of social media in promoting musical talent, the means of growing the music industry in KSA and the middle east music economy. Within this pillar, XP will host the screening of the docu-series Amplify, with four episodes covering the journey of MDLBEAST’s CCO and prominent Saudi DJ Baloo, as he explores the secret sauce of the nightlife scene in four cities: Amsterdam, New York, Berlin and Sarajevo. At XP, Baloo will bring back his experience to Riyadh to advocate for the nightlife scene as it grows to cater to the Saudi youth needs, enhances tourism, creates employment opportunities, and in turn, boosts the Saudi economy.
Among the confirmed speakers at XP covering creative tourism will be, Sustainable Tourism Specialist Nico Mulder at Mulder, while the media will be covered by Omar Basaad of Coexist Records along with consultant Alex Andarakis. As for the copyrights collection society, the speakers will be Moe Hamzeh, Managing Director at Warner Music Middle East , Irene Bauzá VP of Operations at Unison Rights and Mohammed Abood of Boxout.fm representing sessions such as; Copyrights: Important to All, Governing Future Music Rights with New Technologies and Understanding How an Artist Gets Paid.
The Policy pillar at XP will be addressed through 11 activations that cover topics such as advocacy and representation, music policies, as well as data collection and analytics. This category will cover several issues that are of huge importance for the industry in the region, such as empowering women in music and awareness of sexism within the industry, as well as ensuring that the voice of the music industry is heard by the decision makers. This category will also witness discussions between representatives of cities around the world that have successfully transformed their cities into music icons, in addition to a deep dive into the potential economic impact of the music industry on Saudi Arabia. The final session of this category will present a cultural report providing insights into the emerging music scene in the Middle East.
Among the confirmed speakers covering advocacy and representation at XP will be Andreea Magdalina of shesaid.so, while music policies will be covered by David Boyle of Audience Strategies LTD. Data collection and analytics will feature the experience of Christine Osazuwa of Pollen.
The Impact pillar at XP will be addressed through 9 activations that cover topics such as wellbeing, equality and social equity, as well as sustainability. The activations within this category will cover the means of hosting safe events in collaboration with public health institutions, in addition to a number of empowering stories of female musicians in emerging markets, as well as the building of an environmentally sustainable touring model within the Middle East music industry.
Among the confirmed speakers covering sustainability will be Mashael Alshalan of Aeon Strategy, while covering equality and social equity will be Tamtam, singer and musician, Megatronic of Femmefest. As for Labels and Publishers, the confirmed speaker is Karima Damir Director of A&R at Sony Music Entertainment.
Music professionals and fans from across the region can purchase their tickets for MDLBEAST’s music conference, XP through: https://xptickets.mdlbeast.com. The three-day event with a conference & nightlife aspect where local and regional artists will showcase the region’s budding nightlife; and will take place in Riyadh from 13th – 15th December.