ESNS 2021; ESNS conference program taking shape with more speakers confirmed

Having already announced that conference and showcase festival ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) will be a fully digital edition in 2021, the conference program is now taking shape with more speakers and discussion topics announced. Taking place from 13 to 16 January 2021, the main focus of the 35th edition of ESNS will be moving forward and the ‘the road to recovery’ with key speakers including; Aly Gillan (Bandcamp), Anita Barisic (Warner Chappell), Claire O’Neill (A Greener Festival, Helen Sildna (Tallinn Music Week), Keith Harris (Keith Harris Music Ltd), Michael Chugg (Michael Chugg Entertainment), Michal Kascak (Pohoda Festival), Sammy Andrews (Deviate Digital), Scott Cohen (Warner Music), Steve Strange (X-Ray Touring), Tom Windish (Paradigm Talent Agency).

We all want to go ahead with our music and our business, but the fact is that we are all still in ‘waiting mode’. What does ‘the road to recovery’ of our beloved music sector look like and when are we allowed to start up again? What’s the status on the vaccine and when can we finally go ahead with test events and instant testing? Is streaming here to stay? How does the pandemic affect the work of songwriters and performing artists? What will VR and AR add to our live experiences? These are all questions and subjects that ESNS will aim to give the necessary insights into during their conference.

Joining the already announced keynotes and panel speakers is Steve Strange of X-Ray Touring, agent for Queens of the Stone Age, Eminem, and Coldplay who will feature in a keynote interview with the famous promoter Michael Chug.

Other new additions include Sam Distaso, Vice President of Business Development at Sandar and responsible for introducing the world to cutting-edge virtual live event technology, Justin Bennington, founder and first engineer at Somewhere Systems, based in New York City which builds bleeding-edge AR experiences for the music industry and others and Ryan Miller, CEO, Club Quarantaene, who will discuss the new and exciting virtual world of VR and AR.

Addressing the re-start of live activities, ESNS presents the ‘Successful Covid-19 Festival Formats’ with Michal Kascak (Pohoda Festival), Helen Sildna (Tallinn Music Week), Kate Wenster (Base Camp Festival) and Raphael Meyersieck (Electrisize Festival), moderated by Gordon Masson (IQ Magazine).

Rutger Ansley Rosenborg, Digital Strategy Lead and Jason Joven, Manager Content and Insights at Chartmetric will host two presentations on streaming analytics. The first, will look at the effect of COVID-19 on the global music business: data of live streaming suggest that when artists go live on Instagram and/or YouTube, existing fans are more likely to engage and new fans will follow. Followed by ‘International Trigger Cities for European Artists; according to analysis of Trigger Cities in Southeast Asia and Latin America, European artists might want to consider looking beyond North America and Northern & Western Europe to find streaming success, connect with highly engaged audiences, and, eventually, tour.

Keeping it on the subject of streaming; Bandcamp’s Aly Gillani, the European Label Representative, will take part in a panel discussion on ‘How to get the most out of your live streaming concerts’, hosted by Helienne Lindvall. More panel speakers to follow.

The Dutch spoken panel ‘Live streaming: this is the way forward’ will see the participation of Michiel Laan, Manager Online at copyright organisation Buma/Stemra, artist manager and music entrepreneur Marc Hofstede of Ambassadors of Entertainment, singer-songwriter Ed Struijlaart and Maurice Endeman, general manager of the venue Het Podium in Hoogeveen that launched the live streaming concept Locked & Live, talking to moderator Martijn Crama.

The European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA) calls for an open debate with various parties to have a critical look at the business- and revenue-models and discuss the way we can create a ‘fair music value chain’ for all parties, with Aafke Romeijn (from BAM! Popauteurs) as moderator and Arriën Molema (ECSA board member and songwriter), Helen Smith (IMPALA) and Annabella Coldrick (MMF) as panel members.

The Dutch Music Publishers Organization NMUV will shine a light on how they deal with talent scouting and development during Covid-times, also going into the matter of creating new material if working closely together in studios or writing sessions is limited. Bobby Sukhraj, music publisher, producer and manager at Houston Comma, will discuss the art of songwriting during Corona crisis with Anita Barisic, AR/Creative Manager at Warner Chappell and Daan Determeijer, A&R responsible at MusicAllStars Publishing, a sister-company of the world’s leading dance label Spinnin‘.

The Dutch composers and artist organization BAM! Popauteurs will discuss the effect of the pandemic in regard to the daily routine and work of composers and musicians with Dutch artists like San Holo, Áslaug, Pip Blom and Bas van Wageningen (Di-rect), with Rita Zipora moderating this panel.

Previously announced panels and speakers include;

Keith Harris, a music industry veteran, longtime manager of Stevie Wonder and chairman of the Equality and Diversity Taskforce for the Music Industry, will be talking with Sammy Andrews (Deviate Digital) about equality and racism in the music industry.

Tom Windish & Mike Malak (agents with Paradigm for Billie Eilish, Diplo, Alt.J, Pusha T, Black Eyed Peas, among others) in conversation with Cherie Hu (Founder, Water & Music) on: The bigger picture: Looking beyond traditional roles

Scott Cohen, co-founder of the Orchard and now Chief Innovation Officer at Warner Music will be interviewed by Muki Kulhan. Scott will talk about how record companies have dealt with the challenges that have arisen and what their future might look like.

Claire O’Neill, co-founder and director at A Greener Festival and producer of the annual Green Events & Innovations Conference, will talk about the importance of sustainability.

Stay SOUND & CHECK yourself; Prof. Dr. Katja Ehrenburg will have a conversation with Holger Jan Schmidt (Go Group); an in-depth panel on stress and mental health in the live music and festival industry before, during and after the pandemic.

CEO and analyst at MIDiA Research, Mark Mulligan, leading thinker on the music industry’s digital transition, will go into ‘Growth drivers: the new trends that will shape the music business in 2021’, with topics such as ‘the rise of the new creator ecosystem’, ‘how micro communities can fix artist income’, ‘live streaming as a permanent new format’ and ‘UGC music 2.0’.

Meetings and sessions
Also confirmed are the Yourope Members meetings, a Health & Safety Seminar, the European Broadcast Union-meeting on data per European market off EBU radio stations supporting national talent in the Covid period, and the IMMF-session on government support for the music industry per European country.

ESNS Registrations
The ticket price for a digital ESNS is € 50,-. This includes access to the digital environment with live streams, on demand panels, keynotes, sessions and showcases, access to a networking platform and database.

Tickets for ESNS 2021 will give a year round access to the program and database of this digital edition and discount on the registration of the subsequent edition in 2022. Registrations are available through

ESNS Debates
The next episode of ESNS DEBATES is scheduled for Thursday 19 November, 7 pm — live via the ESNS YouTube, about the state of affairs with regard to clubs and venues in Europe. Recent published research executed by the European association for music venues Live DMA shows the harsh reality of the impact of the pandemic; 664,000 artist performances cancelled this year alone, more than 53 million people not visiting a live show (a decline of 76%), an estimated loss of income of €1.2 billion loss during 2020. A panel with Elise Phamgia (Liveurope), Arne Dee (Live DMA), Beverley Whitrick (Music Venue Trust), Lluís Torrents Cruz (Sala Razzmatazz, Miles Away Promotions, ASACC) and Anya Della Croce (PETZI, Switzerland).

A third panel ‘Do It For The Culture’ is planned for early December and will focus on the importance of investing in culture especially in these troubled times. A definite date will follow soon.

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