What do you seek in a music event? Conference provide a meeting point for professionals, enterprises, artists and music aficionados in love with all aspects of the music industry. That’s a great opportunity to meet new people, make new business and learn more about a fast-shifting universe.
Besides the business aspect, many expos and conferences also aim to debate transformational proposals for the society. Events in such format see creative, bookish, innovative and entrepreneurial delegates, who question traditional values and encourage new ideas. This way, they became important tools used in order to overcome the the economic, religious, racial and cultural barriers imposed on many parts of the world, particularly those grappling with conflict or a huge social gap.
In December, SIM Sao Paulo will fly its many flags, firmly established in the world calendar for expos and conferences. Delegates from every corner of the planet meet here. Stay tuned for the calendar of everything that happens throughout the year.
This map include an (almost) complete list of music conventions spread throughout the globe. Did we miss out on an event? Let us know!
We have selected a list of expos and conferences of which we have already taken part and which we recommend for you!
New York, USA
The International Society for the Performing Arts is a not-for-profit international network with more than 400 professionals, organizations and performance arts institutions from more than 50 countries across the globe. Twice a year, the ISPA congress sees its delegates debate new market tendencies, strengthen relationships and promote exchange. In January, the first traditional meeting takes place in New York, the second one being in a different city each year. In 2019, it was Guadalajara in Mexico, as part of the FIMPRO program. The cities that will host the event in the next two years are Taipei, in Taiwan (2020) and Reykjavik, in Iceland (2021).
Folk Alliance International
New Orleans, USA
The conference is organised by the eponymous enterprise, and each year it welcomes a global community of folk music in the cradle of jazz. One of the biggest industry meeting points for folk music, it includes attractions and professionals from the entire planet, as well as a wide spectrum of genres such as blues, bluegrass, Celtic music, indigenous beats, Latins sounds and other traditional presentations by singers and composers, and the spoken world. It’s also held in different cities of the world.
This event welcomes artists from countries such as South Africa, Uganda, Ethiopia and Germany, plus other African and European nations. There are approximately 1,000 people circulating each day between the panels and the debates, where they discuss topics relevant to the local scene and to the young participant musicians, plus market stakeholders and emerging showcases of the African scene.
This pioneering event has been holding events every other year since 2005, where professional of the Brazilian and international industry alike meet with a focus on the extremely rich Brazilian and world music production. The event takes place just before carnival at the Arsenal Square, and it includes open concerts, as well as professionals from the entire globe taking part in debates, meetings, pitchs and other business and networking activities.
Feira da Música
This traditional Ceara fair has a trajectory of 18 years, taking place for four days at the Centro Dragao do Mar de Arte e Cultura, focused on the interactions between music and technology. Besides the concert line-up, round table discussions, pitches, talks, sector meetings, it also promotes a marathon for the development of new endeavors and technology tools for music.
South By Southwest is one of the most important and inspiring events for innovative professionals. It started in 1987 in Austin, Texas (USA) as a music week, and throughout the years it became the biggest creativity and innovation event in the world, adding cinema, gaming, education and technology to its program.
WME (Women's Music Event)
São Paulo, SP
The objective of the event is to increase female protagonism in the music market, and it therefore proposes a line-up composed exclusively of females. Professionals, artists, producers, journalists and other production chain agents meet up in March at WME.
MIL - Lisbon International Music Network
Stay tuned! MIL is the new music market event in Lisbon, and one of the most important entry points for the European industry. The expo attracts attracts professionals and artists from all over Europe and countries that speak Portuguese. Brazilian presence is stronger each year, and SIM has been MIL’s partner since its first edition in 2017.
Palestine Music Expo (PMX)
PMX held its third edition in 2019, allowing Palestinian artists to gain visibility in the international music market. The event touches on issues such as the right to mobility by taking international delegates to the region and the borders of Cisjordania, and the refugee camps. Musicians with restricted rights establish a dialogue with delegates from all parts of the planet, and they explain what it means to be an artist in a conflict zone.
Atlantic Music Expo
Praia, Cabo Verde
AME presents itself as a platform for transatlantic cultural exchange, with conferences, networking, business rounds and day and evening time showcases. Held on the island of Cabo Verde, its six editions connected professionals from the entire planet with the very best of African music.
Jazzahead!, like its name suggests, is a meeting point for the international jazz scene. Since its first edition in 2006, the event enriched the local and national culture with a wide spectrum of styles, plus a broad program including the international fair and a jazz film festival.
c /o pop
C /o pop Festival focuses on sectors such as the publicity industry and digital economics. Its program includes concerts, panels, keynote speakers, workshops and training aimed at practical solutions for the future.
Since 2011, and held by Puglia Sounds, this event is a reference for the Italian music market that wishes to connect with the international scene. During four days, the proposed professional activities aim to develop the local scene and to foster the establishment of artistic and commercial networks between Italy and the rest of the world. Inside MEDIMEX, there is also a festival with big international names.
Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Previously known as Rio Content Market, Rio2C is focused on the audiovisual industry. Two years ago it opened up its spake for the music market and became Rio2C. Amongst the creativity and new business streams, you will find the Festivalia program, where the public has access to exclusive performances, workshops and panels.
Canadian Music Week
The Canadian Music Week is now on its 37th edition, and it’s one of the largest events aimed at the music business in North America. Its seven-day program includes panels, workshops and debates, with key guests from the industry, plus performances from hundreds of bans in more than 30 venues in the city center.
Classical: NEXT is an event aimed at the global scene for classical music. It doesn’t just strengthen tradition, it also uncover new innovative paths focused both on the commercial and the creative sectors.
A new meeting point for musicians, producers, journalists, professors, radio presentes and entrepreneurs of both the music and the culture sectors in the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo and the rest of the country. The event addresses topics relevant to the constant transformations of the music scene.
The Great Escape
One of the largest events for new music in Europe and likely the biggest one in the UK, The Great Escape has been taking place since 2006, and its focus and music trends. Every year, the participants have access to more than 500 emerging artists from every corner of the planet, in 30 venues across the city.
The Feria Internacional de la Música (FIMPRO) is the biggest conference of Mexico and one of the biggest of Latin America. The event connects artist and professional from the entire Latin American continent, plus a non-Latin country as a special guest.
Another platform for music professionals of Latin America, AMPM also aims to promote and to integrate the music in the continent with other regions of the planet interest in the Latin output.
One of the oldest music industry events in the world (founded in 1967) was also one of the biggest in the 1980s and 1990s. Nowadays, Midem remains as one of the most important meeting points for the phonographic industry. Each year, it invests more in technology content. It’s essential for labels, record companies, publishers, streaming platforms and others.
Brazil is an enormous country with a very diversified culture. Regional meetings target the specific reality of each locality. In the case of FIMS, it aims to give visibility to the scene of Southern Brazil, and to strengthen the connection with the rest of the country.
One of the coolest festivals in the world, Primavera Sound has a conference attached to it: Primavera Pro. It has been welcoming international delegates for more than 10 years in order to discuss the market and the future of music. It’s considered one of the largest professionals meeting points in Europe. To boot, Primavera Pro is also an entry door for emerging groups from every corner of the planet who wish to take part in the Festival
Tenerife/Canary Island Spain
The event has been taking place in Tenerife, in the Canary Island, for three years, and it’s establishing itself as a meeting point for concert professionals from Southern Europe, Latin America and Africa. Artists and those in charge of music, theater, dance, circus and street performance events get together on the Spanish island for a business round and also for a line-up of 166 artists, enterprises and agencies from approximately 40 countries in 2019.
CoMA is a blend of festival and conference. It was launched in 2017 in Brasilia and it’s in line with the trends observed in the most important cultural hubs across the globe. Despite being in its infancy, the event has already firmly established itself as one of the most interesting in the country’s capital, particularly due to its strong artistic program and robust festival structure.
Mercat de Música Viva de Vic (MMVV)
Vic, Catalunha, Spain
This is one of the most important music events of Spain. The fair - which has more than 30 years of history - aims to make Catalonian music recognized by international delegates. The program also includes acts from other regions of Spain, Europe and Latin America, both traditional and contemporary sounds. The concerts take place both in the central square of Vic, a city just north of Barcelona, as well as in small venues and in the modern Atlántida complex.
This is one of the biggest music hubs of Europe, with more than 40,000 visitors and 900 performance in each edition. The names comes from the eponymous street, located in the bohemian part of town, where the performances are spread in more than 70 stages. Despite the small Brazilian presence, it’s important to highlight the eclectic nature of the line-up, which includes artists from various music genre and many regions of the planet.
Belo Horizonte, MG
Música Mundo is an international event for music professionals including a business round, meet-ups and numerous opportunities to establish a dialogue between artists, producers and national and international guests. World music showcases are also a highlight, energizing the local scene while also attracting artists from other parts of Brazil and the world.
Imesur is a music fair taking place every year in Chile. Each edition pays tribute in one specific Latin American country. In 2019 it’s Mexico’s turn, with its circulation and music production at the forefront. In general, the event aims to improve the connection between musicians, agencies, managers and producers of the Southern Cone with the chosen country in order to better understand the requirements of the local industry and to find potential partners in the region.
Launched by friends and workmates in 2002, POP Montreal became a permanent attraction on the Montreal and festival map and the international music circuit. Each year, the five-day event presents more than 400 artists for audiences of more than 60,000. This year in order to celebrate its 18th anniversary, attractions such as Laurie Anderson, Tirzah, Aldous Harding, Kokoko! And the Sao Paulo collective Teto Preto have already been confirmed.
Bogotá Music Market (BOmm) is a platform for the promotion and circulation organized by the Bogota Commerce Chamber, as part of the support program for the creative and cultural industries. The focus is to promote national music. This way, the event offer opportunities for Colombian musicians who wish to present their production and output to brands, publishers, national and international festivals.
Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE)
This event is recognized as an international hub for the creative industry around electronic music. ADE is one of the largest events in the world, and it consists of two streams: ADE By Day and (conference and festival) and ADE by Night) (festival only), with more than 1,000 activities in almost 200 locations. Amsterdam literally breathes electronic music for five days and nights.
This itinerant event sees 3,000 professionals, 300 artists and 90 countries meet up in order to discuss the global market. This is one of the most important world music events on the planet, covering all genres, from underground to classical music. The structure of the expo is impressive: seven stages, more than 700 enterprises, 100 speakers, movies and ceremonies.
MaMA Festival & Convention
In 2018 alone, MaMA welcomed almost 6,000 music professionals, organising 150 concerts and 150 panels, debates and roundtables - all of this in just three days. The events opens up the gates of France to those looking to expand their horizons, make new contacts and business in all sectors of the music industry. Mama is held at the bohemian districts of Paris: Pigalle and Montmatre.
Oslo World takes a global look at the current music scene, with a special focus on the sounds of Africa, Latin America, Asia and Middle East. The aim of the festival hasn’t changed at all since its foundation in 1994: to take the world to Oslo and vice-versa.
Festivals aren’t just for the summer, like BIME demonstrates. The event is firmly established in autumn. Since its beginnings in 2013, the concerts take place at the Bilbao Exhibition Centre. The past years have seen acts such as Imagine Dragons, The Chemical Brothers, PJ Harvey, Suede, The National, and many more. In addition to the concerts, BIME PRO is targeted at the digital and music industries, exploring new entry paths and collaboration through new technologies.
Febre (Portuguese for “fever”) is an event that aims to shake the city of Sorocaba, in the state of Sao Paulo. Interesting artists that circulate through the state capitals of Brazil can be found there. Original work receives special attention. The Festival takes place during three days and it has an “occupy” format, with performances spread of various stages, plus meeting and educational activities.
Think of the most varied expressions of Latin America in one single place? We are talking about the event that aims to bring together artists, producers, agents, professors, journalists, entrepreneurs and various professionals in order to discuss the market in two convergence areas: culture and business. The event is now 10 years old, with more than 1,500 people representing 20 countries, and a program of 30 panels and 35 concerts.
Indie Week is a festival for emerging artists in Canada, with five days and nights of music. It takes place in the center of Toronto, where artists are invited to take part in the conference Indie 101, with panels, mentorships, B2B meetings, auditioning, etc.
VISA for music
This project was born out of a paradox: on one hand, the lack of visibility of African and Middle Eastern artists in the international market. On the other hand, the presence of the artistic dynamics and the very rich music creative output. The focus of VISA is to promote African and Middle Eastern music throughout the world.
M for Montreal
M for Montreal is a music conference and festival that takes place every November and showcases approximately 100 emerging local and international bands in 15 spots across town. Since 2006, the objective of the fair is to become a meeting point for industry professionals and artists from every corner of the planet, generating career development opportunities.
Trans Musicales has been taking place since 1979. It has progressively acquired a regional, then a national, then a European, and then a worldly dimension (which it holds currently). The philosophy of the festival is made real by exploratory work, encouraging the discovery of new music movements and, while also highlighting young artists.
SIM São Paulo
São Paulo, SP
Sao Paulo Music Week wraps up the event calendar, and it’s the biggest one in Latin America. The topics addressed include the new music market, and the debate around new ideas and concepts that are transforming the international scenario, plus enabling and connecting people. There are 3,500 delegates, 90 panels, more than 400 performances and 40,000 people circulating during the five days of the event.
Translation: Victor Fraga