Business for breakfast

by Shulun Huang

Hungry for Business? Photo: Soyoun Park

Hungry for Business? Photo: Soyoun Park

How would you like to start your day? Perhaps with some coffe, milk, fresh juice and a traditional rye bread? How about signing a new contract for your band? Musicians, labels and representatives from different companies gathered at the Scandinavian Conference Center on Saturday, to join the networking area hosted by big names of music industry like Believe Digital and MXD. Walking around, coffee in hands, seizing an opportunity for selling, sharing, creating their music business together. That was the atmosphere of the networking area of SPOT+, the first edition of the business conference part of Spot Festival.

Torsten Mewes, head of Marketing and Label Relations of Believe Digital, the company hosting the morning event, says that a more informal networking area can make everyone who participates feel comfortable to join. He explains that the goal is to operate like a ferry, trying to carry musicians, labels, audience to a same destination.

Indeed, many artists are ready to go onboard. The Bongo Club, a Swedish band perfoming for the first time at Spot, might not be widely known by everyone – but they have posters hanging everywhere, including in their own backs.

The Bongo Band has its own way of advertising. Photo: Shulun Huang

The Bongo Band has its own way of advertising. Photo: Shulun Huang

“We do not have label to support us, we need to earn money by ourselves”, says Erik Ahlblom, one of the members. They have been in a band for five years, and besides the musicians professions, they have different, part-time jobs, like working in phone service company, warehouse, and marketing field. They claim to enjoy the networking event espeacially after brunch time, when people switch coffe for beer, arguing that this even-more informal environment makes it easier to make contacts and enjoy chatting with future partners.

Aarhus, European capital of networking
When it comes to finding new ways to survive in the new music scene, not only artists and labels are interested in finding strategies. In between big companies and small bands, representatives from different organizations working in the music industry also showed up at SPOT+. And not only from Scandinavian countries. Oliver Pearson, from Sony/ATV Music Publishing arranged a trip with a group of 30 people, working for several music companies, to come to Spot Festival, searching for ideas on how to develop new strategies for the area. Also spotted at the area were PR companies working for musicians, such as Nordic By Nature, from Berlin, and music unions like Musicbusiness 2020 from Copenhagen which is trying to gather free unions with musicians and composers.

Relaxing area at SPOT+. Photo: Soyoun Park

Relaxing area at SPOT+. Photo: Soyoun Park

A Taste of Joy

Jake Beaumont-Nesbitt,policy advisor of IMMF, Internation Music Management Forum, says the breakfast networking event is a creative idea, adding a “taste of joy” to the business talk. During the opening of Spot Festival, he stated that “the music industry is gone”, claiming that it is time to do something different. He stresses that streaming service is extremly important as a new basis of business model, as it gives opportunity for start-up independent bands to sell their music and win their audience.


Shulun is a Chinese journalist studying an Erasmus Mundus Master’s that allows her to experience life at universities in both Aarhus and London. She is a contributor for Jutland Station.