“The MENA area will turn out to be a pioneer within the music trade.”

Progress within the MENA area has been a spotlight for the worldwide music trade in recent times.

In accordance world group for recorded music IFPIrecorded music market income within the Center East and North Africa grew by 35% in 2021, making it the quickest rising music area on this planet.

Furthermore, some 95.3% of that income within the wider area in 2021 was generated by music streaming.

Saudi Arabia, one of many main music markets within the MENA area, has a inhabitants of roughly 35.95 million And one web penetration fee of an enormous 98% of this complete inhabitants dimension.

The nation can also be house to distinguished Arabic music firm Rotana, which is taken into account the largest file label within the Center East, and not too long ago struck licensing offers with ICT Tac And Spotify.

Saudi Arabia’s mature digital footprint and lively home music market arguably make it a super location for a MENA-focused music trade convention, hosted because the XP Music Futures occasion. , the second version of which was held in November 2022.

“Saudi Arabia goes by means of an unimaginable transformation proper now,” says Nada Alhelabi, Director of Technique at MDLBEAST and Director of the XP Music Futures Program.

Alhelabi additional explains that the Saudi music trade used to function underneath the radar of the worldwide music trade, however Saudi music and leisure firm MDLBEAST goals to vary that by turning XP and its different managed occasions into key components. world music. Occasion calendar.

“Beforehand, our music neighborhood may solely thrive underground, however now we host main worldwide and regional artists and festivals with 1000’s of attendees,” says Alhelabi.

“XP Music Futures is our effort to convey collectively music trade profiles to community and collaborate.”

“Saudi Arabia goes by means of an unimaginable transformation proper now.”

Nada Alhelabi, MDLBEAST & XP Music Futures

MDLBEAST, the corporate behind XP, initially launched in 2019 as a music competition referred to as “MDLBEAST Soundstorm,” which it says on its web site “has been a cultural catalyst for youth Saudi”.

The corporate has since expanded to incorporate a file label, in addition to the XP Music Futures convention, which formally launched in 2021.

MDLBEAST’s SoundStorm Music Pageant, in the meantime, held within the capital Riyadh, was headlined in 2022 by superstars like Bruno Mars, DJ Khaled and Publish Malone.

Trying to the longer term, Alhelabi explains that MDLBEAST aspires to make a reputation for itself, not simply as an leisure firm, “however to develop the area’s music economic system and outline the subsequent era of music and leisure.”

“We wish it to encourage future generations to contemplate a profession within the trade and to advertise music as a car for job creation and innovation, making it a sustainable trade from which they will develop and construct. a strong expertise of worthwhile work”, explains Alhelabi.

Right here, Nada Alhelabi, Director of Technique at MDLBEAST and Director of the XP Music Futures Program, provides us an perception into the corporate’s origins, its plans for the longer term, and the challenges and alternatives for the music trade. in Saudi Arabia and the broader MENA area…

Inform us in regards to the response you have had from the worldwide music trade to the XP Music Futures initiative over the previous two editions?

The suggestions has been overwhelmingly constructive. From the primary yr and now the second, all of the audio system, artists and friends have expressed their curiosity in taking part once more. Everybody noticed the potential of our youth and the limitless potentialities of our nation. We’re a clean canvas and the sweetness is that you may create and innovate a brand new trade and never meet up with what we have been lacking. We deal with being action-oriented by creating and implementing initiatives to assist expertise and the scene, e.g., Xperform (aimed toward discovering expertise within the MENA area), Xchange (workshops throughout the area that purpose to attach communities and remedy issues), and others. We additionally deal with collaborations with main music industries and have been profitable this yr in doing so.

The 2022 version introduced collectively varied high-level audio system, together with David Guetta, DJ Khaled, Hardwell, Amy Thompson, and Mathew Knowles. Inform us in regards to the significance of attracting such essential personalities from the music trade to the listing of audio system?

Yearly, the suggestions from worldwide artists is fruitful and we see increasingly overseas artists keen to collaborate and speak to XP, which we love to listen to. By means of XP, we’re capable of promote the area and speed up constructive change in range and gender equality by means of advocacy teams, analysis and knowledge-based concepts. The truth that so many worldwide artists and abilities need to get entangled solely cements our imaginative and prescient to develop the music trade and economic system.

What have been the largest highlights of the 2022 version?

We have had limitless quantities of successes and nice highlights this yr. From the early planning phases of XP with the staff, seeing the second version of the occasion that includes the best minds within the worldwide and regional music trade come to life has been probably the most rewarding expertise. We had over 200 audio system, over 80 classes, 9 networking classes, 9 initiatives, over 120 musical performances and 9 accomplice activations with limitless immersive experiences.

What have been a few of the key matters explored through the roundtables and keynotes?

We invited leaders and creatives from all around the world. The occasion was designed for musically curious and musical masters to attach and take part conversations, workshops and experiences on the best way to develop a thriving music scene. In a session titled Professional Xperience: Elyanna – Palestinian singer Elyanna spoke candidly about her skilled journey by participating with the viewers in a extra intimate means, because the session was within the type of a one-on-one dialog in Arabic, reinforcing authenticity and an unfiltered information change dialogue between the speaker and the viewers. Mathew Knowles, the architect of Future’s Youngster and the early solo careers of his daughters Beyoncé and Solange Knowles did a session titled Fundamentals of the music trade within the digital age, the place he provided recommendation to regional expertise on the best way to convey their music and leisure careers to life and guarantee a strong basis is constructed for long-term success. Former world-renowned director of the Swedish Home Mafia, Amy Thomson additionally moderated a session entitled Truthful Pay & Truthful Play: Understanding Music Royaltiesthrough which she knowledgeable up-and-coming musicians of their rights concerning streaming royalties.

How has the occasion advanced since its inaugural launch in 2021?

What made this yr totally different, we expanded our day and evening packages and included new session codecs: networking, demo classes, Arabic classes and extra interactive experiences, permitting for unfiltered dialogue between the speaker and the general public. We wish to continually develop and develop our choices to amplify the musical tradition of the area.

What can we count on from the 2023 occasion, by way of scale, line-up, format, and many others. ?

This yr, we’re specializing in progress and partnerships. Our aim is to continually evolve. We have now an ideal alternative to proceed to develop our neighborhood and rework it into one thing that drives cultural and financial change. We purpose to convey Xchange (our cell workshops to new cities), to create new initiatives associated to expertise administration and feminine empowerment.

In accordance with IFPI, recorded music market income within the MENA area grew by 35% in 2021 – the quickest rising area on this planet. What are your predictions for the area within the coming years?

We hope that after these big achievements, the Arab common public will really feel much more assured in trusting us to manage the continued progress of the music scene within the area. We hope they imagine within the targets of MDLBEAST and assist us transfer in direction of that aim.

With the younger individuals, we intend to proceed to construct the music scene. I predict that the area will turn out to be the pioneer of the music trade, exporting expertise, creating stay occasions, innovating in training and turning into one of many prime customers of music.

What are the largest challenges at the moment going through the music trade in Saudi Arabia and the broader MENA area?

Illustration within the trade generally is a problem. I see the necessity for equal alternatives and it’s a precedence for us. The music trade goes by means of unprecedented modifications within the Center East and all over the world – ladies should be a part of it. All around the world, feminine producers, artists and creators are underrepresented and the variety of ladies in management positions within the trade can also be not substantial.

Whereas there may be definitely extra consciousness about this now and there may be an emphasis on equal illustration between women and men by the varied gamers within the trade, we should put our efforts into persevering with to facilitating, encouraging and advancing the agenda. It’s a strategic precedence for us to develop the trade within the area in a balanced and truthful means. Throughout this yr’s XP, Girls in Music was one in every of our key matters the place our knowledgeable audio system mentioned the advantages of feminine illustration and having a various music trade.

Whereas there’s a number of work to do, there’s by no means been a greater time for us to push music infrastructure ahead with a deal with rising ladies within the trade.

What are your ambitions for the XP Music Convention within the years to come back?

We purpose to amplify the musical tradition within the area. There has all the time been a energetic artistic scene in Arabia, so for many individuals the eagerness for music has all the time been there. Our imaginative and prescient at MDLBEAST is to develop the music trade and economic system each throughout the Kingdom and out of doors the area. I envision XP turning into the platform to find the subsequent expertise, join the music world, push rules, construct the scene, and innovate in all points of the music ecosystem. I am excited for what’s to come back!

The music trade all over the world