9 Asian music conferences and showcases we’re paying attention to
Last month we posted an article listing 11 conferences and showcases in Africa that we heard of and felt deserved more recognition. We were pleased to see the response to it, and that really showed that people are interested to find out more about what emerging music markets have to offer.
While the previous article hit closer to home with member of our team Sal being a Moroccan national, this time we look at a region of the world the Compass Music team don’t have much current links with, Asia.
So after Europe and Africa, here goes a list of 9 conferences and showcases in Asia highlighting regional talent and music scenes.
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1. Music Matters Live // All That Matters — Singapore | 14th — 18th September 2020
Truly an international event, Music Matters Live pioneered the indie festival scene in Asia, and build solid bridges connecting Asia to the world.
Its showcase event is dubbed as Asia’s number 1 celebration of music discovery, featuring emerging and established talent from Asia and around the world, and offering them the opportunity to perform to audiences of over 6000 fans.
In the past few years the conference portion of the event evolved to become a stand alone event called All That Matters. Held at the same time as Music Matters Live, All That Matters is an entertainment industry conference tackling issues and discussion innovation in the Music, Sports, Gaming, Digital and Marketing industries.
2. Kansai Music Conference — Osaka, Japan | 18th -19th September 2020
Since its inception in 2009, the Kansai Music Conference has sought to position itself as the prime destination for talents seeking to enter Japan’s rich music industry. Taking place in the “Venice of Japan”, KMC welcomes industry professionals and artists of all genres to the beautiful city of Osaka, to partake in talks, workshops and showcases. This year’s program will be broadcasted virtually over 3 days, with a first day consisting of a virtual meet and greet and networking opportunities, a second day of live streamed showcases and finally a third and last day of conferences including webinars and online mentor sessions.
3. MU:CON — Seoul, South Korea | 23rd — 26th September 2020
Korea’s largest international music conference, MU:CON, is set to return in digital format this month. The annual conference and showcase organised by the Korea Creative Content Agency and the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism, attracts music industry professionals locally, regionally and internationally, earning its place as one of the best platforms for discovering new independent artists in the region.
The program is split between pitching sessions, keynote speakers and showcases throughout 4 days, attracting over 8,000 visitors, 65 speakers, 80+ artists and more than 30 conference sessions, offering networking opportunities for more than 2,000 professionals.
4. Zandari Fest — Seoul, South Korea | 8th — 11th October 2020
Gearing up for its 8th edition, Zandari Festa is one of South Korea’s largest showcase festivals. It is taking place in Hongdae, Seouls’s epicenter for youth culture and the beating heart of the independent music scene in the country. Spread over a period of 3 days, Zandari Festa’s main goal is to promote and champion South Korea’s vibrant and exciting youth culture. It hosts international and local acts and industry professionals, to participate in its conference program as well as its showcase concerts hosted in Hongdae’s most uniquely vibrant venues, in an effort to build bridges with the rest of the world and create opportunities for young local independent artists.
5. Palestine Music Expo — Ramallah, Palestinian Territories | TBA (usually in April or September)
This remarkable event’s mission is to create, nurture and develop strong and a sustainable music industry in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It aims at offering young musicians economic and employment opportunities, a platform for debate, as well as a stage to amplify the voices of the people of Palestine.
In the three editions that happened previously (2017–2019), PMX welcomed more than 150 music industry professionals, over a period of 3 days and organised showcases in front of audiences of 6000 people as well as live streams from Gaza. The Expo also looked after 70 artists in training in their Artists Academy, offering technical and business courses through a series of webinars.
The Palestine Music Expo also supported the city of Ramallah’s bid to become a UNESCO Music City.
6. Wired Music Week — Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | TBA (usually in July)
Established in 2018, Wired Music Week is one of the biggest gatherings of music industry professionals and talent in Southeast Asia. This electronic music conference and showcase event aims at bringing music professionals together and offer a space for debate, learning and collaboration, while offering unique networking opportunities. The event hosts more than 1000 attendees from 25 different countries every year, from different backgrounds in the music industry. With the main event in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, WMW also organises the WMW sessions, 2 day mini conferences across the region, in Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei. Recently, it also expanded its program to online digital events, dubbed Get Wired, with the goal of overcoming the limitation of the pandemic.
7. All About Music — Mumbai, India | TBA (usually in August)
The All About Music Conference is an annual Indian music industry gathering covering both the indie and Bollywood scenes. This knowledge and business networking platform aims at developing music industry opportunities within India and promoting Indian musical production globally. ABM hosts more than 600 national and international delegates and 50 speakers to participate in panel discussions, keynotes, workshops, masterclasses, networking opportunities and more. Together they explore the latest developing trends of the industry in a 3 day conference. In august of 2020, in its 4th year, it organised its first ever digital edition.
8. Bangkok Music City — Bangkok, Thailand | TBA (usually in November)
The Bangkok Music City conference and showcase aims at shining a light on the diverse and vibrant Thai and Southeast Asian music scene. Taking place in Bangkok, one of the prime touristic destinations in the world, this event aims at leveraging the city’s international appeal to bring attention to the region’s thriving music industry. BMC is Thailand’s first music conference and showcase, celebrating its first edition in 2019. This conference focuses on insight, experience and knowledge sharing pushing for the development of music tourism in the region, and its showcase portion is split between 8 stages in venues across the city’s “Creative District”.
9. Asia Pacific Music Meeting — Ulsan, South Korea | TBA (usually September)
The Asia Pacific Music Meeting’s mission is to offer exciting up and coming Korean talent opportunities to engage in overseas music ventures. Organised by the Ulsand Arts and Culture Foundation in association with the Ministry of Culture Sports and Tourism, APaMM is one the country’s most important events on the music industry calendar.
They also aim to offer workshops and network opportunities to industry stakeholders outside of the country’s capital, Seoul, which is the heart of the soaring Korean music industry.
Last year, organisers introduced a new portion to the program, the APaMM Forum. The Forum will gather the industry’s most prominent stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific region, with the aim of creating a knowledge sharing community of experts.
Need to dust off your knowledge of Asian geography? Here’s a handy map to locate all the events we mentioned in this article.
This very short list is far from being comprehensive or all encompassing. If we do not mention an event that you think should be on the list, please do get in touch, we would love to hear about it.
With the current global health crisis still going, many of the region’s events had to be cancelled or postponed because of the pandemic, with very few details on whether or not they will be returning. We still believe they are wonderful local initiatives that deserve more recognition on the global music scene wether they will have an edition in 2020. We will of course be on the lookout for any new information and we will be posting updates as we hear about them on our social media.
Article researched and written by Sal Benryane — Communication, Social Media & Marketing, Compass Music. Edited by Géraldine Zanaska — Founder, Compass Music.