x

The latest industry news to your inbox.


I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

news

Q&A with BIME director Ruben Irisarri

The Bilbao music industry conference is preparing to host the second edition of its Colombian spin-off, BIME Bogota, from 3-7 May

By James Hanley on 21 Apr 2023

Ruben Irisarri


BIME director Ruben Irisarri tells IQ that Colombia is “such an inspiring country for the music business” as the long-running Bilbao conference and showcase prepares for the second edition of its Bogota spin-off.

BIME Bogota, which debuted in 2022, will take place at the San Felipe Creative District from 3-7 May. Attendees will include professionals from organisations including Amazon, Billboard, Bizarro Live, Ditto, IFPI, Loud and Live, Netflix, Ocesa, Rolling Stone, Spotify, TBA Agency, TikTok, Vydia, Warner, WiZink Center and YouTube.

Hot topics on the programme will include Web 3.0 and artificial intelligence, ticket sales challenges and initiatives around the development of music cities.

“For us, it was always important to build some sort of bridge between Europe and America”

“For us, it was always important to build some sort of bridge between Europe and America,” explains Irisarri. “Making Bogota the second venue for BIME is a direct response to one of our main objectives since we began our journey with this international music meeting point. In the music industry, like in other cultural industries, language is a common element that facilitates relations between countries, cultures and scenes.

“During the last 10 years, we have been working on developing the network for the Spanish-speaking music industry and nowadays, after years of BIME Bilbao, the challenge has been to host the event in one of the most relevant Spanish-speaking music hubs.

“Bogotá has demonstrated that its richness in talent and creativity is now spreading around the world, beating charts and creating an incredible ecosystem for artists. So it became clear that Colombia would be the perfect place to host BIME thanks to its great cultural infrastructure and its location geographically as it represents the mid point for both South America and North America, allowing us to welcome a big number of international guests.”

“Changing the format to what we are doing now with the showcases across the city has been very successful”

The gathering will also include an extensive BIME Live programme, including live music, a vinyl market and the Open San Felipe x BIME festival. The concerts, which will feature 50 artists from 10 countries, will take place across five stages: three of them located in the Creative District and two night stages in The Ghetto Project venue.

“BIME originally had a bigger live section,” adds Irisarri. “This used to work like a traditional music festival with really big performances. However, changing the format to what we are doing now with the showcases across the city has been very successful. This is the way we want to define ourselves as a music meeting point, giving priority to the city where we are hosting the event and giving back to the music industry players today and tomorrow.”

Acts will include Ácido Pantera (CO), Amaia (ES), Briela Ojeda (CO), Cero39 (CO), Conjunto Media Luna (CO/AU), Delfina Dib (AR), Felipe Orjuela and the New Electronic Estudiantina (CO), Lika Nova (CO), Lucía Romero (UY), Lucio Feuillet (CO), L’Xuasma (CO), Los Bulldozer (CO/FR), Los Cotopla Boyz (US/AR), Motherflowers (VE), Mr. Bleat (CO), Nicolás y Los Fumadores (CO), Paula Pera and the End of Times (CO), Sobre Ondas (PY), Soul Bit (CO) and Susana Cala (CO).

‘We want BIME Bogota to be a bridge between continents but we also want it to be a useful resource for the music industry at all levels”

Here, in the following Q&A, Irisarri maps out his goals for the event, reveals the inspiration behind its Colombian expansion and discusses the country’s vibrant live music scene…

What are your main objectives for BIME Bogota?

“As I mentioned before, we want BIME Bogota to be a bridge between continents but we also want it to be a useful resource for the music industry at all levels, whether you are a senior industry professional or a student. BIME is the place where you can meet new agents of the sector and strengthen the relationships between professionals, find spaces for networking, but it’s also a space where you can be trained by watching panels, attending workshops and masterclasses, and enjoy live shows from some of the hottest up and coming artists.

“Elsewhere, innovation and trends in the industry are the main focus, but the feedback that we get from the attendees is the most valuable information for planning the next edition’s content curation. For senior professionals and entrepreneurs, panels and workshops are always useful and networking key for growing this ecosystem. This second edition of BIME Bogotá will be the next step to consolidate the event in Colombia and we are very happier working with such talented and creative people.”

What made you choose Colombia to host the conference?

“Colombia is such an inspiring country for the music business, music is everywhere, and there are incredibly talented and creative people and new music executives that are changing the game and scaling the business to the US as we have never seen before for Spanish-speaking music.”

“The previous edition in Bogota last May gathered 2,800 music industry professionals, with similar figures expected for the 2023 Bogota edition”

How did the first edition go last May? 

“It was incredible, we can say that it was better than expected beating expectations we had. Both professional meetings and the live showcases had much higher attendance than the initial forecast. It was very rewarding to have the total support from local organisations like the Colombian Ministry of Culture and other local important institutions.
Mixing music live shows and professional content has been an absolute success and highlighted the vision that we have and the way we want to show our identity. The previous edition in Bogota last May gathered 2,800 music industry professionals, with similar figures expected for the 2023 Bogota edition.”

What synergies will there be between your Bilbao and Bogota events?

“The two meetings are connected in different ways, but we love the way that conversations take place on the two sides of the Atlantic. For artists, we open options to reach as many professionals and audiences as possible both in Spain and Colombia. It happens the same with other partners in the industry – institutions, brands, indie labels, booking agents, etc – where through participating in BIME, they can open up new audiences in territories where they would normally don’t operate.

“We design global strategies including both events to achieve common objectives. The BIME team is a big family with a team in each city, we work together throughout the year to make a unique strategy and some valuable content that is online on our website, available 24/7 across the year. The digital tools allow us to reach a broader community of professionals wherever they are and having in mind that some extra value of the community that we are building is keeping them linked throughout the year.”

“Colombia is right now the country with more artists in the charts after the US and with a very strong female talent scene”

What are your expectations for BIME’s live music showcases? 

“We will have more than 40 performances of which approximately 25% are Colombian artists. BIME has an international perspective so it highlights the variety of artists coming from different places. For this edition, we will have artists from 11 different countries: Chile, Argentina, Brasil, Cuba, Uruguay, Canada, France, Spain, México, and Puerto Rico. These live shows in Bogotá will take place in the creative district of San Felipe, one of the locations will be the mythical venue The Ghetto – an incredible place that perfectly suits the identity of BIME.”

How healthy is the Colombian live music scene?

“I would say Colombia is right now the country with more artists in the charts after the US and with a very strong female talent scene. Probably reggaeton is the most recognisable genre for Colombian artists but the talent goes far beyond this genre, to pop, rock, indie, electronic, psychedelia, jazz, etc, making Colombia a very rich country in terms of music and culture.”

BIME Bilbao, which was launched 11 years ago, returns from 25-28 October.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.