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IQ’s five live picks of The Great Escape 2017

The Great Escape (TGE), MAMA Festivals’ long-running Brighton showcase festival and industry conference, returns for its 12th outing today, welcoming more than 3,500 industry delegates to the English seaside resort for three days of networking and new music.

The first panel discussion – Drugs: A Recent History of Getting High, looking at drug-taking trends at festivals, shows and in clubs – kicks off at 10.45 in the Dukes at Komedia cinema; in the meantime, here are IQ’s picks of the must-attend TGE shows, panels and parties…

Brighton rocks
Stripped of the panels, parties and spotlight shows by established artists, The Great Escape is still, at its core, a festival for new music: a place for bookers, A&Rs and everyone in between to discover the festival headliners of the future.

However, with more than 450 acts playing across 30+ Brighton venues, it’s nigh-on impossible to see everything, but by crunching the numbers – specifically Facebook likes, Shazam discoveries, Spotify streams and Songkick charts – we’ve discovered the three acts creating the most buzz are:

Drugs and royalties and Brexit, oh my!
Provided they’re not already all Eurosonic/FastForward/ILMC-ed out, TGE delegates are likely going to want to sit in on at least a few panels. While discussions about the state of music journalism may be of limited interest to IQ readers, the other three conference strands – which focus on drugs, royalties/collective licensing and music export – all touch on some of the most pressing issues affecting the international live business.

Highlights include Drugs, Clubs & Music: How to Actually Save Lives (11.15am, Thursday 18 May), which sees Fabric’s Andy Blackett, The Warehouse Project’s Sacha Lord and campaigner Nathalie Wainwright tackle the thorny issue of keeping patrons safe while keeping local authorities on side; Getting the Most from Showcase Festivals (moderated by IQ’s own Gordon Masson) and A Beginners’ Guide to Brexit; and Direct Licensing in Live, exploring the rise of directly licensing performance royalties with Maria Forte and PACE’s Adam Elfin.

A hole lot of Switzerland
As previously reported, Switzerland is TGE’s country partner for 2017 – and that means Swiss Swiss Music Export will be taking to Brighton a whole host of Swiss delicacies, including showcases, networking and – of course – plenty of cheese.

Swiss acts performing across on Friday include Zeal & Ardor, Sophie Hunger, Buvette, Debrah Scarlett and Baba Shrimps (the Zurich three-piece last seen at ILMC’s Swiss Session in March), while plenty of Helvetic networking can be had at the delegate reception at 5pm on Thursday (Swiss wine, beer and raclette!) and the Swiss Festivals Drink Reception at the same time on Friday.

For a taste of what to expect, a Spotify playlist of all Swiss performers is below:

Extra-curricular activities
As is tradition, most of the big agencies, promoters, ticketers and the like at TGE will be hosting their own (private) dos, but there are also plenty of open-invitation parties well worth checking out.

The always-fun Dutch Impact party (12–4pm on Friday) is open to all delegates, as is Wide Days’ Scottish Networking Party (who could say no to “deep-fried confectionary, soft drinks made from girders and whisky in a smugglers’ cellar”?) and Berklee and Ascap’s networking brunch. The annual Drinks Party hosted by UK collection societies PPL and PRS also returns – it’s first-come, first-served, so get there early – while recording studio Metropolis is staging a one-hour ‘Metropolis Mixer’ at My Hotel at 1pm on Friday.

Intelligent networking
And as always, Team IQ will be out in force on Thursday and Friday. Want to set up a meeting or a casual pint? Drop us an email!

See you in Brighton…


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‘Every country should have a music export office’

Music market development agency Sound Diplomacy has called for every country in the world to establish a music export initiative, arguing those without export offices are missing out on “economic and cultural opportunities every day” and “limiting the opportunity to create skills, jobs and a better quality of life for their creatives”.

The call to action forms part of Sound Diplomacy’s Global Music Export Pledge, to be presented this Friday at The Export Conference at The Great Escape in Brighton.

The pledge highlights the benefits of music export to governments and councils around the world, outlining how a music export office should operate, its benefits to the economy and how to develop new talent and provide support to the local music industry.

It comprises eight key recommendations:

“We want every country in the world to have a thriving, active music export initiative,” reads a statement from Sound Diplomacy, which describes itself as the “leading global advisor in increasing the value of music and night culture in cities, places and developments” and whose clients include export initiatives in Europe, the Americas, Australasia and Africa.

“It doesn’t matter how it is set up. It matters how its functions impact the artists it serves. Talent is everywhere, and great talent deserves the best support. Only some countries and regions have music export initiatives; those that do are very lucky, because the business leaders running them are providing opportunities for artists across the sector every day.

“So let’s learn from each other, work together and make music export an integral aspect of national, regional and local cultural policy.”


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TGE Convention reveals 2017 themes

UK showcase festival The Great Escape has announced the first details of its convention programme for 2017.

Taking place over two venues in Brighton over two days, the convention – held in association with CMU Insights – will be divided into four themes, as follows:

The Media Conference – The crisis in music journalism
Is it still possible to make money out of music media in the digital age? Will music journalism be the preserve of brands in the future? And is music radio ready for its impending collision with the streaming platforms?

The Drugs Conference – Let’s actually save some lives
Can artists embrace the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle without damaging their career and their health? And, following the battle for Fabric, what can and what should clubs, promoters, law enforcement and licensing officials be doing to prevent drugs deaths at live music events?

The Export Conference – Breaking out beyond Brexit
A guide to taking new artists global in 2017 featuring tips on going global, acts who have benefited from the Music Export Growth Scheme. Plus, how will Brexit impact music in Europe? Presented in partnership with BPI.

The Royalties Conference – Where’s my fucking money?
Tracking the money from sale, sync and stream to artist and songwriter. How does collective licensing work worldwide? Why are some artists licensing direct? And where is all of that Spotify money going?

The Great Escape 2017 runs from 18 to 20 May. The first fifty acts for its music programme were announced in September.


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