Music & Media Builds Nordic Hub

This year’s Music & Media in Finland will focus on developing what the Scandinavian and Baltic regions are beginning to call a “northern hub.”

Finnish music export office executive director Paulina Ahokas says the annual conference and showcase festival, now in its 22nd year, is working to become the most important business event for those wanting to create a network that stretches from Oslo to Moscow.

Music & Media project manager Tuomo Tähtinen believes his event is ideally located to be the centre of this “Nordic Hub” as the short ferry ride between Helsinki and Tallinn is the bridge between Scandinavia and the Baltic States.

For at least two years there have been various signs that the region’s key music industry organisations have been opening up to the idea of creating stronger bonds with their neighbours and encouraging the exchange of talent and information.

First, Tallinn Music Week organiser Helen Sildna has worked hard to attract Scandinavian delegates. Second, By:Larm international director Vegard Waske said this year’s event in Oslo benefited from having less of a Norwegian slant and more of a Nordic one. Third is that Live Nation has yet to deny rumours that its Finnish chief Risto Juvonen – currently on sabbatical – will return to expand the company’s empire into The Baltics and on to Russia.

This year’s Lost In Music Festival, the showcase run parallel to Music & Media for the last four years, will be the first to be open to international acts.

The deadline for artists applying for inclusion was May 15 and the bill, which is being booked by Juha Kyyrö from Helsinki-based Fullsteam, will be announced in the next few weeks.

Although the northern hub might appear to be no more than a few neighbours teaming for the purposes of self-promotion or even self-protection, Ahokas points to sound political, financial and cultural reasons why it amounts to much more than that.

“Tons of political work is being done for this area by the European Union and between the countries themselves,” she told Pollstar.