What Are We Doing Here?

As thousands of delegates flock to the various showcase conferences springing up throughout Europe, Norway’s By:Larm appears to be the first to address the question of why they bother.

The Feb. 16-18 gathering in Oslo begins with a panel called “How can attending a music conference help you and your music?”

It’s easy to see why 3,000 European live music business professionals go to Eurosonic-Noorderslag in The Netherlands, the blueprint for so many of the copycat conferences, although a tight economy may cause some of the newer local events to struggle.

By:Larm is unlikely to suffer, as last year the showcase conference’s bid to have less of a Norwegian slant and more of a Nordic one helped drive up the number of international delegates by more than 30 percent.

The number of delegates from outside Norway was up from 300 to 411, while the number of Norwegian delegates was constant at a little less than 1,500.

The flagship move toward creating an event that would provide a discussion centre and showcase for all the Nordic countries was the hosting of the inaugural Nordic Music Prize, an award for the best Nordic album of the year.

This year’s prize will be sponsored by music streaming service WiMP and presented at Oslo’s Kulturkirken Jakob Feb. 16.

An industry jury will choose from a shortlist that includes albums from Ane Brun, Lykke Li, Rubik, Gus Gus, Björk and Anna Järvinen.

The showcase festival features more than 300 acts playing the some of the Norwegian capital’s best-known club and dancehall venues.