Talking ‘Opportunities For The New Reality’ At BIME Pro 2020

Discussion at BIME Pro 2019.
Javier Rosa
– Discussion at BIME Pro 2019.
This year, the program will be streamed online.

Many music events created a digital program this year in reaction to restricted capacities, which sometimes made the physical event unviable. 

Some showcase festivals came up with hybrid concepts, holding the physical event for a reduced audience and streaming most or all of it online. BIME Pro, scheduled Oct. 26-29, is one of them.
In light of more than 800,000 concert cancellations worldwide and an estimated $65 billion revenue drop affecting some 2.5 million jobs, according to BIME’s own research, there’s lots to discuss.
“Obviously, Covid is our headliner,” BIME Pro’s communications coordinator Bikendi Cadelo told Pollstar. He emphasized that the team around conference director Julen Martin has aimed to build a conference that focuses on future opportunities that may arise from the current crisis.
“The industry will have to redesign itself. Promoters, bookers, artists, everyone in the industry, will have to rethink themselves in order to adapt to the new reality. It is clear that this won’t finish in a couple of months, maybe not even in a year,” he said.
“BIME Pro is a place to gather and discuss new opportunities, opportunities for the new reality of live, recorded the distribution of and use of technology in music,” Cadelo continued.
He believes that while the world has been in lockdown, new ideas have been rising. “The only way to communicate and promote your music was through technology, so technology will obviously make up a huge part of our program,” he said.
BIME Pro takes place at the Palacio Euskalduna in Bilbao, capital of Biscay, a province in Basque Country, an autonomous region of Spain. Just last week, the Basque government mandated capacity reductions for indoor and outdoor events. BIME Pro, which usually welcomes more than 2,000 conference delegates, had to reduce its capacity to 400 at the last minute. On the upside, it meant the event sold out over night.
The team behind BIME Pro won
– The team behind BIME Pro won
“Despite the consequences arising from this crisis, BIME Pro is committed to continuing forward and offering a program that will help shape the strategies of the future of the music industry,” said conference director Julen Martin.

The extraordinary circumstance mean that, for the first time, the entire program of BIME Pro will be streamed live and for free. Moving the program online was also the only way to connect with the Latin American audience, which has always been a core market for the conference’s organizer’s, who understand BIME as a “bridge between Latin America and Europe.”

“We decided to move our schedule so that most of our program is taking place in the afternoon and evening, so it’s a comfortable time for Latin America,” Cadelo explained. 
What is more, the digital offering will remain available on demand after the event is over.
Rules at the physical event will be very strict. “People will have to wear the mask at all times, that will also apply to the speakers, unless they’re with the microphone speaking,” said Cadelo.
He is still hopeful that the two evenings showcasing live music, Oct. 27-28, will be able to go ahead as long as audiences maintain distance, remain seated and wear masks. But he’s aware that you never know what restrictions might be introduced over night.
It’s safe to say that, though, that there’ll be no drifting in an out of venues in search of your future favorite band, which is one of the great appeals of showcase events like BIME. The reuglationns limit the opportunities for the bands performing to be seen and head by the professionals on site, who are lookin for new talent to sign and/or book. 
Cadelo won’t let the current impairments kill his spirit, though. He’s grateful that the council of Bilbao even allowed BIME Pro to go ahead.
“The easy way would be to say, ‘there’s no hope, the situation is horrible. Fuck that. We won’t organize any events until 2022,’ or something along those lines,” he said, adding, “It’s good to at least try and organize festivals and events under the current safety measures, with responsibility. Culture must go on. Music must go on.”
A 'normal' BIME Pro in 2019.
Javier Rosa
– A ‘normal’ BIME Pro in 2019.
Physical networking will still be possible this year, but tables will be arranged at a distance.

Guest speakers at BIME Pro 2020 include producer pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre, Paradigm agent Mike Malak, James King, CEO of European Festivals at AEG Presents, ATC/DRIIFT Director and CEO Ric Salmon, and Beverley Whitrick, strategic director at the UK’s Music Venue Trust.

Talks will range from the role of music supervisors in a time when HBO and Netflix are surpassing regular TV programs in viewership, to Spanish rapper C. Tangana, who’ll bring his entire creative team on stage to talk about how they made his career.
BIME Tech, the conference part focusing on the production sector, and BIME Campus, aimed at students and young people eyeing a career in music, will return, as well, with a physical and digital program.
“We’re adapting to the new reality with this hybrid format,” Cadelo said, “It’s a bad thing that we won’t be able to gather 2,000 people as we used to, but we’ve never streamed all of our program live, suddenly it’s open to everyone.”
He concluded: “We have’t used our online platform as we’re doing this year. I’m sure that, even once things return to normal, we will always make use of this technology  going forward. To show the rest of the world what BIME is.”