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An article from Horus Music Director, Deborah Smith.

The sixth annual Future Music Forum took place in mid September in the beautiful city of Barcelona. We were lucky enough to be invited by the team over at Music Xray to attend the three day conference.

Beginning on Wednesday 16th September, the conference brought together the leading minds of the music industry to discuss the hot topics of the moment – including the digital future of the industry, synchronisation, A&R at major labels, how festivals are working with brands and the inevitable debate on streaming services. There was also a focus on Women in Music and the African music industry.

It’s always great to network and meet new, likeminded companies in a mixture of panels, networking sessions and music showcases.

Day one kicked off with the first ever SyncSummit event to be held in Barcelona. The focal point was how music professionals can approach Music Supervisors to pitch our artists to them correctly. Invaluable advice was given on how supervisors like to receive music and be kept in the loop of new tracks.

Mark Frieser always does a great job with the speakers in its SyncSummit counterparts in New York and Hollywood – this event did not disappoint either. We saw representatives from Ubisoft and Grey Group along with music supervisors from the ‘Saw’ franchise.

What happens at Future Music Forum?

Day one ended with a rooftop party for all delegates, with the most fantastic view of Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia.

Following on from the festivities, day two did not disappoint with the first official Future Music Forum day. Particular highlights for me were Mark Mulligan’s keynote on our digital future within the music industry and the afternoon’s streaming debate.

The final day had a focus on how brands indulge in music. We heard from Nando’s, Ticketscript and Ibiza Rocks detailing how they have used music in their marketing projects. We were also treated to a very special closing keynote from Public Enemy’s Brian Hardgroove, who connected live on Skype with his collaborators from Gibson and Sennheisser.  He then announced his new project with former Police member Stewart Copeland – ‘WholeWorldBand’. This platform will invite singers to collaborate by submitting their vocals to tracks directly on the app. Hardgroove and Copeland will then select their favourite singers to perform with them in future shows in what will be acting as “the world’s biggest audition”. As the day drew to a close we were left pondering over whether we are entering into a new digital era of A&R?

After each Future Music Forum day, live showcases took place at Les Enfants bar in the heart of the city. My favourite performances from the two nights came from Jambinai, a South Korean outfit who blend a mixture of traditional Korean instruments with post-rock melodies. There was also Red House Glory who hailed from the UK giving a stellar grunge-infused performance. Next were Ocellot, whose dance and glitter infused performance got us all moving our feet. Finally, Paper Shades were another great duo showcasing the talent with the whole crowd marvelling at their impeccable vocal harmonies.

See you next year!