Message From the Director
‘Showcasing the Soundtrack to Ireland’s Future’
Welcome to the first-ever Ireland Music Week! We are now officially the festival formerly known as Hard Working Class Heroes. We’re excited to embrace a new identity that reflects our strategic goal: showcasing export-ready Irish talent to the best of national and international industry.
Since our inception in 2003, Ireland Music Week has given a platform to some of Ireland’s best-known acts, and carved out a strong, uncompromising identity. The competition for applicants this year was the toughest it’s ever been, with nearly 500 acts vying for just 50 slots. We’re confident the 2019 line-up represents the best of the best from Ireland’s deep bench of emerging talent. Ireland Music Week is also part of Keychange, a pioneering initiative which aims to see music festival line-ups achieve a 50/50 gender balance while investing in the next generation of female artists. HWCH was the first Irish festival to sign up to Keychange, and we're proud to continue this as Ireland Music Week.
For artists and arts professionals of all levels, Ireland Music Week gives them a chance to learn and develop their craft, and create new opportunities with agents, labels, bookers, music supervisors, and services from all over the world. From workshops and panels, to master classes and speed sessions, our conference gives artists, and those who support them, the tools and network they need to sustain a career in music. This year we’ve found a new conference home in Lost Lane, Dublin’s newest music venue, with workshops also being held in Studio 10, in the heart of the creative quarter. We’re also thrilled to partner with Spotify, the global leader in music streaming, on an all-day master class on how artists can make the most of the platform. Other additions to our core programming include a B2B conference track to facilitate the needs of AIM Ireland, launched by us earlier this year. Strategies for resourcing the independent music sector, retaining Irish talent, strengthening our creative industries, and enhancing Ireland’s global reputation, are all on the conference agenda this year.
We have an incredible slate of international delegates this year. I say that every year, but it’s even more true for 2019! It’s an honour to feature a keynote interview with music industry legend Jeanette Lee of Rough Trade, to learn from her career and revolutionary spirit. We are also thrilled to welcome Kees van Weijen, President of IMPALA (Independent Music Companies Association) for a keynote as we face down the barrel of the B word and will need our European friends more than ever. As usual, we have a strong showing from North America, including IMW newcomers Jennifer Reeve and Janet Lopez. As music supervisors for Neophonic, they have worked with every major studio and television network in the US, including some of HBO’s hottest shows. We can’t wait to introduce them to the next generation of Irish talent. With Brexit looming, we also concentrated on keeping the doors open to our nearest neighbours. While the full impact of how Brexit will affect artists and the industry is not yet known, it’s vital that we keep the conversation going and work together to sustain artists’ livelihoods in our shared music ecosystem.
Navigating the Event
Growing from a three-day to five-day event means we have a ton of new content this year—even we are having trouble choosing which sessions to attend! To help attendees prioritize their time, we’ve colour-coded the conference, based on the stages of artist development. YELLOW sessions are for emerging artists exploring opportunities, GREEN sessions are for artists who are developing a national profile and connecting with audiences, and PINK sessions are aimed at artists developing an international profile and expanding their team. Sessions that benefit everyone are tagged with all three. We hope this makes the conference a little easier to navigate. We have to confess that our motivation to colour code also came from minding the mental health of artists as they develop. We want you to understand that networks and information will be there when you need them through First Music Contact and our many projects. So go to the panels that speak to where you are, and don’t be freaked out with the ones you feel you’re not ready for. They’ll all be back again next year J
Are you ready to discover the soundtrack to Ireland’s future? We look forward to meeting you in Dublin this October!
Director, Ireland Music Week
CEO, First Music Contact (FMC)