A Successful Mastering The Music Business (MMB) In Romania For 2021

The live industry events are back!

For some it will be still early though to say how the countries are changing rules and making the whole restrictions a difficult task to run live showcase festivals. The first showcase festival to cancel back in 2020 was Mastering the Music Business also called MMB. I was really glad that now that the first that was available at least in most part live was MMB. Full circle as they say.

MMB has been around for six years now and is a steadily growing showcase festival. I have been following their progress for three years now. If you ask me MMB is one of the best showcase festivals right now. Its size is perfect;  it’s not too big and it’s not too small. This is a great festival for all levels of people in the industry both experienced music industry professionals and newcomers can get great things out of the festival as all levels of expertise are represented.

The conference this year was three days with close to fifty panels with subjects for anyone at any level in the industry. Here you could get insights from all from touring Europe to Masterclasses on Spotify. One of the great features is that some panels were held in their native tongue and speaking Romania. They then offered you simultaneous translation equipment which makes you available to listen to even local industry professionals. The level is very high with the speakers. Here you find several people high up in the decision chain in Europe. In the past years, the whole conference has been held in Hotel Caro in Bucharest with great rooms and a perfect patio with an astonishing view over the river. Here you meet all the people on the conference and you can easily strike up a conversation with any of the speakers or delegates. The size also makes you in no hurry to meet all, you will have the chance to reach the ones you need and get a good long conversation to build on future relationships.

I was really impressed how many of the people the festival was able to bring in live to Bucharest. Still, COVID forced them to have some of the participants to appear on a screen in some panels. That worked and was a good next solution. In interviews with several people from the MMB organization, they mentioned that they didn’t think that the digital version really worked that well. I was on the digital version, and it was very well handled, but like many of them pointed out to make business you need to see people in the eyes. The problem with all digital conferences.

Photo by Adrian Coleasa

Romania is not very famous for big music stars. O-zone with their megahit Dragostea Din Tei is probably the only artist with a worldwide track, the group is though from Moldavia, but they sang in Romanian. This was through 2003. Now we are getting a steady stream of new very interesting artists from Romania and I guess you don’t have to wait until one of these artists will breakthrough. Many we spoke to also explained that being a part of the Eastern Europe block it has taken time to develop an infrastructure for the professional music industry.

This infrastructure now is in place. Not all of it, they lack an export office, but in my opinion Anca Lupes from RAW music, who created the conference is working in much sense as the export office for Romania. Her network and expertise have really created a gem in the showcase jungle in Europe. If they need a good export office, you have your choice of the first president right there.

Photo by Anca Coleasa

Romania also has several festivals that are getting better and bigger from each year here you have all from Untold to Electric Castle which also makes the country very attractive to get into for artists.

This year all the showcases were held at Expirat, a club in central Bucharest. The club is fantastic and can hold two stages. What can be a bummer is that you need to go by Uber from the conference to the club, it takes around 20 min but in rush hour it can take up to 40 min. They tried two years ago to have the showcases closer, but the Expriat atmosphere was hard to replace.

The second problem here is that the two stages can just hold a couple of artists. This year it was 14 artists, COVID created problems here with travel from different countries. Usually, they have around 25 bands and half of them are from abroad. This year it was only four from abroad, the rest Romanian. Like I wrote earlier,  before Romania is on a go right now and the quality of the bands were great. And yes, it’s really hard to get a spot on MMB for an artist. If you manage to get a spot you will have a great stage and plenty of great delegates to showcase your talent. According to the festival, they get around 600 applications each year.

MMB is great to meet people from Europe, and a must if you want to meet the music industry from eastern Europe. It’s one of the better-midsized festivals to start as a newcomer to building a network. A great place for the experienced to get your business into Eastern Europe and main Europe as well. Artists that played on the festival that you should really check out are Lucia, Amadeus Rockabella and Dimitri’s Bats.

Photo by Peter Åastedt

Congratulations Mastering the Music Business for a job well done. Looking forward to the next MMB in 2022!

For more on Mastering the Music Business Festival (MMB) visit: https://www.masteringthemusicbusiness.ro/