For a long time, the Balkans have been moving away from their communist influence, which ended 33 years ago. The region is developing at a rapid pace, with major festivals and events taking place for more than 25 years, and since 2016, when streaming services were introduced, fans have been able to immerse themselves in a vast sea of previously unheard music from countless genres. As Spotify and Apple Music’s listenership grew, alternative and indie artists slowly began to gain popularity in the Balkans. The streaming services have not only changed the musical taste in the Balkans. They also changed the music created in the Balkans.
The Balkans peninsula has a population of over 65 million people which is almost the population of the United Kingdom. To dismiss the Balkans as important territory would be a huge mistake. Each country on the Balkans is defying trends in the business and becoming a vital element for global music companies.
In spite of economic forecasts for much of Europe over the coming 12 months, due to inflation and an energy crisis fuelled by conflict in Ukraine, key Eastern European territories such as Poland and Romania have seen YoY GDP growth of 4% and 5.8% in 2022, respectively.
Warner Music Group has been making moves in Eastern Europe in recent years, having struck deals in the likes of Poland, Slovakia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and other Balkan countries.
The Balkans consist of several countries where many different languages are spoken. So a hit in Poland does not mean a hit in Serbia. That’s why some people don’t look at the region in its entirety.
The Balkans is also a key global market for hip-hop and urban music consumption and there is a huge potential for building local artists in these genres. The artistic community first realised this potential in Romania, but artists in other markets are following it closely.
Touring on the Balkans
Touring on the Balkans is actually much easier and more reliable than people would expect. Starting in Sofia, which has a major international airport in the centre of the Balkans and is a 3 to 6 hour drive to most major cities in the region, you are looking at a perfect routing for a 2 weeks tour.
Istanbul, which is a 16 million population city, is less than 6 hours away, Belgrade is 5 1/2 hours away, Bucharest is 4 1/2 hours away, Thessaloniki is 3 1/2 hours away, Skopje is 3 1/2 hours away. With newly built highways and perfect 5G coverage, organizing a tour in the Balkans for an emerging artist can be a much better breakthrough opportunity than in a territory like Germany for example.
Cost is another aspect. With affordable prices for almost everything from accommodation and much cheaper, good quality food to renting a van and backline, a small to medium sized band can easily do 10-15 shows in the region with a much better turnover than in Western Europe.
Not to be underestimated is the fact that the region is still hungry for new talent and interesting acts.
Another case study on the Balkans is promotion – marketing your music on the Balkans is much more accessible than in other developed territories and everything from advertising and digital marketing to pressing vinyls and CDs, even traditional PR, radio and TV opportunities is accessible and affordable for independent artists.
The potential of the Balkans is huge and in ways a much safer and better bet to start growing your career in 2023.
SoAlive Music Conference is your gateway to the Balkans’ music industry
SoAlive Music Conference is the newest and most exciting Bulgarian music conference.
SoAlive Music Conference focuses on the historical significance of the Balkans, the transition from different political regimes, the current technological advantages and finding mutual benefits for the development of our musical relationships, the exchange of knowledge, business practices and innovations in our region and beyond. We are dedicated to working towards a wider inclusion of SEE music professionals and artists in the EU ecosystem.
SAMC promotes teaching and learning, creativity and expression, research and dialogue, diversity, exchange of practices and opportunities in the Balkan region. We focus on what the region has to offer, not only our wonderful musical artists from different genres, but also our thriving IT sector, new technologies, funding opportunities, block tours across the Balkans, accessible high quality creative and visual services, the film industry and more.
The event is designed for all creative professionals, musicians, tech industry professionals, students, independent music professionals who share a common interest and dedication to improving music and musician relations in countries across the SEE region, which is currently proving to be the fastest growing region in Europe.
The SoAlive Music Conference, featuring a programme packed with panels, workshops, parties, events and performances, provides a unique opportunity for artists, music industry professionals and fans to meet, network and develop their careers – from the aspiring artist to the seasoned music industry veteran. From group panel discussions to direct one-on-one mentoring, artists have abundant opportunities to make lasting impressions and connections.
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