ESNS 2021 — New Panels & Speakers Confirmed

In our last scheduled newsletter ahead of the start of ESNS2021 next week on January 13, we are proud to present the remaining panels, keynotes, speakers and presentations, that will be providing both the insights we all need on our ‘Road to Recovery’, and much, much more.


MMF Presents: Music Management’s Masters – In the spotlight: Wendy Ong

Last year Dua Lipa, former EBBA winner at ESNS 2017, gave one of the most successful ever streaming live shows with more than five million viewers and guest appearances from Elton John and Kylie Minogue, among others. Her second album ‘Future Nostalgia’ has sold over 2.6 million copies worldwide, has now reached more than 6 billion streams, and has received five Grammy nominations.

The woman who plays a vital role in Dua Lipa’s career is Wendy Ong, US President of TaP Music, the company behind the careers of Lana del Rey, Ellie Goulding and DJ Shadow, among others. In a one-on-one keynote interview with Lijne Kreupeling of Headfirst Music/For Artistic Reasons, Wendy Ong will share her experiences and her vision on developments in the profession of artist management.

March 17: There is Something to Choose! 

The elections for the Dutch House of Representatives are on 17 March 2021, and the pop sector, so badly hit by the Corona crisis, is eagerly awaiting what there will be in a new coalition agreement, as well as how the political parties will demonstrate that they care about the sector. Eva Akerboom (PvdD), Lodewijk Asscher (PvdA),  Salima Belhaj (D66), Niels van den Berge (GroenLinks), Zohair Elyassini (VVD), Peter Kwint (SP), will go into the questions of moderator Robbert Baruch (Buma/Stemra).

Time for a Decent Pop Policy

The pop sector has long been neglected in national cultural policy, but if it were up to SP Member of Parliament Peter Kwint, that would change. In collaboration with about a hundred stakeholders from the sector, he wrote a pop manifesto with concrete measures aimed at strengthening the sector. During this session the draft version is discussed, which also means that it is an opportunity to get your proposal included in this memorandum. So, time for a decent pop policy – a panel with Peter Kwint (SP), Robbert Baruch (Buma/Stemra), Erwin Angad-Gaur (Sena Performers/Ntb), Rita Zipora (BAM!Popauteurs), Jorien Stravens (Popsport), Berend Schans (VNPF), moderated by Frank Kimenai (Hive Mind / Erasmus University).

Launching a Roadmap for Accessible Festivals

When at a festival we all share a love for music, culture and the live experience. We’re all equal as far as that’s concerned, but to make this  experience more equal for people with a disability, the Themenetwork Festivals and Events of the Coalition for Inclusion, together with all involved parties, has developed a roadmap for accessible festivals. A practical guide for organisers to make their festival (more) accessible. On behalf of the Themenetwork Festivals and Events of the Coalition for Inclusion, Annabelle de Groot and Marianne Dijkshoorn will give this presentation, moderated by VVEM’s Willem Westermann.

The panel Generation DIY- Why Labels and Brands Need to Adapt to Gen Z will explore the current landscape with the generation that is shaping it. Growing up with the internet has made Millennials and Gen Z – particularly Gen Z – a lot more woke. Anyone can learn how to use Logic, release music with the likes of Spotify or Soundcloud, raise money through Go Fund Me, create a community on Twitch and connect directly with fans through social media. Forbes speaks of an already emerging group of ‘record labels of the future’ that have embraced technological change. Gunifort Uwambaga is moderating this DIY-panel with artist managers Jasper Cremers, Yung Nnelg, and Julio Galvez of Roomservice International.

IMMF Presents: FREEDOM of EXPRESSION – Is Music Just a Business?

Are artists participating in the discussion about the rules around what they can discuss? Artists exist to tell our stories, reveal truths, and push boundaries, but in the process they are often labelled as being outrageous! Creativity in its essence is a freedom, but where does society draw the line? Once in a while an artist goes too far and either through public outrage or a court decision, there’s pushback. That’s how the boundaries of creative freedom have been defined. Until now.

In Spain, puppeteers were prosecuted for a performance where a puppet praised a fictional terrorist organisation. The European Union is working on a law aimed at preventing terrorism online, where the legal exception for artistic expresion could be conditional, with a government or platform deciding what’s permissible. While online content filtering has become a go-to tool to protect copyright and block unwanted hate-speech, how well does technology fare in striking the balance between blocking what is illegal and guarding free expression?

In this era of global connectivity, artists share cultural and political stories through many mediums, not just through protest songs. Which legal and technical mechanisms intended to combat illegal content might also block art? Is censorship something that only happens elsewhere? What rules are being developed in the EU? Are artist’s participating in the discussion about the rules on what they can say?

An important and relevant discussion featuring Anna Mazgal of Wikimedia, IMMF’s Jake Beaumont-Nesbitt and John Robb of Louder Than War, moderated by Open Future’s Alek Tarkowski.

What is Possible in 2021?

This month decisions will have to be made on how and in what form events in 2021 will take place. In this panel, presented by the Alliance of Event Builders, VVEM’s Willem Westermann discusses what is and what isn’t possible with the various parties who created and powered the Dutch event industry in the past, and who are now talking to the government on how to proceed. Speakers are Ritty van Straalen (CEO ID&T), Ruben Brouwer (CEO Mojo Concerts), Gijs de Jong (operations director Dutch Football Association KNVB), Jeroen Bartelse (Managing Director TivoliVredenburg), Jolanda Jansen (Director Ahoy Rotterdam) and Paul de Rook (Local Councillor City of Groningen).

Music Moves Politics

Music does not currently benefit from a dedicated funding programme, whereas other sectors receive tailor-made support (i.e. the audio-visual sector with the MEDIA sub-programme under Creative Europe). Whilst a similar programme is not realistic for the 2021-2027 period, a more targeted set of measures could contribute to addressing this funding gap. That’s fine, but what else is in the pipeline? A Q&A-session with Member of European Parliament Dr. Christian Ehler about demands by the European music community that sit within political considerations. Alongside that, Ehler will offer insight into his mission for a Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC), an aspect of the Culture and Creative Sector and part of the EU-Horizon Programme. Manfred Tari of will ask the questions.

Mental Health Help Desk

You love your job? Good for you. Except when it suddenly doesn’t exist anymore – due to the global pandemic. No wonder that many of us lately exchanged their sleepless nights in clubs and at concerts for sleepless nights in bed, wondering how to keep it together. This discussion looks at what the lack of perspectives, the financially precarious situation, the loss of daily working routines and – yes – the missing feedback, joy and fun of our job, all have in common. It’s not only that they challenge our work life – they challenge our psyche and our mentality. Crisis as a psychological term is defined by a lack of coping strategies and experience in a given situation. And that’s why a lot of us have been experiencing crisis-related reactions lately – like stress, low motivation, high frustration and sleepless nights.

The help desk of ESNS 2021 offers exclusive counselling-sessions with psychologist and founder of the “Mental Health in Music” association Anne Löhr. As a trained counsellor, personal trainer and supervisor specialized in the field, Anne has been working with artists, managers and labels as well as booking agencies and other music business related companies for many years. Her focus lies on mental health problem prevention, conflict and crisis management, as well as team development.

The 45 minute sessions allow one-on-one counselling for individuals, teams and company-representatives. The sessions provide an exchange of current problems and questions, impulses and strategies to better manage the situation and information on further professional help. Presented by Mental Health in Music and Misc Berlijn.

Live helpdesk available Wednesday – Friday, January 13-15,  from 11.00 – 18.00. Delegates can email Anne at from Thursday January 7th to make an appointment. Sessions 45 min. followed by a 15-minute break.

VVEM – Annual Figures of the Event Industry 2019 – 2020 – 2021

The Dutch association of Event Builders (VVEM) is presenting the annual figures of the event industry. Lex Kruijver, a specialist at analysing event data and CEO of knowledge and research consultancy Response, will analyse the super highs in 2019 vs dramatic lows in 2020 and further discuss the expectations for 2021. Hosted by VVEM’s Willem Westermann.

European Music Week – First Edition Starts on January 8

ESNS introduces European Music Week, a campaign to celebrate European music across the world and to support and introduce new European talent. The first edition will kick off on January 8, 2021. Robert Meijerink, head of programme at ESNS says: “European music has been the prime focus of ESNS for 35 years. In the past year a lot of artists missed the opportunity to play live and had a hard time reaching their potential audience. The European Music Week is a perfect way to offer them the spotlight.”
A wide range of partners across the globe will be celebrating European music, and new talent in particular, sharing their content with the hashtag #europeanmusicweek.

Current partners include EBU stations across Europe, alongside Spotify, Deezer, KEXP, Vice, a group of European festivals, venues and other outlets.

The European Music Week will take place from January 8 – 15 and is an initiative by ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) and its partners. It also serves as a lead up to the digital edition of ESNS 2021 (January 13 – 16, 2021).

Keep checking our social media for further updates, last-minute changes and announcements!

Make sure to REGISTER for the digital edition of ESNS with panel discussions, keynote sessions, speed meetings, network opportunities and lots of new European music.