Waves Festival Conference 2021

Waves 2020 (c) Alexander Galler

From September 9th – 11th, 2021, the WAVES FESTIVAL CONFERENCE, organized by Waves Vienna and Austrian Music Export, will take place for the 11th time. National and international music and media experts, label owners, bookers and musicians will meet in person for lectures, discussions and networking events. Like last year, the entire Waves Festival Conference will not only happen on site at and around WUK, but will be streamed online on a free entry basis, as well. The links to the YouTube Streams will be published shortly before the conference starts.


This year’s conference programme takes up the festival’s focus on the Danube region and understands it not as a pandemic-related restriction but as an overdue, in-depth examination of the macro-region of the countries along the Danube.

Experts from the Danube countries Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine will present their music markets and discuss cross-border topics.

The engagement with this region serves economic and cultural interests. On the one hand, regional cooperation aims to overcome the prevailing differences in economic performance and thus play a significant role as a strong region within a pan-European music export strategy that also addresses non-European music markets. Furthermore, there are long historical cultural relations within the Danube region that still lead to exciting musical projects today.

International festivals and conferences usually focus on the big players. The most successful festivals, labels and agencies of the world’s largest music markets. The thematic concentration on one region allows a closer look at the diverse scenes and the players on several levels. For the participants of the conference and for the acts who can be seen live at the festival, this should result in realistic and promising opportunities to find future contact and cooperation partners in the various networking formats within the framework of the conference.

Waves Vienna Conference (c) Alexander Galler
Waves Vienna Conference (c) Alexander Galler


THU. SEP. 9, 2021

XA21 hosted by Austrian Music Export: 10:00 – 11:00 @ WUK Conference Room 1 / Listen to this year’s nominees over breakfast! Meet the nominated acts, their professional partners and the members of the international jury. Additionally, enjoy an acoustic session of last year’s XA winner, OSKA. More information about the XA can be found here.

Moderation: Franz Hergovich (Austrian Music Export/AT), Tatjana Domany (Austrian Music Export/AT), Thomas Heher (Waves Vienna/AT)

Tools for Streaming: 10:45 – 11:45 – WUK @ WUK Conference Room 2 / Presentation of three companies offering valuable services in various aspects of streaming: entrio.hr, Fanklub and Yamaha.

Speakers: Andreas Jantsch (Fanklub/HR), Andreas Juwan (Yamaha/DE), Bero Marszalek (entrio.hr/HR)
Moderation: Regina Fisch (Austrian Music Export/AT)

What’s up Germany? Music Festivals Beyond the Mainstream, hosted by Initiative Musik: 11:30 – 12:30 @ WUK Conference Room 1 / Besides the big, well known mainstream events, a diverse, multifaceted festival scene has developed in Germany over the last years. At this panel, we will talk with four of these festivals to learn more about their approach to maintain the balance between culture and commercial success, the booking strategy that makes them special, and how they engage with their regional connections and audience.

Speakers: Alex Härtel (Summer Breeze Open Air/DE) Christoffer Horlitz (Fuchsbau Festival/DE), Friederike Tesch (Immergut/DE), Florian Zoll (Taubertal/DE)
Moderation: Neus Lopez (Initiative Musik/DE)

Intro – Brno: 12:00 – 13:00@ WUK Conference Room 2 / Brno, the second biggest city of the Czech Republic, enjoyed an unusually rich cultural life, quite exceptional for a city its size. No day went by without a generous selection of musical offerings to choose from. But covid changed the game. What’s happening in the capital city of Moravia these days? “Intro-Brno” is a great chance to discover one specific city with people who influence the local music life like no other.

Speakers: Petra Braddock (Fair Prize Music/CZ), Marek Fišer (Councillor for Culture Brno City Municipality/CZ), Martin Kozumplik (Kabinet múz / SMILE Music/CZ), Lukáš Stara (FLÉDA/CZ), Milan Tesař (Radio Proglas/CZ)
Moderation: Márton Náray (Czech Music Office/SoundCzech/CZ)

Slovakia: The Music Scene Outside of Bratislava: 13:00 – 14:00 @ WUK Conference Room 1 / Slovakia has a strategic position, located on the Danube – for a touring artist it is perfectly on the way from the west to east. This time we will skip Bratislava and talk about what is happening outside of the capital city. What are the current venues, who’s behind them and what are they doing? Find out with Robert Blaško of Stanica Žilina-Záriečie, Patrik Richtárech of Klub Lúč in Trenčín and Milan Sláma of CNK Záhrada in Banská Bystrica. The panel will be hosted by Michal Klembara, the chairman of ANTENA, a network of cultural centres and organisations, which operates in the field of independent arts & culture in Slovakia.

Speakers: Patrik Richtarech (Klub Lúč/SK), Robert Blaško (Stanica Žilina-Záriečie/SK), Milan Sláma (CNK Zahrada/SK)
Moderation: Michal Klembara (ANTENA/SK)

Feedback Listening Session 1: 13:30 – 14:30 @ WUK Conference Room 2 / International professionals give constructive feedback on up-and-coming acts with international potential.

Speakers: Ariane Mohr (Reeperbahn Festival/DE), Theresa Langner (Assim Records/AT), Daniel Koch (Journalist/DE), Sandro Nicolussi (The Gap/AT)
Moderation: Rainer Praschak (mica – music austria/AT)

Gen Y of the Ukrainian Music Industry: 14:15 – 15:15 @ WUK Conference Room 1 / Unique electronic festivals, emerging labels, revitalized music venues, online music marathons – it seems like gen Y industry professionals are profoundly changing the landscape of Ukrainian music industry. Let’s find out how ‘these millennials’ are becoming the game-changers.

Speakers: Yurii Bazaka (Konbtrabass Promo/UA), Ivanna Havliuk (Bitanga Blood/UA), Alisa Mullen (Strela Agency/UA), Serge Synthkey (Module Live Events/UA)
Moderation: Dartsya Tarkovska (Ukrainian Music Export/UA)

Yamaha Masterclass: Get your Venue Ready for Livestreaming – Mixing Tips for Streaming with High Quality Sound: 15:00 – 16:00 @ WUK Conference Room 2 / As long as (bigger) audiences are not allowed inside clubs, streaming is the most attractive option – if it is done well. Even after the pandemic, technology will continue to evolve and enhance the live experience. Already, streaming concerts from clubs is proving an attractive way for artists to perform and reach even larger audiences. Venues are also benefiting from the increasingly easy-to-use technology and the tendency goes towards always being ready to hold hybrid events. This workshop provides some useful tips on how to mix audio for a livestream and gives some suggestion on the kit needed for a successful streaming club event.

Instructor: Andreas Juwan (Yamaha/DE)

Club Culture in Public Space, hosted by VCC: 15:30 – 16:30 @ Palme / The pandemic has made it clear that more opportunities are needed to dance in the open air. However, regulations, deadlines, logistics, the associated financial costs and other issues present many event organizers with challenges that are almost impossible to overcome. What are international solutions? How can we create better conditions in Vienna to enable club culture in public spaces?

Speakers: Magdalena Augustin (Gassen aus Zucker/IG Kultur Wien/AT), Peko Baxant (Viennese Municipal Council for Culture and Science and for Petitions/AT), Johannes Grüss (Clubcommission Berlin/DE), Markus Ornig (NEOS Wien/AT)
Moderation: Johanna Mayr-Keber (Radio FM4/AT)

Gender Equality within the Music Scenes in Comparison: East vs. West, hosted by MEWEM: 15:30 – 16:30 @ WUK Conference Room 1 / The emancipation process in socialist countries after the Second World War led to a huge increase of women in the workforce. They gained more freedom and were pronounced equal to men – whereas women in the capitalist West still needed mens’ approval to join the workforce. Unpaid work, such as childcare and housework, however, always remained part of women’s lives – in Western as well as in Eastern Europe. For Eastern European women, this meant more work overall. Women in Eastern Europe, just like in Western Europe, thus, never truly experienced gender equality. In this panel, we will discuss the implications of Eastern Europe’s socialist heritage regarding the role of women and gender minorities in the music business, and compare it to Western European views on women and gender minorities. Which differences are there between working in the music business as a woman or gender minority in Eastern compared to Western Europe? Which opportunities are offered in which parts, which are not? How can we learn from each other and each other’s flaws and mistakes?

Speakers: Nina Jukić (Musician/Don’t Go/AT/HR), Masha Peleshko (Artist/AT/UA), Iulia Pop (Overground Music/RO)
Moderation: Itta Francesca Ivellio-Vellin (mica – music austria/AT)

Meet Ukrainians!: 16:00 – 16:45 @ Grand Café Alsergrund / The Ukrainian delegation is ready to spark Waves Vienna again. Get acquainted with Ukrainian industry professionals, emerging artists and enjoy refreshments! A bedroom pop singer Zbaraski will perform at the event. The reception is a part of the Extra Sound programme.

MEWEM Reception: 16:30 – 17:30 @ WUK Conference Room 1

SoundCzech – Reception: 16:30 – 17:15@ Café Weimar / Come and meet the Czech music professionals and build some new connections with one of the most emerging music scene in Europe.

FRI. SEP. 10, 2021

Hungary: Gender Equality in the Hungarian Music Industry: 10:00 – 11:00 @ WUK Conference Room 1 /It isn’t an exaggeration to claim that gender disparities and underrepresentation of women are deeply embedded in the structure of the Hungarian music industry. Beside the Western European pioneers, Hungary’s a latecomer with no more than vague notions of the problem. In this panel, outstanding professionals will share their first-hand experience and will prove that minor but conscious steps can one day add up to a balanced and inclusive music scene.

Speakers: Vera Jónás (Vera Jonas Experiment/HU), Balázs Varga (Fekete Zaj Festival/HU), Judit Vincze aka Zsüd (imPRO School/Artist Zsüd/HU)
Moderation: Lucia Nagyová (HOTS/HU)

Fair Streaming – the Artist Growth Model, hosted by VTMÖ: 10:45 – 11:30 @ WUK Conference Room 2 / Discussions about a fair split of streaming income have recently picked up in intensity. Besides the shares of platforms vs rights owners, distributional justice (artists vs producers) is gaining public attention, more and more. We will discuss a new distribution model that has been proposed in the UK: The “Artist Growth Model” redirects parts of streaming royalties from most successful artists in favour of up-and-coming ones.

Speakers: Christina Bachler (Artist, Music Management Specialist, Activist/AT), Michelle Escoffrey (Singer/Songwriter, PRS for Music Members’ Council/UK), Paul Pacifico (AIM CEO –Association of Independent Music/UK)
Moderation: Alexander Hirschenhauser (VTMÖ – Association of Independent Labels/AT)

Romania: Introducing: 11:30 – 12:30 @ WUK Conference Room 1 / Find out more about the Romanian music scene – A networking opportunity with key players of the Romanian music market, facts & figures, and country presentation.

Speakers: Antonio Nartea (Expirat/RO), Titus Carole (Electric Castle/RO)
Moderation: Iulia Pop (Overground Music/RO)

Croatia: Global Festival Promoters vs. Local Music Scene: 12:00 – 13:00 @ WUK Conference Room 2 / A lot of festivals in Croatia are run by international companies focusing mostly on international audiences (tourists). How has this impacted the local scenes? Do local players see these events as competitors taking away opportunities in their home market, or do they cooperate with the international events and benefit from it? Did these events help in shaping a positive image of Croatia as a (dance-) music country, or help in building an international network? And how is the infrastructure for local acts to go abroad, and for international acts to enter the Croatian market?

Speakers: Sanja Ajdinovski (Outbox j.d.o.o./HR), Vedran Meniga (Pozitivan ritam/HR), Morana Periša (Fortress of Culture Šibenik/HR)
Moderation: Edo Plovanic (muzika.hr/HR)

Meet the Germans: 12:30 – 13:30 @ Café Weimar / Speed Meeting: Meet the Germans at Waves Festival Conference 2021 on Friday, 10th of September from 12:30-13:30 at Café Weimar. (Closed to those who applied by August 29th, 2021.)

Moldava: Introducing: 13:00 – 14:00 @ WUK Conference Room 1 / Find out more about the Moldavan music scene – A networking opportunity with key players of the Moldavan music market, facts & figures, and country presentation.

Speakers: Eugen Boico (Publicis Moldova/MD), Lidia Scarlat (Creative Producer/MD)
Moderation: Lilian Severin (POD Music/MD)

Serbia: Introducing: 13:30 – 14:30 @ WUK Conference Room 2 / Find out more about the Serbian music scene – A networking opportunity with key players of the Serbian music market, facts & figures, and country presentation.

Speakers: Martin Cuff (Advisor to the Prime Minister for Creative Industries and Tourism/RS), Bane Jovancevic (Drug§tore/RS)
Moderation: Milena Nikitović (Serbia Creates / Music Export Serbia/RS)

“Why Not Invest in the Creative Industries?” – Challenges and Opportunities of Investment with a Focus on Music Tech @ 14:00 – 15:00 @ Café Weimar / VR, AR or sophisticated web applications are todays easily accessible technologies for music consumers. Big data, blockchain or machine learning powers a vast amount of these tools and revolutionize the way we music is produced and put out. When 28-time Grammy winner Quincy Jones invested in the AI-powered tool Musimap it was just a glimpse of how important the MusicTech sector has become. What’s the next highly investible thing? Investment experts and young start-ups are here to enlighten us.

Speakers: Niko Alm (Schmaltz/AT), Thierry Baujard (Media Deals/FR), Philip Ginthör (playfull advisory & ventures GmbH/AT)

Bulgaria: Introducing: 14:30 – 15:30 @ WUK Conference Room 1 / Find out more about the Bulgarian music scene – a networking opportunity with key players of the Bulgarian music market, facts & figures, and country presentation.

Speakers: Vesela Kondakova (Bulgarian Music Association/BG), Ria Naydenova (Sofia International Music Conference/BG)
Moderation: Boyan Robert Pinter (Sofia International Music Conference/BG)

Instruments of Things – Turn Electronic Musical Instruments into Virtuoso Experiences: 15:00 – 15:30@ Café Weimar / Instruments of Things® is a music technology start-up that uses the Internet of Things to turn electronic musical instruments into virtuoso experiences. With our unique products, artists can push their performances to a spectacular level and consumers get access to interactive media – We turn YOU into music!

Speaker: Henrik Langer (Instrument of Things GmbH/DE)

Rubato Booking – Streamlining the Digital Booking Process: 15:30 – 16:00 @ Café Weimar / Rubato Booking is a digital booking platform connecting artists and music event organizers. It streamlines the whole booking process, and makes the communication between the artist-side and the organizer-side more effective. The goal is to simplify and make the communication between the artist-side and the organizer-side more effective, by including administrative tools, such as digital signatures of contracts, time scheduling tools, and payment solutions.

Speaker: Jørgen Berntson Aase

Feedback Listening Session 2: 15:30 – 16:30 @ WUK Conference Room 2 / International professionals give constructive feedback on up-and-coming acts with international potential.

Speakers: Cesar Andion (Live Nation Spain/The Spanish Wave/ES), Ralph H. Christoph (c/o pop/DE), Vincent Nicod (Wart/FR), Katharina Seidler (Radio FM4/AT)
Moderation: Rainer Praschak (mica – music  austria/AT)

Swiss Business Mixer: 16:00 – 16:45 @ Grand Café Alsergrund / Presented by FONDATION SUISA, the Embassy of Switzerland in Vienna, and SME, the Swiss Business Mixer offers a perfect opportunity for delegates from all over Europe to get to know their Swiss colleagues. The first post-lockdown edition of the event will undoubtedly be even more special. Oh, and there will be food, drink and, of course, music, too! Our live act this year will be the super talented singer and multi-instrumentalist Dino Brandão. Please register by Thursday 9 September 2021: https://forms.gle/PQsc3g8CbaoBPnhL8

HOTS – Reception: 16:45 – 17:30 @ Palme

SAT. SEP. 11, 2021

Meet the French: 11:30 – 12:30 @ Superbude / As part of the traditional Waves delegates tour, the CNM is organising a “Meet the French” networking breakfast at Superbude for French artists and professionals to meet their Austrian and international partners. The reception (Sat 11.09.  from 11:30 – 12:30) will also host an acoustic showcase set by singer-songwriter Barton Hartshorn: a great voice, with songs between an English pop-folk universe and 70s west-coast Americana. N.B.: by invitation only, please RSVP to the Waves delegates tour invitation! Please check our dedicated playlist here! To apply to take part at our delegates tour click here.

Slovenian Reception: 13:00 – 14:00 @ Wombat’s / The Slovenian reception at Waves Vienna has become a traditional guarantee of an unforgettable introduction to Slovenian artists & delegates. You will have the chance to meet some magnificent Slovenian delegates with an excellent Bevog beer in your hand, and grab some snacks afterwards. The selected musicians at Waves this year are Etceteral, Freekind. And Lelee.

Meet Slovenian professionals, enjoy the Bevog beer & food & have a good time! Presented by SKICA, SIGIC, Music Slovenia and MENT Ljubljana. To apply to take part at our delegates tour click here.

Waves Vienna 2019 (c) Alexander Galler


For ticketing options, click here.