Crossing Nordic borders in collaboration
The pan-Nordic export collaboration NOMEX (Nordic Music Export Programme) has launched trade missions and other export projects for 12 years. Now, as music industry faces challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, the music export offices believe strongly in co-operation and the Nordic market.
NOMEX is a pan-Nordic collaborative organization that aims to facilitate growth in the Nordic music sector. It was founded in 2008 for the export offices in the Nordic region for sharing information and best practices.
"Back then the primary target markets for most people in the music industry were the United States of America and the United Kingdom", says Thomas Rohde, the CEO of MXD – Music Export Denmark. He's been involved with NOMEX since it was originated.
"We saw huge benefits in pooling the resources of the Nordic music export offices and then attack those markets in unity with great strength."
Rohde says that the pan-Nordic collaboration soon provided more benefits and synergies than originally thought. In many cases the NOMEX projects have been powerful catalysts for collaborations between Nordic artists and music companies.
"For example a trade mission to Tokyo may not only have increased the export of Nordic music to Japan, but very often it has resulted in new Nordic collaborations as well", Rohde describes.
Nordic to the bone
Kaisa Rönkkö, the Executive Director of Music Finland, explains that NOMEX’s benefits do not limit to peer support – which also is important. The collaboration guarantees a broader background organization for every participant, which acts as a helpful support in upcoming projects.
"In addition the pan-Nordic export missions and projects like Ja Ja Ja brings visibility to the Nordic music export as a whole. Together we are bigger and more diverse", Rönkkö says.
Ja Ja Ja is a monthly club night held in London and Berlin showcasing emerging talent from the Nordic countries. Kathrine Finnskog, the Executive Director of Music Norway, has a hot example from those clubs: r&b singer Amanda Delara.
"Amanda Delara debuted at Ja Ja Ja and currently is breaking in Germany", Finnskog says.
Delara's collaboration, a song titled Checka, with the German artist Loredana is at #2 at Spotify's Germany Top 50 list.
"She also has strong Nordic roots being a Norwegian artist born in Sweden.
First we take Stockholm
Finnskog says that there's a slight change of strategy in the air: instead of aiming straight to the USA or Asia, companies want to grow more possibilities within the Nordic market first. Many in the industry view their local market too small to build a platform steady enough to launch in large markets such as mentioned above. Rohde says the Nordic infrastructure and the Nordic markets have become one of MXD's major priorities.
"As a chair of NOMEX I'm proud to contribute in breaking down borders between the domestic music markets in the Nordics", Finnskog states.
"By building an audience in our closest markets, artists can gain the economic muscles needed to endure larger tours and marketing campaigns to reach an even larger audience. Having built a large audience in the Nordics also helps in making the artist much more attractive to international partners", Finnskog says.
Cost efficiency is also what Jesper Thorsson, the CEO of Export Music Sweden, underlines.
"Exporting music is a lot about returning to a territory and the Nordic market is always close. The travel to our neighbor countries is short and cheap. Cultures are similar and the markets are easy to understand", Thorsson explains.
Let's stick together
The Nordic market is more important for Icelandic music than ever, says Sigtryggur Baldursson, the Managing Director of Iceland Music. The accessibility to these markets and correspondence between the Nordic offices have been prominent even with the coronavirus situation.
"The Nordic market is in many ways more open and positive towards our music. Especially for us here in small Iceland, it's more of an incentive for us to go to the Nordics, than for our Nordic siblings to come here to our tiny marketplace", Sigtryggur describes.
Covid-19 isn't the only crisis we're facing. Kaisa Rönkkö believes that the pressure generated by the climate change and diminishing economical resources will only build more interest in exporting music to neighboring markets.
"That is worth investing in right now. There's an immense amount of untapped potential in every genre in the Nordics", Rönkkö says.
The music industry is facing serious challenges because of the coronavirus. Thomas Rohde feels confident about dealing with the pandemic – again, in collaboration.
"This crisis is another challenge to which we can find much better solutions in unity with our Nordic sisters and brothers."
Follow Morning Coffee with the Nordics, a webinar series produced by NOMEX, starting on Oct 15th. Find more info here!