XP Music Futures took place earlier this month in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh. The three-day conference further amplified music within the ever-expanding Saudi scene. With a mix of both local and international speakers and attendees, it was a great mix of industry individuals showcasing different areas of the business. Thousands of attendees roamed the various spaces, and listen to over 190 speaks from around the globe.
Held at Riyadh’s JAX District, XP Music Futures’ range of discussions, workshops, performances, and networking opportunities helped grow talent, build the regional scene, and advance the creative economy. A total of 76 sessions, a 46% increase from 2021’s inaugural edition, have taken place at this year’s event.
Nada Alhelabi, Strategy Director at MDLBEAST, said: “The Middle East and North Africa is the fastest growing music region in the world, with Saudi Arabia playing an increasingly prominent and vital role in this rise. XP Music Futures is a platform that nourishes and enhances the burgeoning musical and creative scene across the Kingdom, bringing together the creators and talent makers who play an integral role in ensuring our industry thrives and evolves.
David Guetta, DJ Khaled, Hardwell, Amy Thomson, and Mathew Knowles among others joined to learn more about the rapidly developing new music ecosystem in the MENA region and share insights as Saudi Arabia’s music scene will play an important part in opening up the country and diversifying the economy.
There was a diverse range of topics and speakers, both focusing on the Middle East scene as well as more general themes that relate to the scene as a whole. Some highlights include How to Market and Promote Artists Effectively, Wellness for the Constantly Creative Mind w/ Hardwell, SceneNoise Presents: Music Journalism in the Attention Economy, Music and Business, Why Both of These Worlds are Important as well as Maestro XPerience: Fireside Chat w/ David Guetta.
In a country where 2/3 of the population is under the age of 35, engaging with this population through the medium of music is a factor in connecting with the world. Global music sensation Guetta, appearing at a fireside chat ahead of his SOUNDSTORM set this weekend, said: “I am delighted to be here at XP Music Futures and SOUNDSTORM at this fascinating point in Saudi Arabia’s music and cultural journey. I am looking forward to delving deeper into the Saudi rave scene, which I believe really has its finger on the pulse.”
With a speakers’ gender split of 46% female to 54% male, and the percentage of regional speakers at 56% compared to 44% international, XP Music Futures is a true testament to diversity.
When the sun set on XP Music Futures, XP NITE offered an exclusive peek into Saudi Arabia’s bouncing underground scene, enabling revellers access to breakthrough innovations, talented artists and homegrown party brands. More than 130 artists are performing at XP Nite sessions across seven different event stages during the three-day extravaganza.
For anyone close to Riyadh or interested in the Middle Eastern music world, XP Music Futures is the place to learn. If you’re able to, ensure you attend in 2023!