We Move Music Croatia celebrates its first year: From co-financing touring musicians to a successful SHIP showcase festival!
The Croatian Music Export Office (We Move Music Croatia) opened exactly one year ago, and a team of eight professionals from the Croatian music industry has achieved several important goals.
Over the past year, We Move Music Croatia has co-financed more than 15 performances at showcase festivals across Europe. Croatian musicians have played at the most relevant European showcase festivals such as Eurosonic, MENT Ljubljana, SHARPE, jazzahead!, the PIN Conference, and many others. The goal of the Croatian Music Export Office for the coming years is to encourage Croatian artists to perform at other showcase festivals where they haven’t had the opportunity to perform yet and to increase the number of performers at festivals where they have. It is important to note that the number of applications for showcase festivals has increased by over 200% since the office opened.
In its first year, the office also co-financed over 15 European tours of Croatian musicians, making it easier for some performers and enabling others to tour across Europe. The touring musicians visited the following countries: Austria, Hungary, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Belgium, Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, Denmark, Italy, and Spain. Additionally, in collaboration with the DJ sections of the Croatian Musicians Union (HGU) and the Croatian Composers’ Society (HDS), Croatian DJs were financially supported to perform at this year’s Ultra, the largest electronic music festival in this part of Europe, where they showcased their talents to a diverse international audience.
Just a few months into its operations, the office signed a contract with the Ministry of Culture and Media to fund tours and performances by Croatian artists at showcase festivals abroad. This partnership has provided the office with a firm partner and given artists the opportunity to showcase their musical expressions and creativity on the international music scene, further advancing their musical careers.
In its first year, the office opened four open calls for co-financing that are still active, and they invite everyone to apply: co-financing of tours, co-financing of mini-tours, artist exchange program, and co-financing of performances at showcase festivals.
During the first year, the office conducted over 100 legal consultations for Croatian music professionals. The Croatian Music Export Office was presented in Zagreb, Rijeka, and Split, and its representatives participated in workshops as part of the Superval, school band festival and the SUBSTRAT festival for independent concert venues and clubs. They presented themselves at last year’s MAKK conference also. They also attended the following showcase festivals: Eurosonic, Womex, Reconnect Brno, MENT Ljubljana, Budapest Showcase Hub, Pin Conference, KONTAKT Conference, BALKAN:MOST Festival, and took part in the EMEE Forum in Poland.
One of the key aspects of the office’s work is the creation of young professionals in the music industry. In collaboration with the MENT Ljubljana (Slovenia), Kontakt (Serbia), SHIP (Croatia), and PIN Music Conference (North Macedonia), they’ve launched a new regional initiative called New Faces 2023, which, for the first time in history, selected ten promising young music professionals (under 30 years old) actively involved in the music industry. The selected individuals have already made a significant impact in the local and wider music community, and they are highly motivated in their work, which is already yielding results. They met, exchanged ideas, and discussed problems in their own communities while finding solutions at the mentioned festivals.
An important goal of the office is gaining membership in the European Music Exporters Exchange (EMEE). EMEE is an association of European music export offices and a nonprofit organization consisting of 32 national and regional music export offices from 27 countries based in Brussels. The support provided by music export offices within the EMEE network includes funding, capacity building and training, business advice, international networking, business support programs, and much more. As part of this network, We Move Music Croatia collaborates with other music export offices across Europe to promote and support Croatian music at the international level.
The largest event held since the establishment of the office is undoubtedly the SHIP festival, which took place from September 14th to 17th this year in Šibenik. A total of 65 panellists and 42 artists took the stage over four days on six beautiful stages in Šibenik at the SHIP festival. The success of the Croatian Music Export Office and the SHIP festival was confirmed by colleagues from European offices who have years of experience in their work and organizing showcase festivals. SHIP has already announced its second year at the same location from September 12th to 15th, 2024.
“We must be honest and say that we have successfully achieved most of the set goals for the first year, but there are still many goals to be achieved in the coming years. We believe that we have laid a good foundation in the first year, especially through our collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Media and partners from the music industry, our entry into EMEE, and the very successful SHIP festival. The idea is that, in addition to helping artists, we also work on creating music professionals, which are sorely lacking in Croatia. We are pleased with the increasing collaboration on projects with partners from Europe. Given that we opened two additional open calls just a month ago, we invite all interested parties to get in touch with us and follow our work on our website and social media” said the Croatian Music Export Office representatives.