Dubai hosts its first-ever regional music week in partnership with the leading European music event, MIDEM. The six-day event includes seminars by renowned producers Quincy Jones, Timbaland and Will.I.Am.
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, (25 SEPTEMBER, 2013) REUTERS - Dubai has been hosting the first-ever music week (DMW) featuring live concerts from American headliners Will.I.Am, Timbaland and Selena Gomez and a daily amateur band jam session of regional artists hoping to get discovered.
The event combines seminars from global music industry heads, star-studded concerts and a regional talent competition judged by the world's most renowned producers.
Kicking off the six-day conference were seminars given by Quincy Jones.
The legendary producer - credited with making Michael Jackson a star - said he was confident he'd find another shining talent in the region.
Jones, Will.I.Am and Timbaland shared their insights into the evolution of the music production on stage in front of a packed audience before watching five short-listed regional musicians perform their chance to stardom.
Four UAE-based artists were among the line-up but it was the Lebanese singer Xris Jor who walked away with the once-in-a-life time opportunity of having Quincy Jones produce her debut single after wowing the judges with her rendition of Beyonce's "Listen".
Jor, a former contestant on the Voice (Middle East), also impressed fellow judgesWill.I.Am and Timbaland who have said they want to work with her and she will now be signed to G3 (Global Gumbo Group) and Sony music.
She said she hoped to work with such experienced and exceptional professionals.
"It's always good to work abroad and then come back and bring it to our own country - that's what is nice," Jor said.
Along with showcasing regional talent, DMW partnered with MIDEM, the leading international music business event, to also bring managers, promoters, publicists and record labels from the region's music industry together with their international counterparts over two dedicated conference days on 26 and 27 September.
"That's why we are here, to hear and listen and understand what is happening here and hopefully to have people from the region come to Midem to showcase their talents and know-how to the rest of the world," Director of MIDEM, Bruno Crolot said at the sidelines of the conference.
One of the recurring issues discussed amongst industry specialists was the debilitating effect music piracy and lack of sufficient copyright laws was having on the sector in the region.
"An essential step needed is the protection of intellectual property in the music production sector and others from the creative sectors of the economy," Dr Sami Mahroum, moderator of a panel discussion on copyrights management at the conference said.
Mahroum, a Director at INSEAD in Abu Dhabi said the governments, artists and record executives were missing out on a lot of potential investment and revenue because of poor regional copyright laws.
"The absence of protection for creative production in the Arab region takes away from the private sector's investment portfolio and therefore stops them from investing further in this sector. As a result the amount of available investment in this sector is much less than it should be."
Long-time Lebanese producer and music arranger, Hadi Sherarra, was hopeful that the conference and music week would help put Arab musicians on the international map.
"The day we get the West to buy our music is the day we have really achieved something and hopefully this is the first step for Arabic Music," said Sherarra.
DMW's inaugural event ran from 24 to 29 September this year but organisers say they plan to make it a yearly event aimed at enriching the Middle East's music industry as well as showcasing local talent globally.