For many artists it is a struggle to reach a larger audience. Not least for those who want to find an audience abroad. Astrid Selling at Musikcentrum Syd in Sweden and project manager for the Baltic Artists in Development project, says it is difficult if you are a freelance musician without a big organization with management to back you up.

– People outside the music industry rarely see the time-consuming job that is often required to get gigs, says Astrid Selling.

– To go on tour for instance. It’s a huge job. You contact hundreds of organizers and hopefully you will get answers from at least a few. I don’t think people know that side of being an artist.

The Baltic Artists in Development project is about strengthening what is called “music management” to increase the artists’ opportunities to reach out and find new audiences, especially on the international music scene in the Baltic Sea region.

– As a freelance musician, you have to keep track of a lot, from marketing to rules and rights. It’s a jungle.

Organizations from three countries participate in the project: Sweden, Estonia and Poland. The differences between the countries are to some extent big, says Astrid Selling.

– Sweden is different, with its organizations and non-profit associations, which operate from the bottom up. Estonia has an organization of entrepreneurs and Poland a government department. The solutions therefore look different in the different countries. But we all share the need to reach out to other markets and to strengthen the opportunities for “music management”. We see that the participants are very curious to hear what the others have to say.

Due to the pandemic, the situation for all artists is tough. Tours and concerts have been cancelled and almost all musicians lack unemployment insurance. The Baltic Artists in Development project is also affected by the pandemic. A major meeting, which was planned to be held in Warsaw in May, became an online meeting with the help of digital conference tools.

– It feels more important than ever to continue our work to strengthen our artists and managers. I think we have succeeded with this. The comments from the participants have been very positive. We have become very close, like colleagues.

Some artists and managers have already managed to benefit from networking between the countries.

– We have artists who, thanks to the project, have been booked in other countries. Among others, a punk band singing in Swedish to play in Estonia. It’s a lot of fun.

Facts

The project Baltic Artists in Development is funded by SI through the funding scheme Seed funding for cooperation projects in the Baltic Sea region.

SI provides funding for joint projects in which organisations based in Sweden can start and expand collaborations to meet transnational challenges together with organisations from the Baltic Sea region countries including Russia and the countries of the EU Eastern Partnership.