Launched in 2021, MDLBEAST’s XP Music Futures Conference has rapidly become the region’s most anticipated music gathering for artists and industry professionals. With a mix of workshops, panels, and 'fish bowl' conversations set across various pillars, including innovation, talent, scene, and impact, XP’s Music Futures programming cut through the many foundational aspects necessary to build a flourishing music industry, which goes beyond (but also includes) pop.
Throughout the conference, we sat down with some of the leading artists and industry professionals active within the MENA and international music landscape for insight into their work, reflections on the Saudi music scene, MDLBEAST, and music in MENA at large. The content unearthed travelled across topics of music management, artist bookings, Web3 and NFTs, data in the digital age, community building, mental health, copyrights, and establishing more venues. Each day also hosted a series of learning opportunities, including “Formula vs Trends” songwriting workshops, artist-led Maestro Xprience demos and fireside chats ranging from David Guetta to Elyanna, and masterclasses from leading platforms such as Anghami and YouTube focused on artist tools and revenue generation.
In the first of our series of Conversations from MDLBEAST's XP Music Futures in Riyadh, we sat down with Ghazi Shami, CEO of EMPIRE, the iconic record label known for a heavy-hitting roster of international stars from Anderson Paak to Snoop Dogg. Since launching regionally in 2021, EMPIRE has worked with WANA (West Asia and North Africa) artists like Neemz, Leil, Souljal, and more. In the interview, Ghazi talks about his Palestinian roots, how hip-hop got him into music nearly 30 years ago and how the genre brought him back to the region to help build an infrastructure for WANA artists and micro music economies. He also shed light on the support EMPIRE gives its artists, along with the fundamentals necessary for artists to focus on levelling up in their careers.
Watch the video below: