NEWS blog

10 April 2012

Tallinn Music Week 2012 was a success!


The annual showcase festival and music industry conference Tallinn Music Week took place for the fourth time and this year presented a record number of promising artists from 13 countries. The 183 bands and artists performing on 27 festival stages gathered 11 200 visitors. The festival’s conference programme was attended by 589 local and international delegates.

The conference opening hosted a welcome speech by the President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who revealed an extensive knowledge of rock music, citing Neil Young and PJ Harveyandalso touched upon the connection of rock’n’roll to democracy and freedom of speech, pointing out the recent arrests of the members of a Russian punk band Pussy Riot. The speech can be viewed in full:

For the first conference panel Anna Hildur Hildibrandsdottir presented the strategy and goals for Nordic Music Export offices (NOMEX), followed by discussion on trends in European music exports. TMW conference also covered topics like copyright, models of music entrepreneurship, the role of a manager, career opportunities of classical music artists and hosted a pitching session for innovative music products and services of Garage48 Tallinn Music. Celebrity interviews with two music industry legends, the prolific artist manager Edward Bicknelland Russian cultural figure Artemyi "Artjom" Troitsky both inspired and entertained the audience.

589 music entrepreneurs and representatives of music organizations took part of the conference as delegates, among them 306 from abroad and 283 from Estonia. 108 delegates were present from Finland, 46 delegates from Latvia, 34 from UK, 27 from Germany and 19 from Russia.

“We are happy to see that TMW has now a solid place at the annual calendars for our region’s music industry key players and organizations. If we manage to boost up the artist and knowledge exchange between the neighbouring countries by making it possible for the right people to meet each other, we have already succeeded, simultaneously providing a gateway into the market for the whole Europe and the world. Just five years ago it was quite rare to see an Estonian band play in Finland or Latvia and as rare to see any Latvian bands play in Estonia. Things have changed significantly and suddenly the whole region is a bigger and more open market place for new talent, “ comments the head organizer of TMW, Helen Sildna.

Meanwhile, right after TMW, European Talent Exchange Programme released a statement, saying Estonia’s Ewert and the Two Dragons are doing best out of this year’s ETEP program following Eurosonic 2012 and the band have been confirmed to play at festivals in Finland, Sweden, Belgium, France and Lithuania.  Ewert and the Two Dragons were in fact the Skype Award winners of TMW 2011 and within a year their career has taken them to festivals across Europe together with their first tour in North America.

The Skype Award winner 2012 will soon be announced and the prize of 3500 EUR will go to an artist with the most international potential as selected amongst TMW delegates.

During the 4 years of TMW a lot has happened to the music industry of Estonia: in 2010 an industry’s platform organization Estonian Music Development Centre was established, in 2010 the first master-class of Estonian music entrepreneurs kicked off, in 2011 the organization together with TMW got the first solid 2-year funding for developing export activities through Enterprise Estonia (EAS). “TMW has a key role in shaping the Estonian music export strategy and the festival is an important partner for the government when developing the best support measures that would help musicians to reach international markets,“ comments the undersecretary for fine arts at the ministry of culture Ragnar Siil.


Dates for Tallinn Music Week 2013 will soon be announced.

Photos for media use:


TMW statistics:



27 stages

183 artists from 13 countries

150 artists from Estonia

11 200 festival visitors

589 delegates, 283 from Estonia

306 international delegates

61 549 unique hits on the website from 110 countries



16 stages

147 artists from 10 countries

123 artists from Estonia

7600 festival visitors

423 delegates, 229 from Estonia

194 international delegates

52 483 unique hits on the website from 88 countries


The Guardian, Helienne Lindvall: “Tallinn Music Week suggested the Baltic States would be the next region to burst on to the European music scene. It was clear right from the start that last week's TallinnMusicWeekwas not your ordinary music festival – and Estonia not your average country. The Estonian president, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, opened the festivities by reminiscing about his days at CBGBsin New York, mentioning Neil Young, quoting lyrics from PJ Harvey's Let England Shake, and touching on the perils of being an outspoken musician when the country was part of the Soviet Union.”


Loud and Quiet, Andrew Childs: "Over the weekend, Tallinn Music Week (TMW) experienced a significant rise in music executive types who would normally associate themselves with the larger and more established showcase conferences, like SXSW, CMJ and our own Great Escape. Considering the event’s previous success stories, which include local folk-pop act Ewert & The Two Dragons, who have recently started to make waves in the British music media and across central Europe, it is abundantly clear why UK-based music execs have wised up to the delights the picturesque Estonian capital has to offer.”


Jonas Holst, A&R, Sony/ATV Music Publishing Scandinavia:“Without the efforts from Tallinn Music Week, the focus on Estonian music would be a lot less. To make the artist/bands/labels/manager easy to access is very valuable for international music industry. You build relationships and continue to work with them over a long period of time thanks to TMW. Nothing is instant and these long and steady relations are fantastic when they work, and they do thanks to the various platforms and opportunities built by Tallinn Music Week. The goodwill and visibility of Estonian music and artists has TMW a lot to thank for. I’m not sure there is an equivalent anywhere in the world, to access almost everything and everyone in Estonia at once.”


Adam Harper, the Wire Magazine: “Tallinn Music Week has proven that a country as small as Estonia punches well above its weight in terms of musical talent. The degree of technical ability and polish shown, across many different genres, both live and on record, was very impressive. What's more, Tallinn's musical community is warm, well informed and enthusiastic. In particular, I was amazed at the address given by President Ilves, which proved indicative of the passion and connoisseur-ship I was to encounter in the following days - such ardent and detailed insight into the relation between music and politics barely exists in the UK's Houses of Parliament or even many of its arts-supporting institutions. TMW was a thought-provoking window on music-making culture not just in and around Estonia, but as regards the rest of the world too."


Ville Kipeläinen, Fullsteam Agency: “After 4 years, Tallinn Music Week is already among the top 5 showcase festivals in the world, which is an amazing accomplishment in itself. Secondly, the Estonian music scene has leapfrogged past most European countries as one of the most exciting sources of emerging talent. Tallinn Music Week is a productive and enjoyable event that just keeps getting better and better."


Jonas Sjöström, Playground Music Scandinavia: “Tallinn Music Week combines the chance to see a lot of interesting local bands at great venues and meet professionals colleagues from all over Europe in a very relaxed atmosphere. The old town in Tallinn provides a fantastic background for the emerging Baltic music industry to meet with the European industry. Playground will be back!”


Sine Tofte Hannibal, Nordlichter Biennale 2012 Berlin: “The programme really showed the variety of genres constituting the Estonian music scene and the ebullient pool of talent, and it definitely makes sense to mix the genres since I as a foreigner gain a much wider and distinctive insight into the music scene and shows all the interesting things going on cross genre. The highlight for me was definitely the Estonian Music Days show case, which was very well planned with a great programme of concerts suiting the venue very well and composers and ensembles of a high standard, a very good form with concerts alternating two rooms and a really good atmosphere. Furthermore, I really enjoyed the concerts at Theatre No99, which presented bands also of a really high standard, playing a playful, appealing and joyful music that to me - meant as something very positive - represented something more Estonian and unique than international and therefore made a great impression.”


Ilya Bortnuk, Light Music (RUS): “I think that TMW growing up and developing appreciably, the varity of the delegates from the different countries is growing up as well. Moreover I can say that TWW was a real meeting point between Russia and Baltics this year. Estonian music scene is developing remarkably - there are a lot of interesting musicians in different genres. I would like to note such artists as Legshaker, Mimicry, Tiit Kikas, Mart Avi.”



Tallinn Music Week thanks our partners and supporters:

Nordic Hotel Forum, Skype, LHV Bank, Kultuurikatel, Tuborg Music, VW Beetle, Estonian Air, Tallink, Hansabuss, Eventech, RGB, 360 Event Service, ERR, Postimees, Anne & Stiil, Viru Keskus, Apollo bookshop, Rada7, Garage48, Velvet, Ministry of Culture, Estonian Cultural Endowment, Tallinn Heritage Board, Tallinn Enterprise Department, EAS, Embassy of USA, British Council, EAÜ and Estonian Music Export. TMW conference took place in cooperation with Estonian Music Development Centre, TMW designs are created by AKU Collective.

TAGS: Press