What effect has Covid-19 had on the UAE's entertainment industry? And how can local musicians reposition themselves in the wake of the pandemic?
These are some of the questions the Emirates Music Summit hopes to answer when it returns this month.
Running as part of the Breakout DXB festival at Dubai's Rove Downtown on Friday and Saturday, November 6 and 7, the two-day conference features a selection of UAE artists and leading music industry figures who will appear in panel discussions and interview sessions.
What is on the agenda?
Available to Breakout DXB ticket holders, the conference will take place in the hotel foyer with social distancing measures in place.
The first day mostly looks at the big picture when it comes to the music industry. In a session entitled UAE Music Scene during Covid, rapper Swerte from the group The Recipe and Nigerian Afropop singer MKO will join Tobie Allen from artist management company Ma'ana to reflect on how the local scene changed in the wake of the pandemic.
The role of women in the regional music industry will also be highlighted in a session featuring event producer Megatronic and singers FaFa and Sandra Sahi. Berklee Abu Dhabi Centre artist director Mayssa Karaa will also be on hand to highlight the Saadiyat Island institution's programme of events.
The final day of the conference looks at the future of the UAE's live events industry in the age of Covid-19, while The Art of Production session will feature UAE producers A'Y and Rayan Bailouni breaking down their beat-making process.
Taking the next step
According to co-organiser Albert M Carter, artist manager and creator of local music education initiative Hip Hop University, the Emirates Music Summit is the continuation of a discussion that began at the onset of the pandemic.
The event follows March's inaugural iteration, days before a government-mandated suspension of live events and venues. With rumours of the virus's ability to upend the international music industry racing at the time, Carter recalls conference attendees discussing the need to support each for the foreseeable future.
“Covid-19 was so new that we didn't know what to expect or how to handle it. The way that we were talking about this disease back then was that it could be one or two months, max, and six months later we are still here,” he said.
"But as a result of that, we did see some positive things emerging from the local scene. We saw a lot of musicians here band together and discuss ways to support each other. There were also a lot of organisations that sprouted up to help the arts community in whatever way they could.”
Now that artists and event organisers have begun to get a clearer idea of how to operate during the pandemic, Carter says the upcoming conference will look at ways to reactivate the live events space.
"For the time being, we need to learn how to live with Covid-19 and work within that space. But more than that, we want to look at all the opportunities that have come from this," he said.
"We will highlight those ideas and events. Since this situation will hopefully not last forever, we want to talk about both the present and future of the UAE music industry."
Emirates Music Summit will run as part of Breakout DXB, on Friday and Saturday, November 6 and 7; doors open at 11am. Tickets are Dh199 for a one-day pass and Dh249 for two-day pass, inclusive of a food voucher. For more information go to Platinumlist