(photo credit: Alon Klinger)
The lights are dim, the crowds engaged. Sweet melodies bellow from the
artists’ mouths; some sound more gruff, others serene. The applause is
enthusiastic and smiles are shared. Israeli indie artists are finally
gaining recognition. Globes MAD Music Festival has made its mark.
Wednesday, Globes hosted its second annual MAD Music Conference and
Festival in Tel Aviv. MAD, an acronym for marketing, advertising and
digital, is a daylong event that aims to expose Israel’s most qualified
independent musicians to experts in the business world as well as
integrate these musicians into the worlds of marketing, advertising, and
“The music sector is one of the most undervalued
sectors of the creative industry,” said Jeremy Hulsh, a representative
of Oleh! Records, during one of the conference’s panel discussions.
solve this problem, Globes created a platform that will spark dialogue,
create networking opportunities, and teach valuable lessons for both
musicians and advertisers alike.
“It makes you think about what you are doing and why you do it,” said Hannah Schwartz, a conference attendee.
conference, held at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv,
featured speeches and panels that touched upon issues and topics related
to marketing and branding. The purpose of these discussions was to
teach the artists how to stand out because ultimately the music industry
is not solely about music; the artists need to be noticed.
As Issar Tennenbaum, the artistic director of the festival, said, it is all a game and the musicians need to learn how to play.
the conference, the MAD Music Festival placed musicians in ten bars
throughout Tel Aviv to showcase their music to the public. The festival
lasted five hours and showcased 50 bands representing multiple genres
such as punk, electro-pop, and folk rock. The 50 bands that played were
chosen from a lot of 350 who applied. In addition to a spot in the
festival, the artists will also receive a grant of NIS 500 for digital
advertising and a promotion by Globes worth 25,000NIS.
festival aspect of MAD Music was inspired by festivals in the United
States such as South by Southwest in Austin, TX and CMJ Music Marathon
in New York, NY. Tennenbaum and the rest of the MAD Music team wanted to
create an atmosphere where people could rock out and enjoy music. In
the States, he saw people in bars and on street corners getting their
music out, and wanted that same opportunity for Israeli musicians.
a result of that desire, Tennenbaum and the other crew members scouted
out bars in Tel Aviv that could be potential venues for live music
showings. Some of the venues he chose had never before housed live
shows. Tennenbaum admits that at first some bar owners were skeptical,
but he told them to leave the work to him; he would make it happen.
the festival, each bar had different bands playing with each set
lasting up to an hour. What was great about this festival was that it
exposed everyday citizens to new music, thus enabling these musicians to
expand their fan base.
“If not for this, I don’t think I would
be exposed to these people otherwise,” said Sharon Lifshitz, a teenager
who attended the festival with some friends. “It’s great to know new
bands and new singers that you didn’t know before.”
to gaining new fans, the bands also had the opportunity to gain new
advancements in their careers. Thirteen delegates from the United States
and European music industries were invited to the conference and
festival in order to seek out new talent and possibly choose artists
they want to work with and promote.
According to Tennenbaum, it
is about “who gets grabs first of new talent.” Ideally, the organizers
of the festival hope the Israeli music industry will snag the artists,
but ultimately the musicians can be taken away from Israel to the
international market by the foreign delegates. In the end, it is about
whatever opportunities are best for these independent musicians.
with branding artists, the conference and festival were also meant to
show artists that they have opportunities outside of the traditional
“Music is the core product of everything around it,”
Tennenbaum said. He gave the example that music is in advertisements and
video games. Musicians can also work to have their music placed in
projects like that.
The musicians chosen to perform were all very
grateful for the opportunity given to them and were honored to be
chosen for the 350 bands that applied.
“Just the fact that they
have a festival that is honoring local artists is so important,” said
Adir Cohen, an indie rock singer who performs under the name Adir L.C.
“It just feels really good here.”
And that is exactly MAD Music’s goal: to have all Israeli singers say it feels really good to play here.