XP Music Futures has concluded for 2022 with the message that Saudi Arabia’s expanding music and cultural scene will play an important part in opening up the country and diversifying the nation’s economy.
Organized by MDLBEAST and held at Riyadh’s JAX District over the past three days, XP Music Futures’ range of discussions, workshops, performances, and networking opportunities have helped grow talent, build the regional scene, and advance the creative economy. A total of 76 sessions, a 46% increase from 2021’s inaugural edition, have taken place at this year’s event.
Wednesday’s final day at XP Music Futures included a panel discussion entitled ‘The Future of Saudi Nightlife and its Global Party Ambitions’ and the thoughts of renowned international artists David Guetta, DJ Khaled, Hardwell, Afrojack, and Jillionaire.
Nada Alhelabi, Strategy Director at MDLBEAST, said: “XP Music Futures 2022 has provided great talent, great conversations, great connections, and a platform for supporting the growth of the musical and cultural scene in Saudi Arabia and the region.
“XP Music Futures will grow in conjunction with music and culture across Saudi Arabia, providing further creative opportunities for talent and music fans here, and an enlightening experience for those increasingly traveling to the Kingdom for events.
“The power of music and culture to bring people together should never be underestimated. The continued growth of Saudi Arabia’s creative economy bolsters not just its offering to the nation’s GDP but the enrichment and fulfillment of creative minds across the Kingdom. As XP Music Futures comes to a close for 2022, we move straight to the next stage of ‘THE LOUDEST WEEK IN RIYADH’ – and the region’s biggest music festival SOUNDSTORM this weekend.”
Global music sensation Guetta, appearing at a fireside chat during Wednesday’s proceedings ahead of his SOUNDSTORM set this weekend, said: “I am delighted to be here at XP Music Futures and SOUNDSTORM at this fascinating point in Saudi Arabia’s music and cultural journey. I am looking forward to delving deeper into the Saudi rave scene, which I believe really has its finger on the pulse.”
Guetta’s positivity about Saudi Arabia was firmly echoed by another popular worldwide performer. Grammy-award winning DJ Khaled, also appearing at SOUNDSTORM 2022, told XP Music Futures: “I’ve never been to Riyadh before, but I’ve been dreaming for this day to come. Not to just perform but to be with the people. The welcome has been unbelievable, I could tell straight away that people are happy here. I’m going to put on the best show ever on December 2.”
Abdulrahman Bakhsh, the founder of Lymm and a former director of the Saudi Tourism Authority, lauded the efforts of everyone in Saudi Arabia to amplify the musical and creative scene. Speaking at ‘The Future of Saudi Nightlife and its Global Party Ambitions’ panel session at XP Music Futures, Bakhsh said: “I believe that we have strong and visionary leadership for the country. Our greatest asset in Saudi Arabia is our passionate and creative people and organizations such as MDLBEAST and events such as XP are putting that passion and creativity in place.”
In an intimate one-on-one conversation with Hardwell in a session entitled ‘Wellness for the Constantly Creative Mind’, the global DJ superstar, said: “This is my first time not just in Riyadh but in Saudi Arabia and I’m really happy to be here. I’d seen all the videos of MDLBEAST’s SOUNDSTORM from last year and knew I just couldn’t miss it this year.
“I’m expecting a lot on Thursday night but I’m not letting myself overthink it. I’ve seen videos of the team sound-checking at the venue and it looks like – well, it is – the biggest dance music stage I’ve ever seen, anywhere in the world. To be able perform on that and close the first day of this festival, I am way beyond excited!”
Dutch DJ Afrojack was at XP Music Futures for ‘Afrojack’s Wall Camp: Meet the Team’, alongside guest speakers including Saudi electronic music DJ and producer Cosmicat. This past summer, Afrojack co-created a dedicated camp for developing local and regional talent, who worked with The Wall producers in a specialized studio environment.
Afrojack said: “I’ve always been interested in artist development, and I believe that with the required tools and right information, you can help anyone to become the artist they aspire to be. When I heard they are developing local, cultural talent in Saudi Arabia, I wanted to be a part of it because there is so much artist potential here.”
Elsewhere at XP Music Futures, the third day proceedings included a fireside chat session with Jillionaire, the Trinidadian DJ and music producer formerly of the American electronic music group Major Lazer. Jillionaire said: “I’m currently advising early-stage start-ups and founders within the music scene to scale their businesses and secure funding. Our operations have primarily been based across areas such as North America, Latin America, and Africa, but now I want to utilize my creative and tech background to find and discover talent in the GCC. I want to provide them with the guidance, tools, and resources needed to grow their audiences, reach new fanbases, and realize their ambitions.”
XP Music Futures this year has focused on the four pillars of Talent, Impact, Scene, and Innovation. Of the 76 sessions that have taken place at XP Music Futures over the past three days, 36 of them have covered the Talent pillar, 14 the Scene pillar, and 16 the Impact pillar. 10 sessions were held covering the newest pillar of XP Music Futures’, Innovation.
More than 130 artists performed at XP NITE sessions across seven different event stages this week at XP Music Futures. The continuation of live performances in Riyadh continues this weekend with the star-studded line up at SOUNDSTORM. See Soundstorm 2022 - Riyadh Music Festival | MDLBEAST for more information.