2023 Talks

All talks, with the exception of the Saturday Keynote with Ed Bicknell, will be held in the Dom na Kulturata “Boris Hristov,” Halls 1 and 2.  The Saturday Keynote will be held in the nearby Lucky Cinema.




11:15-12:15, hall 1, Dom na kulturata “boris hristov”

Meet the Showcase Festivals

The showcase festival is a unique opportunity to kickstart your international career. Learn more about these invaluable events directly from the people who make them happen! Find out about the booking process and the important benefits any attending artist, performer or delegate, can obtain. 

with: Peter Åstedt – Future Echoes (Sweden / CA), Michiko Fujimura – TIMM (Japan), Triin Tammistu – Tallinn Music Week (Estonia), Paulina Parvanov – Waves Vienna (Austria), Vaidas Stackevicius – What’s Next in Music? (Lithuania), Richy Muirhead – Pitch / SAMA (Scotland)

11:15-12:15, hall 2, Dom na kulturata “boris hristov”

The Business of Music:

Making Things Happen for the Artist (Part 2)

DIY? Not hardly!  Meet the team it takes to raise an artist!

In this panel we bring together successful managers and agents to discuss the long-term strategy for artist development locally and abroad, from digital releases to supporting iconic Rock and Roll bands on tour.

It does take a team. Learn how to collect yours, today!

with: Koen ter Heegde (Booking Agent), Rene Bereens – Manager (De Wolff, Navarone), Hristo Penchev – Manager (UAC Management), Ekaterina Bazhanova – (IMBS) Music Manager and Educator, Boyan Pinter (SPIKE)


Lunch Break

13:30-14:00, Hall 2, Dom na kulturata “boris hristov”

Information Session

Believe Music

Believe is the largest independent global digital music company, headquartered in France. Believe has several brands including TuneCore, Nuclear Blast, Naïve, Groove Attack and AllPoints.

Believe has been very active in the Balkans with a list of top clients such as the labels Global Records, Roton, Ara/Diapason, Monte Music, Bassivity Digital, Facing The Sun, Thrace Music and artists like Molec, Trap 19 Connection, FYRE, and many more.

with: Alek Bošković (A & R / Label Manager for Believe Music), Guillaume Regnault (Lead Video Channel Manager for Believe Music), Boyan Pinter (A & R / Label Manager for Believe Music)

14:15-15:15, Hall 1, Dom na kulturata “boris hristov”



In this keynote interview / masterclass, legendry sound engineer and producer Lennart Östlund will talk about working with bands like ABBA, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, and Rammstein, just to name a few. His years behind the mixing desk have changed the face (sound) of contempoary music in Europe and beyond

with: Peter Åstedt (MusicHelp, Distrosong, Future Echoes) and special guest Lennart Östlund (Sound Engineer and Producer, Polar Studios Stockholm)

14:15-15:15, Hall 2, dom na kulturata “boris hristov”



Heavy Metal continues to thrive thanks in no small part to its loyal global fanbase.
Metal acts need to be constantly on the road to earn money, however they seem to be neglecting the cutting edge digital tools available to them in the fields of PR and distribution. Learn about the soft skills necessary to get your band signed to an agent or a distribution deal. 

Find out how the convergence of professional support can bring about a change in your career!

A panel dedicated to Bulgaria’s vibrant rock and heavy metal community.

with: Alexander Obert (Doomstar Bookings, DE), Merle Doering (Catch 22, DE), Stef Pascual (deviate digital, UK), David Kaiser (Blood Blast Distribution / Believe Music, DE), Umong Shah (Fortitude Music / Future Echoes)

15:30-16:30, hall 1, dom na kulturata “boris hristov”



Presented in partnership with Drive Foundation Canada

A Creative Life in Balance!

The creative industries have always been a volatile and unpredictable way to make a living. It is a lifestyle that carries with it a lot of choices and opportunities, but seldom provides the coping mechanisms to manage the pressures and demands of the industry.

The panel will dive into a contextual and informative discussion on the effects of substance abuse and alcholism as self-prescribed and self-administered coping mechanisms in the industry. Can we avoid the pitfalls of history or find a solid middle ground?

with: Sandy Graham (Cashbox Canada / EMG), Ed Bicknell (Drummer, Agent, Manager), Cussy Nicodemo (Dance Plant Records), Malen Malenov (Psychonalyst / Psychodrama Therapist), Boyan Pinter (SPIKE)

15:30-16:30, Hall 2, dom na kulturata “boris hristov”

Music revenue streams and rights exploitation

Making money while you sleep

There is a $20 dollar bill on the floor . . . and it’s yours!

Live music generates the highest income but there is not enough to go around. Developing and established artists need to explore income streams that they have so far neglected. Algorithms can be opitmized to generate higher earnings, old catalogs are dusted off the shelf and turned into cash, sync licensing continues to be both an income stream and a tool for audience development.

Find out what’s missing from “your” business strategy!

with: Mariya Kaperska (Head of Operations at Phoenix Music International), Henriette Heimdal (Music Business Consultant), Steve Farris (Steve Farris Music), Lionel Lodge (Sync Lodge),  András Bozán Bodrogi (The State 51 Conspiracy)




11:00-12:00, hall 1, dom na kulturata “Boris hristov”

Are distributors the new labels?

Presented by Believe Music and Horus Music

Are major label signings a thing of the past?

Digital Distribution companies are quickly replacing major labels thanks to flexible pricing, global delivery, pitching to playlists, and even large advances. From a single song project deal to a 5 album long-term contract, every artist, producer, and manager worth their weight should be knocking on their doors.

with: Nina Condron (Horus Music), Alek Bošković (Believe Music), Sossie Khatcherian (Dance Plant Records), Aprilia Ivanescu (April Management / Catalina Cara), David Kaiser (Blood Blast Distribution / Believe Music, DE), Henriette Heimdal

11:00-12:00, hall 2, dom na kulturata “boris hristov”

Sustainability for Festivals

Presented in association with NHL Stenden University, the Netherlands

Professor of Music Business at NHL Stenden Bastiaan Nijbroek leads a discussion on festival and event sustainability assisted by an all-star panel of festival organizers

with: Bastiaan Nijbroek (Educator / NHL Stenden), Lisa Nasta (Glastonbury Festival), Malin Östh (Lilla By Festivalen / Kristianstad Music Day), Jonas Tancred (Lilla By Festivalen / Kristianstad Music Day), Boyan Pinter (SPIKE)

12:15-13:15, Hall 1, dom na kulturata “boris hristov”

Bulgarian Music Export

Sounds in the charts and beyond

Bulgarian Music Export: The Sound Engineers and Producers
Presentation and Q & A

Have you ever wondered why certain Bulgarian songs sound so good? Meet the people responsible for shaping the sounds of Bulgaria’s most export-ready music from the last decade. Artists they have produced include Jeremy?, Poli Genova, Maria Ilieva, Dara Ekimova, Innerglow, Lunnik, and many more.

with: Yanko Genov (Sound Engineer / Producer), Mihail Rusev (Sound Engineer / Producer), Dimiter Ganchev (Sound Engineer / Producer), Umong Shah (Fortitude Music)

12:15-13:15, hall 2, dom na kulturata “boris hristov”

People in Music

Stronger Together: Us and Them

We all carry labels–gender, age, nationality, sexual identity, to name a few. While embracing these labels allows us to live fuller, more authentic lives, it is easy to limit ourselves to networks of those who are similarly aligned.

This cross-generational, cross-cultural, and cross-gender panel will discuss the benefits of collaboration and partnership in the music industry, and beyond.

with: Sandy Graham (Cashbox Canada / EMG), Anca Lupes ( MMB – Raw Music), Peter Åstedt (MusicHelp, Distrosong, Future Echoes), Jess Partridge (Sounds & Strategy / EMEE / On The Move), Boyan Pinter (SPIKE)


Lunch Break

13:30-14:00, hall 2, dom na kulturata “boris hristov”

An introduction, presentation, and special announcement from the International Music Business School!

with: Ekaterina Bazhanova (International Music Business School) & Boyan Pinter (SPIKE)

14:15-15:15, Hall 1, dom na kulturata “boris hristov”

An international plan for music export

History, Evolution, and Current Best Practices

Coming at it from all angles!

This panel will discuss the challenges and opportunities of internationalising a local band and making it export ready. From networking to funding, from press relations to good business practices, this panel has seen it and done it all. It takes a team to lift the artist to the next level!

with: Neal Thompson (Focus Wales, Llangollen Fringe), Cussy Nicodemo (Dance Plant Records), Vaidas Stackevičius (Music Export Lithuania), Sandy Graham (Cashbox Radio / Cashbox Magazine)

14:15-15:15, Hall 2, dom na kulturata “Boris Hristov”

What’s the future of music?

Redefine, reshape, and refocus

At this time, 100 000 new songs are uploaded to DSPs every day. AI-generated tracks are threatening to take over. Concert-goers in Canada are wiling to pay over $100 for a ticket to a hologram concert of Michael Jackson or Ronnie James Dio. Is technological innovation really going to help today’s artist break through the noise, or will it  bury them completely? How do we make sense of it all? Let’s ask the experts!

with: Peter Åstedt (MusicHelp, Distrosong, Future Echoes), András Bozán Bodrogi (State 51 Conspiracy), Marcelo Gariboto (VIA Music), Jess Partridge (Sounds & Strategy / EMEE / On The Move)

15:45-17:45, Lucky Cinema

Keynote Interview: Ed Bicknell

With Boyan Pinter

Legendary manager Ed Bicknell will take eager listeners on a journey through his illustrious career as a promoter, agent, and manager. His razor sharp wit is matched only by this vibrant sense of humor.

While on the Entertainment Committee at Hull University he promoted what later became the iconic artists of generations to come, including Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, The Who and The Moody Blues.

After moving to London he began working as an agent for Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Ike and Tina Turner and the Talking Heads. A chance trip to a local club introduced him to the Dire Straits, who he managed until they disbanded in 1993. He continued to work with Mark Knopfler for a few years after.

And now we come to the interesting part . . .

with: Ed Bicknell (Drummer, Agent, Manager Extraordinaire) and Boyan Pinter (SPIKE)