Bringing together the worlds of festivals, expos, and start-up conferences, Muzix is the first event of its kind and is set to revolutionise the music industry in Egypt. We speak to the founders about what they've got planned for one of the most anticipated musical events of the year.
The exponential rise of technology has not only changed the way music sounds, but has also transformed the industry that delivers and packages it for mass consumption. This technologically-driven musical shift results in endless debates among musicians and industry leaders on how to best adapt to a new environment. The old formula for musical success is increasingly becoming obsolete, as a wave of new talents are proving that it is possible to become successful in the industry from the comforts of their own bedroom. Looking to create, discover, and innovate a unique environment is the debut of Cairo’s own Muzix expo which will be showcasing Egypt’s brightest talents while hosting workshops, key note speakers and moderating panel discussions on a wide array of issues effecting the music industry. Recently, I sat down with Muzix organizers Ahmed Fahmy, Anis Abdel Mageed, and Hassan Ramzy to learn more about what music lovers can expect at this one of kind expo.
It was legendary thinker and inventor Buckminster Fuller who famously said “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes existing models obsolete.” With musical festivals often playing to niche audiences, and start up conferences sprouting up regularly failing to focus on any one particular industry, Muzix instead aims to be a new model that is as educational and engaging as a start-up conference, but as fun and exciting as musical festival. According to Muzix managing partner, Ahmed Fahmy, “What we are trying to do with Muzix is empower musicians and combine all the best international brands in one place for them to come check them out and buy the latest gear to help them pursue and enhance their music careers. Many previous events only target niches; this is the first time that an event in the region will target one of the biggest mass market in the world; people who love music.”
Structured around three main pillars Muzix is carefully designing a plan that will make it stand out from other conferences in the region. “Muzix is split into three basic pillars; create, discover, and innovate. A huge aspect of the Create pillar is the exhibition itself where musicians and enthusiasts will be able to get their hands on the latest gear that will enable them to create professional music. Focused on creation and not just creativity, this section will provide the information and discussion on how musicians, producers, or anyone interested in music can create music using today’s latest equipment,” explains Muzix Operation Executive Anis Abdel Mageed. More than just a festival or a conference, Muzix is foremost an expo that will feature the latest gear from acclaimed international brands like Novation, Native Instruments, Sennheiser, Allen & Heath among many more. Beyond the expo, Muzix will be hosting a variety of educational workshops that will demonstrate how programs like Maschine Studio works with artists remixing a track, as well as scoring a film live on stage.
Creation underlines every aspect of the music industry from the actual music released to the strategic construction of an artist’s image. The ability to create a brand around your music is often the fine line that separates success within the highly competitive industry. Some of the biggest artists currently in the industry like DeadMau5/Daft Punk created their music in their bedroom; however when it came time to take the stage, they created mysticism around their music by hiding their identities behind futuristic helmets.
Some will call this strategy gimmicky, while others a requirement for success, either way it is the kind of topic that will be discussed at Muzix. “The second pillar of Muzix is discover. This is where people get the chance to discover their talents and the music industry through workshops, seminars and panel discussions that will shed light on how they can create music and market themselves independently. Ultimately, we want to inform people what mistakes they can learn from and which ones to avoid,” passionately describes Abdel Mageed. In order to provide a practical guide to navigating a tricky industry, Muzix panel discussions will be a mix of industry insiders and successful musical talents who have valuable experiences that may help anyone looking to develop a career in the field. According to Abdel Mageed, “The panel is 3-5 people of various expertise in the specific topic that we are talking about. We had 6 topics and now we are up to 8, touching on everything from copyright infringement to piracy to sha3by.”
There are no shortage of topics to discuss revolving Egypt’s music scene, however scheduled to be the most insightful of the weekend are the carefully selected key note speakers who explain how they became leaders in the industry. From artists to software and hardware innovators, the key note speakers will each represent a different aspect of the industry not often heard. “Key note speakers will be made by one of our ambition award nominees and will have 30 minutes to describe their stories and the lessons learnt on the road to achieving success in the industry,” describes Abdel Mageed.
Launching on October 23rd, Muzix will run for two days at one of Egypt’s beloved cultural hubs the Greek Campus. “We love that Muzix will taking place at the Greek Campus. Aside from being my old school, the campus has become a technology and innovation park. It’s the perfect pairing because they’re doing the same thing that we’re doing, which is to encourage start-ups and young people to pursue their careers,” an excited Fahmy explains. The Greek Campus is a wonderfully open location which is perfectly suited to hosting everything from panel discussions to performances. Although the organizers remain tight lipped on exactly who will be there, Muzix assures me that there is plethora of experts booked, and musical acts that will be sure to excite music lovers in Egypt. The decision to keep the schedule a secret for now, is not for a lack of bookings but rather to allow anyone who believes they can contribute to the conference an opportunity to apply before the impressive line up is released.
Muzix has no intention of being a one-off event and believes that their model will provide the Middle East with a unique, but very affordable event that will develop a following that will grow with each passing year. “Muzix is not about profit, we’re not trying to commercialize anything. We want people to share in an experience that we feel is missing in the entire Middle East. It’s not a onetime thing; it’s something that we want to expand on annually. This year is primarily focused on Egypt, but later we want to expand our scope to the entire Middle East and then the entire world,” boldly exclaims project manager Hassan Ramzy.
Very few, if any, expos in Egypt feature a wide range of the latest gear that is difficult to typically find in this country. At the same time too many music festivals focus on stacking a line up of artists in one genre, while start-up conferences seem to suffer from the opposite problem of failing to focus on a single industry. This leaves many looking to pursue careers with unanswered questions about the industry they are interested in. Muzix promises to bring forth a new model fusing the best aspects of these worlds and ensuring that whether you are a musician, producer, industry insider, or an appreciator of the musical arts there will be valuable information to be learnt, new gear to purchase, and performances that need/deserve to be heard.
If you are interested in being involved or sponsoring please contact Muzix at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photography by Khaled Habib