Most Wanted: Music is back for another iteration in 2021. From October 26th to 28th, artists, promoters, bookers, engineers and activists gathered to discuss the growing and changing music industry with a hopeful vision for the future.

Dziuba Joplyn live at MW:M21 | Martin

Conducted by the Berlin Music Commission, the event took the form of a hybrid online-offline event this year, which meant artists and industry could meet in person at Kulturbrauerei Berlin or join the event remotely online. The in-person event followed 2G (vaccinated or recovered) health regulations, which allowed for a safe and liberating environment that felt like a refreshing return to new ideas and inspiring music. 

„a safe and liberating environment that felt like a refreshing return to new ideas“

The theme for this year’s Most Wanted: Music conference was #change, something we’re all ready for as the world returns to relative normality after over a year of tough lockdown restrictions. However, the festival did well to look beyond the changes imposed by the pandemic, instead focusing on the exciting chance for reform.

The first workshop I attended was about NFT’s (Non-Fungible Tokens), which are currently looking like a potential game changer in the industry. Understanding them can be a murky trip into crypto world, but the talk was presented in very clear, relatable and exciting terms. Similarly, MusicHub presented an artist-focussed workshop about managing rights and royalties in the streaming era and TikTok gave an enlightening talk about the content platform, which concluded with an informative Q & A session.

MW:M21 – Photo by Stefan Wieland

Diversity and inclusivity were also at the forefront of this week’s conversations, from the 50/50 gender split of speakers and performers to workshops about BIPOC voices, the #metoo movement and intersectionality among others. These conversations weren’t limited to their own workshops either, and it was good to hear them addressed in workshops about Music Education, NFT’s and even AI.

truly wonderful to feel the atmosphere and positivity

Additionally, there were workshops and discussions about podcasting, social media climate change, sustainability, new creative technologies, and innovations in music production. I would have loved to check out all of these engaging and enlightening workshops if only cloning technology was as far advanced as some of what we have going for the creative industries at the moment.

dancing like it was 2018

Of course it was incredibly exciting to check out the diverse array of live performances from artists across all genres and backgrounds. The fresh spirit of newness was truly potent, with some highlights including the beautifully crafted neo-soul of Moses Charles, some consistently surprising experiments in world music from Olicía and an emotional closing electronic set by Joplyn which saw the audience dancing like it was 2018.

It was truly wonderful to feel the atmosphere and positivity at this years Most Wanted: Music. After over a year of uncertainty, it was nice to see such a confident display of new and interesting ideas. It was a straight shot of inspiration, reminding us all what music is capable of and why we miss it so much. It will be exciting to return to an industry with this much hope for the future.