Promus wants to make a Music City
They have a mission to strengthen and equip the city of Aarhus’ music industry for the great challenges the music scene faces. As a meeting point for skills, networking and production, Promus is the first of its kind in Denmark.
Since 2010, Promus has functioned as a community and networking center for both the music industry and musicians in Denmark. Located in Aarhus, their main objective is to support, motivate, and help new businesses get a foothold in the music business.
“Promus in Aarhus is a brilliant opportunity to start your own business in a house full of possibilities. The decision to start a one-man business, with a desk in the wonderful house at Vester Allé 15 (an address in Aarhus), gave me the opportunity to establish a solid foundation purely financial, through a cheap rent and extremely low preliminary expenses. But also a vital network, professional discussions and development of my business, which today 3 years later employ 4 full-time jobs and a number of freelancers. We couldn’t have grown so much in a safe way without the start at Promus, “ says Stefan Facius, Heartbeat Music and Management.
Promus see themselves as the bridge between the established music business and the new emerging talent. They are constantly working on tying the two together through networking arrangements, courses and seminars, workshops, mentor programs, business advice and office facilities. Promus houses 20 work units that can be rented for shorter or longer periods – new shared office facilities for music industry players. They also have three production rooms which can be used for anything music-related, including showcasing, production, presentations, and recording.
Promus also has a mentor scheme, where new players can find advice and support from established music industry players, to provide help and advice about difficult industry issues, such as contracts.
A platform for the local creative environment
The municipality of Aarhus has worked to create a platform for the different creative ecosystems in the city. Following the popularity of the well-established the movie city, the city looked towards creating something for the music environment. The facilities as Promus, which shares a building with ROSA and LMS (national music organizations) and are close to to concert venues, were ideal.
Promus concentrates on how much they can focus on both sides of the industry – the creative aspects, and the business aspects. Musicians are also entrepreneurs, starting up and running their musical pursuits as businesses. But there are many opportunities for entrepreneurship in the music industry: launching a record label, inventing a new type of production equipment, building a song-sharing platform, starting up a new music festival, etc.
Promus is currently considering making more structured entrepreneurship courses those wanting to create a startup in the music business. The courses are meant for the truly dedicated – entrepreneurs who plan to spend 5-6 years realizing their idea – but that does not mean the facilities are closed to others.
Uniting a fragmented ecosystem
Jesper Mardahl, who has over 30 years of experience in the music industry and is the day-to-day manager at Promus, says: “I want Aarhus’ music life to have one mail-address, both for the internal and external environment. Something that is easy to access.”
Jesper points out that Promus is placed in a fragmented environment, located in a hybrid between art and commerce. The artistic elements are driven from a cultural consideration and the commercial elements are driven from a business consideration. This is exacerbated by the fact that the music industry is enormously complex in terms of financing and copyright laws. Promus must achieve the feat of balancing between both camps to survive and thrive.
Music City Aarhus – connecting the dots
Besides their daily functions, Promus is working closely with a number of music festivals. They are affiliated with the Spot festival, where they have become producer and coordinator on Spot+, which is their B2B market.
A new project is also in the making: Music city Aarhus. The concept of a “music city” started 25 years ago in Austin, Texas, the outcome of which was the South by Southwest festival, which has grown to be the largest of it’s kind in the world and helped make Austin a cultural and tech powerhouse. The big question is how Promus can use their knowledge strategically, to help make Aarhus a music city.
“With Music City Aarhus it is my goal to create a deep co-ownership to the project/strategy from broad fan of the professional participants in the city. Music has always been a significant part of the city’s DNA and Aarhus has played and still is, a determine factor for the music life in Denmark. That is a position we need to maintain and improve – also regarding the commercial aspect. Music City Aarhus can be a contributor to that,” says Jesper Mardahl