With Tune In Tel Aviv, Israel's international music conference and showcase, kicking off its sixth edition on Nov. 9, and welcoming more than 100 acts and nearly 1,000 delegates to the city, a wide array of issues will soon be addressed. Among them: further developing Israel's music export potential, enhancing the live music experience through new festival concepts and how to make use of the country's flourishing technology scene. Four days and nights of shows accompany the conference, featuring every imaginable genre -- urban, electronic, folk, metal, rock, punk, jazz, and world -- but also highlighting Israel's robust blues and roots music acts along with heritage bands, presented in partnership with the State of Mississippi.
If such a confluence of sounds confounds, Israel is full of musical surprises. Below, are five misconceptions about the Israeli music scene that Tune In Tel Aviv hopes to clear up.
1. Israeli music is what you'd hear at a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
While local hit artists do fall into the 'world music' genre, Israeli music has become increasingly global, with more than half performed in English. Whether it's urban, electro pop, rock, EDM, metal, folk, and even blues and Americana, Israel offers an incredibly diverse talent pool that has even translated to international pop success, as in the case of Balkan Beat Box, whose horn melodies have been sampled by the likes of Jason Derulo to Diplo.
2. Israeli music doesn't travel.
Where in the past, the language barrier may have thwarted the success of Israeli artists abroad, the country's musical export business has been thriving in recent years. Whether it's DJ acts like Infected Mushroom or Borgore or singers like Asaf Avidan, Lola Marsh and Petite Meller, who recently signed with Island/Universal, says Sire Records' Seymour Stein: "Israel has what I consider an overabundance of great musical talent."
3. It's a small country, so the live music scene must be very limited.
Israel is indeed an incredibly small country -- you can drive the entire width of the state in 45 minutes and do the length in about 5 hours -- but Tel Aviv boasts dozens of music venues, many of which are open to the public every night. Israeli music fans are well-informed and ferocious when it comes to new music discovery. Because of the high internet connectivity and affection for anything 'foreign,' Israeli musicians are heavily influenced by music oversees, and prefer playing live as often as possible. Another interesting fact, Israel has more live music festivals per capita than any other country in the Middle East.
4. Geography, security - touring Israel is complicated.
While air travel is required to get to Israel, the country is easily accessible to and from the UK and greater Europe (a 2- to 4-hour flight), Asia (6-9 hours) and even the United States (13 Hours). Once in Israel, cities like Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa serve as tour stops with additional bookings available in neighboring cities. Of course, being in the Middle East presents both challenges and advantages. As far as live show security is concerned, it is incredibly rare for violence to occur at an Israeli concert, let alone a terror attack of the scale that European cities have seen. Multiple layers of security provided by both the local authorities and hired vendors are enlisted to ensure safety for patrons. However, Israel does suffer a high number of artist cancelations due to BDS boycott campaigns waged on international touring artists booked to perform in the country. The propaganda doesn't tell an accurate picture of the Israeli market: namely, how safe and secure is actually is.
5. There's no money to be made in music in Israel.
While it's true that many Israeli musicians and producers tend to relocate to more international markets to expand their audience (and, potentially, income), earning potential exists locally via music tech. Israeli companies like Waves, Wix Music, Interlude, Feature.FM, Newzik and Revalator are disrupters on a global scale. These tech startups have generated millions in both income and exposure in all sector of the business, including independent artists. It's one of the many focuses of Tune in Tel Aviv 2016.