WOMEX 2009 organizers announced today that the number of showcase proposals for the 2009 edition are the largest ever. "The big question was… With the industry in crisis, would we begin to see an effect on the number of showcase proposals?," said WOMEX director Gerald Seligman. "Last year we had a record number, 635, which made the use of an online system, courtesy of Sonicbids, absolutely imperative. But since then the general music industry crisis has intensified (in the UK in December, for example, retail and distribution both imploded), and then came the overall world economic crisis. We were thinking the numbers might start to shrink a bit. Then again, it was also possible that the crisis would make opportunities to meet, trade, listen and network, like those offered at WOMEX, even more important. Perhaps the crisis would focus all our minds, our funds and our efforts. And so, the showcase proposal deadline passed, we helped online the final few artists who had had technical difficulties, and Voilá! The tally: 2009 brought over 760 showcase proposals, over 120 more than in 2008. Frankly, we’re a bit stunned. And the proposals are looking very good."
WOMEX is the largest world music conference, attended by thousands of industry professionals. Mike Orlove, a Jury member from Chicago, has this to say: "I have to say for me the biggest joy is being floored by an artist you never heard of before… and there are many… It always amazes me that there continues to be so much quality music (of all types) being created every day. I can’t wait to see some of these groups live… Now, how in the hell are we going to narrow this pool down to double digits?"
"I’ve been going through it all myself. It’s one of the perks of the job," continues Seligman. "Each year I get to hear many hundreds of CDs, many from artists I, too, have never heard before. It’s quite an ideal perch from which to view what is out there. Like Mike Orlove, it never ceases to amaze me how much good music is being made year after year after year. And how many new artists deserve a wide, international audience. We wish all of you luck who applied. The Jury meets mid-May and by early June all proposing artists will be notified of the Jury selection. Public announcements will only come after we get solid confirmations. In past years this has been sometime in July."