Music Cities Network Residency Program for Artists

The fast and ongoing technical, multimedial, and global developments have caused one of the biggest structural changes for music making and the music business. That’s why, today more than ever, learning from and collaborating with each other is the key to new ideas and innovation, and eventually to success in the music business for upcoming artists and young music business professionals.

The international music scene nowadays is dominated by urban music of different sub-genres. It is a very strong market of youth culture, and one of the new trends within urban music is the growing irrelevance of language barriers. Furthermore, the segmented music business areas are developing fast, and they need fresh thinking actors to handle and approach the industry in new ways.

The Music Cities Network Residency Program facilitates a worldwide music and music business talent exchange for upcoming artists and young industry professionals for member cities of the MCN. The goal is to connect the participants directly with each other by using the member cities and their connected networks as a gateway, utilising their already existing structures, knowledge, and hubs.




(A) 19.-26.05.19 // 2. Urban Music Lab (Link Up) Artist Residency @ Aarhus Volume Festival, Aarhus (DK)

In collaboration with the Aarhus Volume Festival and the hip-hop collective Larus, Promus and Music Cities Network host a joint showcase during the Aarhus Volume Festival with new urban talents from Aarhus, Groningen and Hamburg and in cooperation with the local music networks  Promus Aarhus, Urban House Groningen and RockCity Hamburg.

Link up (former Urban Music Lab) is part of the newly initiated Music Cities Network Residency Program, which facilitates a worldwide music and music business talent exchange for upcoming artists and young industry professionals for member cities of the MCN. The goal is to connect the participants directly with each other by using the member cities and their connected networks as a gateway, utilising their already existing structures, knowledge, and hubs.

Jesper Mardahl (Promus), Aarhus, MCN Member: “We want to strengthen the exchange opportunities and initiate new projects to intensify the cooperation within the music scenes of the MCN member cities. With the new Music Cites Network Residency Program, the network is putting these goals into action.”

Link Up is supported by the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg - Ministry of Culture and Media, the City of Groningen and Music City Aarhus. Find the artist info on the second page.

See the details of the pilot Project Urban Music Lab in Aarhus also with the Aarhus Volume Festival 25.06.-02.07.2018 here. 



(B) Music Cities Network Jazz Residency Hamburg 2019 w/ Clouds Hill Recordings Studio & Elbjazz Festival

The line-up of the first Music Cities Network Jazz Residency in cooperation with the Clouds Hill Recordings Studio and the ELBJAZZ has been decided: the jury of experts has selected Falko Harrie (bass guitar) from Hamburg, Frederik Bülows (drums) from Aarhus, Ingi Bjarni Skúlason (piano, Composition) from Reykjavik, MIMRA aka María Magnúsdóttir (vocals, composition) from Reykjavik and Tilman Oberbeck (contrabass) from Hamburg. As part of the one-week jazz residency, the five now meet in the Clouds Hill Recording Studio and may together create something new. The result will be presented at the closing concert on the ELBJAZZ Saturday. 

Learn more about all artists here

Brief project description:

The Music Cities Network Jazz Residency enables the member cities to set up a worldwide exchange of aspiring Jazz artists. Directly embedded in local networks within the respective host city, new relationships and thriving innovative processes will develop. The Music Cities Network Jazz Residency program consists of 1 week recording studio collaboration between 4-5 artists coming from MCN member cities at the Clouds Hill Recordings Studios plus the opportunity to present their work and the results of the collaborations at Elbjazz 2019, one of the largest European jazz festivals.


Clouds Hill Recordings Studio, Hamburg Rothenburgsort

Elbjazz Festival 2019, Blohm & Voss Shipyard Area


  1. Open call via member cities, latest submission April 24th 2019
  2. Announcement of participants End of April 2019
  3. Studio collaboration phase: 26.05.-02.06.2019
  4. Joint gig at Elbjazz Festival, Saturday June 1st 2019 @ MS Stubnitz

Longer project description:

The Music Cities Network, which functions as a framework for Music Cities Network Jazz Residency, was initiated in summer 2016 by the Hamburg Music Business Association (IHM) and Sound Diplomacy with the purpose to strengthen the communication and cooperation between global music cities. Additionally, to the founding member cities Aarhus, Hamburg, and Sydney, the network features Berlin, Bergen, Groningen, Nantes and Reykjavik within the network.

The fast and ongoing technical, medial and global developments are the main drivers of one of the biggest structural changes in the music sector. This development can be seen as well for Jazz artists and adjacent genres. Since its very beginnings Jazz has been a genre, which overcame boundaries and brought together artists regardless of gender, race, language, and social background. Nevertheless, in recent times these free, unconditional collaborations are only few and far between due to more and more condensed spaces of opportunity.

These spaces are fundamental to enable a joint learning and cooperation with the aim to create innovation and thus enhance its visibility in the modern multi-layered music scene. The Music Cities Network Jazz Residency will create these spaces of opportunity and intensify international cooperation and collaboration of participating artists with the Hamburg music scene and locally embedded institutions. 

How does it work?

  • A open call be addressed to the local music scene via MCN member cities in cooperation with local partner institutions.
  • Artists can explaining e.g. creative goals, reason for participation etc.
  • Every partner institution of the member cities creates a shortlist consisting of 2-4 artists.
  • Due to MCN regulations, only 70% of the selected artists from shortlist and final decision may belong to the same gender.
  • German jazz pianist Julia Hülsmann will be the mentor for the first MCN Jazz Residency.
  • The final decision will be taken by Julia Hülsmann and the Elbjazz curators.
  • The selected artists will be granted 5 days at Clouds Hill Recordings Studio. A professional engineer will be there the whole time and mentoring by Julia Hülsmann to encourage new ideas.
  • The final outcome is not predefined and is based on the autonomous development by the artists.
  • All artists will be mentioned in the official Elbjazz program.
  • The outcome will result in a joint concert as part of Elbjazz on Friday June 1st where not only regular attendees of Elbjazz but moreover professionals from the music scene will be invited.
  • Every artist will get a compensation for expenses.
  • Participants of the residency will play their new, collaboratively written songs as well as their own material.
  • Travel costs will be covered by the cities. The rest (accommodation in the Clouds Hill Recordings Studio facilities, food and production costs) are covered via a partial funding via the Musikstadtfonds of the Department of Culture and Media of the Hanseatic City of Hamburg.

The project is designed to further connect music cities with national and international actors in order to generate new ideas and genre overlapping cooperations for cities, economies and least for the artistic production. Furthermore, to achieve a sustainable implementation of the project, editions in other MCN member cities are planned.

See the full list of 


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