The XP Music Conference by MDLBEAST – a three-day event leading up to SOUNDSTORM – kicked off Monday in the Saudi capital Riyadh, welcoming local and international artists for panel discussions, workshops and more. Held in Jax, Diriyah, in collaboration with the Saudi Music Commission, the conference aims to lay the foundations for a thriving music industry in the Kingdom, with 17 different workshops, meetings, keynotes and discussion panels. “Here in Saudi Arabia, more than 50 percent of the population are under 25 and we have a lot of hidden talents, and so we have a lot of opportunities,” said Nada Alhelabi, director of the XP Music Conference. “And what we want to do is give that talent the tools and exposure so that they can learn and consider music as a career.” Chief Creative Officer Ahmad Alammary, aka Saudi DJ Baloo, told Arab News: “It’s exciting, especially with XP, you know, it’s future-building, right? Our tagline is ‘amplify music futures’ and, by that, we actually mean that we are supporting the music industry, we’re pushing it to grow.” The conference will be built on four main pillars – talent, scene, policy and impact – which will operate as building blocks for the development of the music industry in the region.