Keychange announces new ambassador and signatories in Estonia  

04 August 2020

10 music organisations, festivals and agencies across Estonia have signed the Keychange Pledge to promote gender equality within the music industry. Newly appointed Director of Music Estonia, Ave Tölpt, announced as Keychange Ambassador 

Since 2018, over 300 organisations have signed the Keychange Pledge to improve gender representation in the music industry. In the lead-up to Tallinn Music Week, Keychange is proud to announce new signatories in Estonia, including IDA Radio, Estonian Funk Embassy, Monday Morning, HALL, Made in Baltics, Mägede Hääl, Moon Management, Tier Music, in addition to previous signatories Jazzkaar and Tallinn Music Week.

Ave Tölpt, announced today as the new Director of Music Estonia, joins the Keychange movement as an Ambassador to further the reach and impact of Keychange in Estonia. Tölpt said: “It is my great honour to announce today my appointment as Director of Music Estonia and as the first Estonian Ambassador for Keychange. I look forward to working with the innovative and brilliant Estonian music industry at this crucial time, and I am optimistic about our growth and our future. Gender equality is essential to a sustainable and resilient industry, and my role at Keychange represents my commitment to both equality and international collaboration.”

Tallinn Music Week (TMW), founded in 2009, was Estonia’s first ever international conference and has maintained gender balance among speakers since 2018. This year, the new music festival and conference will run from 27 August – 30 August 2020. The 12th edition of TMW will explore sustainability within the music industry, combining digital and in-person activities. The music programme will feature 141 artists from 15 EU and Schengen Area countries. Estonian performers, and Keychange artists from 2018, Mari Kalkun and HUNT, will perform and represent the Keychange talent at the festival this year. The festival will culminate with the TMW Creative Impact Conference (28, 29 August) with the themes Music Industry 2.0, Sustainable Development Goals, and Neighbours, and a focus on resilience and leading change. The conference will address the challenges of a sustainable music industry in the midst of a pandemic and complex universal and local needs, often referred to as “glocalisation.” A series of public talks running alongside the conference will address topics such as depression in pop music and cultural appropriation.

As campaigners for gender equality in music, Keychange invests in emerging talent with a yearly participation programme, whilst continuing to encourage festivals, conferences and a growing range of music organisations and institutions to sign a pledge to include at least 50% women and under-represented genders in their programming, staffing and beyond. The current list spans 40 countries and over 300 organisations such as Jazzkaar (Estonia), Flow Festival (Finland), Music & Media (Finland), Way Out West (Sweden) and Oslo World (Norway).

In addition to the ongoing Keychange Pledge, 74 participants – a roster made up of emerging artists and innovators within the music industry – are selected each year from across Europe and Canada to take part in international festivals, showcase events, collaborations and a programme of creative labs. Exceptionally, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Keychange 2020 participants will see their involvement extended until December 2021, in order to allow for travel and development to take place in the following year, with online mentoring, panels, and workshops run by Capacity Building Lead Chimes until then. Partners across Europe and Canada will host discussions around the national gender equality climate during 2020.

Estonia’s Keychange participants for 2020/21 are singer, violinist and composer Maarja Nuut, DJ Katja Adrikova, lecturer and executive editor at Estonia Public Broadcasting Maarja Merivoo-Parro, head of international projects at Music Estonia and co-founder of Monday Morning Management Martiina Putnik, and project manager in the Estonian Jazz Union Merylin Poks.

Natalie Mets, Co-Founder, IDA Radio said: ”I know from personal experience how difficult it is to increase the number of female show hosts and achieve wider gender representation at IDA radio, especially because of the unique barriers faced by women and gender minorities. It is clear that raising the self-confidence of gender minorities is one of the tasks that music professionals have to take on as their common goal, because recognition and involvement make us all bolder and spark a desire to try new things.”

According to the European Institute for Gender Equality, Estonia has the largest pay gap in Europe (25.6%), so this collaboration and action from the Estonian music industry is a statement of intent and leadership from a forward-thinking cultural sector.

Listen to the Estonian Keychange artists on Spotify here and on SoundCloud here.

More info:

Ave Tölpt is the Director of Music Estonia. Previously Head of Exhibitions at the National Library of Estonia, she has worked as CEO of Jazz Estonia and as a radio host for Estonian Public Broadcasting, Classical Radio. She also advises on strategic planning and project management.

About Tallinn Music Week

Held each spring in Tallinn, Estonia since 2009, TMW is one of the most acclaimed new music and city culture festivals and key networking events for music and creative industry professionals across Europe. TMW website.

About Keychange 

Keychange is a pioneering international initiative which transforms the future of music by encouraging festivals and music organisations to achieve at least 50% women and under-represented genders in their programming, staffing and beyond. 74 emerging artists and innovators each year from across Europe and Canada will take part in international festivals, showcase events, collaborations and a programme of creative labs. Keychange aims to accelerate change and create a better, more inclusive music industry for present and future generations.

Keychange encourages all music organisations, festivals, venues, broadcasters, agencies and beyond to take the Keychange Pledge and to work towards a representative music industry. Join the Keychange Pledge at

Keychange is led by Reeperbahn Festival, PRS Foundation and Musikcentrum Öst, supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, in partnership with Tallinn Music Week, Iceland Airwaves, BIME, Oslo World, Linecheck/Music Innovation Hub, Ireland Music Week, SACEM, Liverpool Sound City, Way Out West, Spring Break, MAMA, MUTEK and Breakout West.

Keychange is sponsored by FACTOR, Fundación SGAE, GEMA, Gorwelion Horizons, IMRO, the Musicians’ Union, Norsk Tipping, Roskilde Festival, Smirnoff Equalising Music, SOCAN Foundation, Songtrust, SoundCloud, STEF, STIM, and Talent Norge. 

Keychange Ambassadors are Shirley Manson, Imogen Heap, Tony Visconti, Alexa Feser, Dermot O’Leary, Hinds, Emily Eavis, Nadine Shah, Paulette Long OBE, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, iskwē, Corinne Bailey Rae, Joy Denalane, Kate Nash, Sara Potente, Ave Tölpt.