Midem 2017 – A First Timer’s POV

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An article from Client Manager, Matthew Newton.

Midem is an annual, international music event and conference based in Cannes, France.

This year it ran over the course of four days (6th – 9th June). Key players in the music industry from all over the world gathered at Midem; this provided the opportunity for attendees to network, create partnerships and explore music and new trends within the industry.

At this year’s Midem I had the opportunity to attend on behalf of three artists.

As their representative, it was my job to set up meetings with industry members to obtain contacts and create business partnerships that would help push them in the right direction to progress as artists. Whilst there I had the opportunity to network with, and showcase these artists to: record labels, publishers, managers, booking agencies and sync companies – all looking to find new artists to create business partnerships with. However, with it being my first time attending an international event of this size, and with a such long history, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous when taking my first steps into the Palais des Festivals on Tuesday.

The layout of the conference is spread across two main floors.

As you walk around the Palais, you see a range of stands, meeting areas, auditoriums, a café and VIP area. Each stand and meeting area represented a country. However, this was not restrictive to meetings; I often found myself meeting contacts on terraces, in the café and after talks about trends within the music industry. Before my first meeting I had the opportunity to attend the Midem ‘first timers breakfast’. This ice-breaker event was an opportunity to get an idea of how Midem runs over the fours days and served as way for attendees to ease into the networking mindset. What was surprising was the large number of people that attended this breakfast. It really goes to show how relevant to the  business side of the music industry Midem has remained.

Although I was initially nervous, after the first couple of meetings you find yourself getting into a ‘networking rhythm’; learning the best ways to communicate with different companies, professions and nationalities. You realise early on that as long as you’re open to discussions, and open to asking questions, everyone you meet with (or just approach at a stand) will be very happy to chat with you about what you do, why you’re at Midem and about the ever-evolving music industry.

As each day starts to wind down you find that the networking never really stops. Each evening different country stands held drinks receptions open to anyone who wanted to have a drink and a chat. Personally, I found that by the end of the first day I had really gotten into the spirit of Midem. This allowed for me to have another three successful days of representing my artists, networking and making future contacts.

Although a lot can happen throughout each day, Midem doesn’t quite end there.

As the Palais closes until the next day, ‘Midem By Night’ begins on the Majestic Hotel beach nearby. Live music plays throughout the night on the beach with two stages set up. Where one stage allows for artists  in the Midem Artist Accelerator Programme to perform. The other has a country focus, which showcases one country’s new, trending and/or well-known artists. For example, on night one, a stage was dedicated to a British showcase featuring Public Service Broadcasting, Jake Isaac and Dream Wife. Midem By Night was another memorable moment each day, adding to the overall experience of the event. It allowed attendees to carry on networking and meeting new people, but to also enjoy and experience what we were all there for – Music.

It is also worth mentioning the other opportunities Midem offers other than meetings and networking around the country stands.

Over the course of the four days attendees can attend keynote talks that cover a wide variety of topics and subjects within the music industry. These talks take place in a number of conference halls and auditoriums, running throughout the day. I had the opportunity to see talks about sync licensing works from pitch to placement, and another about virtual reality and its potential growth within the music industry. As well as this a variety of focused, quick fire networking events were running throughout each day. The set-up was similar to speed dating; attendees had around five minutes at each table to talk with/pitch to each person before being moved on to the next. The speed-networking opportunities were organised by profession or country, i.e. ‘Meet the Managers’ and ‘Meet the Publishers’ or ‘Meet the Australians’ and ‘Meet the Hungarians’.

Midem may have changed a lot over the years since it’s inception however, it still holds up as an important time of the year for international, music-based companies to come to make connections and find potential partnerships. For me, it was an amazing and successful experience unlike anything I had anything I had done before. I highly recommend that people who are just starting out in the industry attend Midem. You will meet a lot of amazing people and companies. Even if nothing arises from it, you will make a lot of contacts that will be useful for the future. If I have one piece of advice for those attending Midem 2018 it would be that, in order to get the most out of Midem, you need to embrace every moment of it, from networking to watching keynote speeches to attending Midem By Night.