On Friday Midem starts in Cannes and I am really looking forward to it. Not only because Cannes in June is awesone (and summer not yet here in Berlin) but also Midem is THE yearly international music exhibition, conference and festival dedicated to the global music community. To get in the mood for this year’s event, I took the chance to do an interview with Midem director Bruno Crolot about this year’s topics (on Netzpiloten.de you can find the full interview in German):
Tobias Schwarz: When I talked to friends about my trip to Midem 2014, most of them didn’t know/were not informed about the conference yet. What is Midem and why it is an important event for you?
Bruno Crolot: Midem is billed as the leading B2B event for the international music ecosystem. It’s the perfect occasion to network with more than 6000 key players from over 75 countries from the music industry and its extended segments. It’s a marketplace in the heart of the Palais des festivals in Cannes. It’s over 120 conferences with keynote sessions, competitions, pitch sessions, speed meetings. It’s a festival with nonstop music of all genres and from all over the world throughout the city… It’s making business fun, it’s getting inspired, it’s signing deals, and it’s oiling your wheels for the year basically.
TS: Netzpiloten was invited to Midem as an online magazine that informs/reports about technology and the impact of it on our society. What is the impact of technology on music?
BC: Tech is now an inherent part of music not only to create it but also to promote, sell, share, listen to it… The way people consume and get engaged with music has been deeply disrupted by technology. For the worst in the early 2000s as it made piracy very easy, and for the best by giving to creators and stakeholders of the industry multiple new ways to get their music discovered, heard and shared, globally. The music industry shifted into an ecosystem including tech as soon as internet appeared. Now technology and Tech players are highly important and growing part of it. So at Midem as well.
TS: The music industry has so many challenges to master caused by the digitalization. What kind of answers will they find at Midem?
BC: Midem provides the full toolkit to succeed if you are directly or indirectly involved in the music biz. Firstly because all the key actors of the industry come to Midem, from the core business pros (labels, managers, promoters, distributors, entertainment lawyers), to tech pros (Startups, established online services, tech gurus, developers, VCs etc), advertising/brand pros, and of course artists from the four corners of the globe. Secondly because these pros get together to share/learn best practices thanks to a very solid and complete conference programme. We have over 120 sessions that cover topics around music business and innovation; there are specific training courses, speed meeting sessions, and competitions as well that drive the trendsetters of tomorrow.
TS: The situation of artists is also complicated. With music sales in decline, they have to find new ways of monetizing their work. They also have to create an ongoing interest in the fanbase. Why should artists also visit Midem?
BC: Artists today are considered as entrepreneurs. And, as an entrepreneur, you need to know your business, understand the key trends, and meet the influencers. And as far as artists are concerned, they need to learn how to engage directly with their fans. All of this is possible at Midem, through the Conferences, workshops, the Midem Academy, etc. Also, this year, we’ve created a brand new programme for artists who wish to optimise their export opportunities and grow their monetisation methods. It’s called the Midem Artist Accelerator and is a real opportunity for artists who want to succeed in our challenging landscape.
TS: Is the music industry able to survive the streaming revolution?
BC: Of course! Streaming is one of the key tools for this industry to aim for a better future and go back to growth. We are not there yet, as streaming revenues are not compensating the shortfall on physical sales, we need premium streaming to get mainstream, to reach high volumes. The industry will also have to streamline the way the “pie” is shared between the creators and all the stakeholders of the value chain.
TS: Last year at Midem, in February 2014, I saw Axel Dauchez, the former CEO of Deezer, talking about streaming. He attacked Google and Spotify in a very aggressive way. This year, the new CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht will give a keynote. What are you expecting from him?
BC: It’s the very first time Hans-Holger Albrecht speaks as the CEO of Deezer. Over the last months, streaming has seen a very high growth worldwide, Deezer has entered the US market, new players like Tidal have been launched, Spotify has entered the video markets while Apple/Beats launch is around the corner and YouTube Music Key rumored for September. Hence hearing the CEO of the #2 streaming service worldwide as a keynote will be a key moment of Midem this year.
TS: I am really looking forward to seeing the startup competition Midemlab. Can you give some advice for startups in the music business?
BC: There will always be music, both artists and the music industry are more and more tech savvy, as they see how technology can help them develop their career in so many ways. Plus music is a fantastic content to use for a very wide range of cool apps and services. So music is definitely and area to watch for startups and app developers. This will be the 8th edition of Midemlab and we had 187 submissions from startups from 38 countries. Many young startups at Midemlab have gone on to become major players in the music industry such as SoundCloud who will be speaking in Cannes this year. My advice for music business startups would be to submit to the Midemlab completion and come to Midem.
TS: Which trends do you imagine for the music industry to come/arrive?
BC: I suggest we discuss this at Midem as many topics will be discussed that will help to give a better visibility on what’s coming up in the future for the industry.
TS: Thank you for the interview.