CANNES, France, Feb. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- It may not be a full-blown triumphalist concerto, but there were notes of industry optimism being sounded at Midem where delegates turned their attention to the central theme, 'Back to Growth? Make it Sustainable!'
The main talking point throughout Midem was the development of digital revenues, whether or not streaming is the future of music, how artists and labels need to adapt their approach to fans via a year-round online presence and if the internet giants such as Google and YouTube bring real benefit to the music industry.
As Midem welcomed 6,150 delegates from 75 countries in Cannes, the members of the music ecosystem gathered against a backdrop of industry data showing a return to growth in certain territories.
In France, music sales rose 2.3% in 2013 to €603 million after 12 consecutive years of decline, according to data released during Midem by French music trade body, SNEP. Germany and Scandinavia, led by Sweden and Norway, have seen their music sectors return to growth after a decade of falling sales and Paris-based rights collection agency SACEM announced during Midem that it had collected €810 million in 2013, 1.7% up on 2012.
"These are early days, and the music industry is still seriously challenged, but for the first time since 2002, we have people talking of a return to growth and asking themselves how they can make it sustainable," noted Midem Director Bruno Crolot. "We have done our utmost to make Midem a platform for this debate by making sustainable growth the central theme of all we have done this year and by providing the Midem community with a full tool kit for business success. The feedback I have had from clients is that Midem 2014 was totally business-focused."
The 'Midem Talks' conferences set the tone for Midem. Discussing sustainable growth, Sony/ATV Music Publishing France President, Nicolas Galibert and Alison Wenham, Chairman/CEO of the Association of Independent Music and Chair of the Worldwide Independent Network, argued that the music industry needed to be more positive about growth and more attentive about the messages it conveyed. "The industry has had poor PR for a really long time. Some of that is by our own hand and some of that has been created for us," commented Alison Wenham, who added, "all of the signs are growth."
Throughout the four-day Midem, executives from the core music industry and tech companies conducted a frank exchange of views on the role of digital music, streaming and the internet heavyweights.
For some artists, indie labels and industry associations, Google/YouTube are both good news on the distribution front and not so good news over copyright issues and returning revenues to artists and labels.
International artist Jean Michel Jarre, currently the President of the CISAC worldwide rights collection agency, used his Midem speech to appeal to the likes of Google and Facebook to sit down with the music industry, particularly artists, to find a decent business model that provides musicians with "a fair remuneration" in the digital world.
William Morris Endeavor's head of music division, Marc Geiger, was in a no nonsense mood as he addressed Midem delegates. His message was clear – stop complaining about online payments and tech giants and get on with accepting change, particularly streaming. He said that 'files' are over and that streaming is the future. Geiger argued that the giant platforms, with over 500m users, will rule the world for the next decade. His tips: Google, Facebook, Amazon, YouTube, Yahoo, Netflix, iTunes, Android and Baidu. Joining Marc Geiger in conversation, Horst Weidenmuller, Founder & CEO of Germany's !K7 Records expressed his concern that YouTube intended to dominate the market to the detriment of the music sector. "I would rather prefer perhaps Google not being in music." Fellow speaker Emmanuel de Buretel, Founder & CEO of Because Music called on the internet giants to show more respect for indie labels, "They don't treat us well because we are small. They have to consider the indie world as the future." Watch Marc Geiger's address here.
Both Google and YouTube executives came in for criticism for being more 'corporate' than 'music-oriented.' But Tom Pickett, VP of YouTube Content at Google responded by telling a Midem audience "we are very much into music." He noted that "I think the ad-supported model is the model that's going to give you (artists/labels) that breadth...We've paid out to the music industry over the last several years over a billion dollars."
One major music player who is clearly aligning himself with the online heavyweights is Lyor Cohen. He grabbed the Midem headlines on Sunday by announcing that his new venture, 300, has entered into an agreement with Twitter to develop A&R tools that will help find artists early and develop them. 300 will mine Twitter's vast quantities of data including early Twitter-user buzz on up-and-coming talent. Once 300 has mined the Twitter data and created analytical tools, it will make information available to the music sector.
With a packed four days of conferences, competitions and over 40 concerts, Midem provided a one-stop-shop for the music industry. Here are some key highlights:
- Musician, philanthropist and entrepreneur will.i.am grabbed the attention of a packed Midem conference by declaring, "the state of the music industry is delusional." In a Skype link discussion about his i.am.angel foundation and his TRANS4M philanthropic programme which got its European airing at Midem, the Black Eyed Peas frontman challenged the music industry to get into hardware. "I really encourage every single person in the music industry to try and compete not with other record companies, but compete with Samsung, compete against LG, compete against the big ones." He raised eyebrows by accusing the music industry of being lazy and suggested that "we should have been Facebook first. Our industry should have been Twitter."
- By his own admission, Olivier Francois, CMO & Head of Fiat Brand, Chrysler Group LLC, attends few events like Midem and speaks even more rarely at them. "I would rather make marketing instead of speeches about marketing!" The former music producer gave an insight into his (and Fiat's) approach to music, namely to work hand-in hand with artists for the mutual benefit of the artist and Fiat, rather than shooting an ad and simply adding a hit song at the end. Olivier Francois' speech can be watched here.
- French Minister of Culture, Aurelie Filippetti, speaking at the traditional ministerial press conference at Midem, enthused industry listeners by suggesting that one of the possibilities being examined to support the music sector is to expand the role of the Centre National des Varietes (CNV) - which backs live performance - to include music and to re-dispatch some of the taxes levied on internet service providers towards the music community.
- The iconic former U2 Manager Paul McGuinness was the guest of honour at the now traditional Midem/Billboard industry breakfast. McGuinness received a Billboard Lifetime Achievement Award for his career. And for the first time, Billboard produced its International Power Players list, presented in association with Midem during a gala dinner February 2, to pay tribute to leaders in the international music business.
- The Midem Hack Day brought together 25 hackers who had just 48 hours to produce plenty of cool ideas. Check them out here.
- 30 finalists made it through to the Midemlab startups and app developers competition, presented by Vivendi and Pepsi. At the end of the day the international jury chose Starlize by Mobile Motion (Germany), Nagual Sounds (Germany) and France's Weezic as the winners with Vivendi's coveted Coup de Coeur award going to cubic.fm (Turkey). More about the Midemlab winners here.
- Three of the best music and brands campaigns took top prizes at the Midem Marketing Campaign Competition. Discover the winners here.
- Midem's Country of Honour, Brazil, brought plenty of life to the Midem halls. Almost too much, as a live samba band came close to drowning out a well-attended conference on the state of the Brazilian music industry. Among the facts to emerge from the conference: the digital music market has grown 25% for each of the last three years and the size of the country – which makes touring expensive – and relative lack of record shops, is part of the reason why digital entrepreneur and CEO of Pleimo.com, Dauton Janota, suggested that digital can provide significant revenues for bands.
- Midem's live music scene was particularly international. In addition to three nights of Brazilian bands, SONY/ATV Publishing teamed up with the rights collection agency Sacem to produce a concert devoted to film scores, Taiwan, South Korea and Malaysian acts were out in force and jazz fans were treated to Azerbaidjan's Isfar Sarabski Band.
Midem 2015 will take place in Cannes January 31-February 3
For more information about Midem 2014 and to enjoy the complete Midem Blog coverage, click here.
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About Midem – Midem is an annual international b2b event dedicated to the new music ecosystem, with a tradeshow, conferences, competitions, networking events and live performances. It's the place where music makers, cutting-edge technologies, brands & talents come together to enrich the passionate relationship between people & music, transform audience engagement and form new business connections. www.midem.com
About Reed MIDEM – Founded in 1963, Reed MIDEM is a leading organiser of professional, international tradeshows. Reed MIDEM events have established themselves as key dates in professional diaries. The company hosts MIPTV, MIPDOC, MIPCOM, and MIPJUNIOR for the television and digital content industries, MIDEM for music professionals, LeWeb Paris and London for internet forward-thinkers, MIPIM, MIPIM Asia, MIPIM UK and MAPIC for the property and retail real estate sectors. www.reedmidem.com
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