Months before its renowned annual film fest takes over the Palais des Festivales, Cannes plays host to Midem, the international music trade confab that takes advantage of a quieter, albeit colder and rainier, Croisette.
With this 46th edition, Jan. 28-31, the trade show is attempting to keep pace with a rapidly changing ecosystem with seemingly as many income streams and platforms as there are artists to serve them.
Midem director Bruno Crolot notes the importance of technology in the music industry today: Not only are fans purchasing more music through digital download sites, but they also are able to interact directly with artists through social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
According to Midem, six of the top 10 Twitter accounts are owned by musicians. YouTube has also been a powerful tech tool in the music industry, with one-third of all YouTube videos being music-driven.
“Social media is, for me, music business,” says Crolot. “During this year’s Midem, we will be focusing on the topic of engaging the public thanks to technology tools that now are used like social media. These are the best practices to get the direct connection between artists and fans.”
Among its many keynote conferences and industry forums, Midem will be hosting Midemlab, an international pitch competition for music industry apps and tech startups.
In 2009, Midemlab helped propel the launch of SoundCloud, an online music distribution platform. At this year’s session, 30 startups will present their products to a jury comprised of industry-savvy members such as Groupon, Facebook and Sony Music Entertainment honchos.
Further underscoring the importance of connecting fans to artists and brands, Midem will be hosting its first edition of the Midem Festival, a three-night concert series open to the general public featuring shows from international artists and up-and-coming talent.
“The festival is an essential part of the new Midem,” Crolot explains. “We have many content conferences and topics about engaging audiences and having direct relations between music labels and fans, and between brands and customers. We really wanted to have live music at the center of the event.”
Crolot tells Variety that as the music industry “suffered over the last 10 years, Midem suffered as well.” But Midem, like a microcosmic reflection of the music industry itself, “has had the ability to be innovative and create new formats,” he notes.
“Thanks to repositioning and targeting, Midem will be much more relevant to its actual and future customer,” Crolot adds. “For me, it’s a good way to have a rebound and go back to growth.”