As frightening as the world has become in the past three years, it’s also loaded with opportunity — commercial and otherwise — for a music industry rejuvenated by streaming but also ripe for change.
The 50-plus-year-old annual Midem conference in Cannes has shrunk a bit as a horde of competitors has emerged, but it remains in many ways the truest international conference, where you can meet music executives from the U.S., Latin America, Europe, Asia and anywhere else music and its business are thriving. Held June 4-7, Midem has done a solid job of scheduling its 2019 programming to meet the demands of this rapidly changing world with a brain-busting series of panels and keynotes with some of the most innovative and game-changing executives in the business — many of whom are female and/or minorities.
(See the entire Midem schedule here.)
Sylvia Rhone, the newly minted chairman/ CEO of Epic Records, will talk about her pioneering career as the first woman to run a major label — both Elektra in the 1990s and Universal/Motown in the 2000s — with firebrand music attorney Dina LaPolt, whose clients have included Britney Spears, Deadmau5, Fifth Harmony and 21 Savage (she played a key role in getting the British-born rapper out of ICE detention earlier this year).
Also on tap for keynote conversations are former Lady Gaga manager and Spotify executive Troy Carter, who will have plenty to discuss about his innovative new music and tech company Q&A. Likewise, veteran music executive Rebeca Leon, who exponentially grew the Latin music touring industry in the U.S. during her decade at AEG, now oversees the careers of three of the biggest artists in the genre via her Lionfish Entertainment company, which she co-founded with Colombian superstar Juanes — the two of them are leading not just his career but those of reggaeton titan J Balvin and fast-rising Spanish singer Rosalia.
Elsewhere, Artist Group Intl. president Marsha Vlasic — like Rhone, one of the first women to shatter the glass ceiling in her area of the business — will talk about her 30 years in the live-entertainment industry, which has seen her representing artists including Neil Young, Elvis Costello, the Strokes, Cyndi Lauper, Moby and many more.
and Dia Simms, a top executive behind the empire of Sean “Diddy” Combs, will talk about her branding activities within Combs Enterprises, which include Bad Boy Entertainment, Combs Wine & Spirits, and Revolt Media.
And, not least, on Tuesday Variety is helping to host an afternoon of “Music for Screens” programming about film and TV music, climaxing with “The Music of Peaky Blinders,” a Q&A with the show’s season four composer and musical director Antony Genn, a former member of Pulp.
To its credit, Midem has found imaginative ways to advance diversity and take care of business.