MIDEM returns for a very different kind of conference.
Following the cancellation of the event in Cannes due to Covid-19, organisers have pulled together their first MIDEM Digital Edition.
From June 2-5, it will feature a free programme of events including YouTube’s Tuma Basa, Kobalt’s Willard Adhriz, SoundCloud’s Kerry Trainor, Downtown Music’s Justin Kalifowitz and music industry lawyer Kenny Meiselas.
Here, MIDEM director Alexandre Deniot opens up about the digital edition and online opportunities…
How did MIDEM respond to the impact of Covid-19 and the cancellation of this year’s event in Cannes?
“We felt that, during this very uncertain and challenging time for the industry, it was more important than ever to bring the global music community together. So the digital edition seemed by far the best option for us, rather than making everyone waiting indefinitely, and especially during a period when we all need to collaborate with each other. So, it will enable us to serve the MIDEM network and beyond, and all our people in all parts of the music industry around the world to benefit from the MIDEM experience while they are unable to physically travel. So on the business side, we will have mentoring sessions, collaboration, sharing of ideas for best practices in crisis management and surviving the storm created by Covid-19. What we want to do is to offer a vital lifeline to the global music ecosystem during these unprecedented circumstances.”
What are your plans for the digital edition?
“It’s an online service, and it was very important for me to make it accessible to all and free. So this is our contribution to the industry at this difficult time. We've actually been planning to launch a digital platform for some time. So the need to move MIDEM online for 2020, as unexpected as it was, just give us the push we needed to speed up the process. We want this digital platform to be an additional component and experience to MIDEM in Cannes, and to have this platform available all year long. It’s a way to allow a wider global audience among the industry, who may never have had the opportunity to come to MIDEM in Cannes, to benefit from our online edition.”
How are you coping financially with the cancellation of the event in Cannes?
“For Reed MIDEM, it's a very challenging time. I'm glad we are part of this company, we have full support from them, and full support of the board members – they are really behind us and, and they are supporting us in this crisis.”
It was more important than ever to bring the global music community together
Were you disappointed to have to cancel this year’s edition?
“It was a heartbreaker to cancel MIDEM in Cannes. After 53 years in the city, not to be able to bring the global community together was quite tough to be honest. We are really supporting the community as much as we can. We go around the world to connect with people – we were in Africa in February, in Nigeria and in South Africa. It was tough to cancel MIDEM in Cannes. But we are super proud to have this opportunity to still connect people, to still be useful to the community with the digital platform. I would like to also to thank my team, because they are doing an amazing job right now working from home. We are building this platform, it's a big challenge for us.”
How was MIDEM doing in terms of sales prior to the cancellation?
“It’s really frustrating, because it was a super year in terms of participation – we had an increase of 30%. More companies, more people from all around the world. So it was very good. We’ve had good [feedback] from the industry globally for the last three years, they really appreciate what we're doing right now. We did a survey post-MIDEM in 2019, and the results were the best ever for MIDEM. So we know that what we provide to the global community is useful. It's impactful and it makes sense for the industry, so we will continue to push and go in this direction.”
You’ve lined up some big names for the digital edition, including Kenny Meiselas…
“Yeah, he is one of the top lawyers in the US right now, he represents Lady Gaga, Usher, Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd, Sean Combs and many more. We are super proud to have the opportunity to have Kenny as part of the programme and to speak about his experience. The role of the lawyer in the entourage of the artist is really key. So he's going to share his experience and I think it's going to be super interesting. He’s a great man, so I'm sure he has a lot of stories to share.”
What’s the new MIDEM focus on artist and label services?
“We’ve launched the Artist & Label Services Forum. That's something very important for us, and we are redefining it to fit a digital event. We can see artist and label services is a big part of the business, more and more artists need services. We are the first to really highlight artist and label services during an event like MIDEM. In Cannes in 2021, we're going to have a big area during MIDEM, because it's quite difficult to navigate all those different services that you can find as an artist. So we want to really help the artists and the labels, and also the publishers, to identify the best services.”
And what’s the plan for 2021?
“We look forward to bringing everyone back together again in Cannes – it's going to the first week of June from June 1-4, 2021 – to welcome the return of a fast-growing industry and to celebrate the 55th edition of MIDEM. So it's going to be better, it's going to be bigger and even more fun. That's what we want to do for next year.”
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