MIDEM 2010 Roundup

TThe most gorgeous music industry trade fair in the world, MIDEM, ended just few days ago, and I’m back from Cannes. Lots of meetings and panels, in mix with fresh air and fancy lunches and dinners hadn’t let me report here each day of the event – hope you forgive me and enjoy reading this brief summary I wrote mainly in airports on my way back home.

Palais des Festivals

This year’s event saw a decline in the number of attendees (13% less compared to 2009), even despite the fact that MidemNet was free. Many blame the economic climate, which is pretty fair. It’s notable, as the event was all about the money (music monetization, to be specific).

I spent the first day of MidemNet at panels. Basically, this was the only day I spent at MIDEM 2010 panels…

Amanda Palmer and The Young Punx’ Hal Ritson started up the conference program with a bang. Amanda sang few verses from Radiohead’s “Creep” with her ukulele, and I had a chance to film the full version of the cover performed in the Palasis’ hall in the evening of the same day, but let’s get back to it later.

Amanda told a story of building a strong relationship with her fans throughout the years, and Hal revealed the three principles that he thinks you have to do to success in music today (paraphrased):

  1. Make people hear your music.
  2. Establish an emotional contact with your listeners.
  3. Find revenue streams.

Rock Band: The Beatles booth

Amanda Palmer found out that it’s much more effective to put all her efforts into many projects, instead of just one (e.g. sitting in the studio for a year and then touring for two years ain’t too good). That’s not all though. “Everyone knows tools like Facebook and Twitter, but the trick is to use them with passion,” she said.

The same day I attended panels with Pharrell Williams and Pete Wentz (unfortunately both were pretty boring), MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta, Kodak’s Jeffrey Hayzlett (surprisingly, he sounded more interesting than most representatives of the actual music business at the conference), and many other industry experts.

I seriously recommend you checking out this survey conducted by The Music Matters and Synovate and presented at MIDEM by Jasper Donat. Interesting facts.

Probably everyone’s main buzz word of this MIDEM was MusicDNA, the technology aimed to replace MP3s. It’s been developed by Dagfinn Bach, who worked on the world’s first MP3 player in 1993, and has the backing of Karlheinz Brandenburg, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology in Germany. He’s been credited as the inventor of the MP3 itself.

MusicDNA is billed as an “enhanced, unified media format” that enables music to be tagged with lots of metadata. Attributes such as tempo, instrumentation, mood and ‘colour’ can be added, which has consequences for the way people search for music, create playlists and discover similar material. Find more at a Billboard report.

MidemNet Lab

Not having invites to NRJ Awards, held on the Saturday evening, we also stupidly missed a fabulous Jay Z party at Baoli (oh Cannes..)

Sunday was literally full of meetings, and ended with a MOG party at Morrison’s. As I said, I missed all the panels on Monday and Tuesday, aside from several MidemNet Lab showcases. They were held in Palais’ Hall 01, and I found the place sort of confusing (it was small and everyone had to stand or sit on the floor). I will cover some of the start-ups from MidemNet Lab in separate posts.

The exhibition areas seemed pretty calm this year, we could find a free table anywhere most of the time (this was only my second MIDEM, but veterans told me it used to be much, much more crowded).

Rock Band had two booths with the latest editions of the game, and overall there were quite a few interesting companies presenting their services / products. I loved a demonstration of Vinylrecorder T-560. Would be HAPPY to be able to burn vinyls at home this way:

That’s it for the promised brief roundup, but that’s not all for this year’s MIDEM. The event was rich on news and events, and I will keep providing you with the best of info brought from there.

PS: As promised, here’s a video of Amanda Palmer performing Radiohead’s classic “Creep” with her ukulele in front of Palais des Festivals’ Auditorium Debussy for MIDEM 2010 attendees. Filmed this on January 23rd, leaving the last panel of that date. The quality is crap, but hope you’ll still feel the vibe: