Memories of MIDEM From A Veterans View
For the past 20 years I have attended MIDEM in the South of France and represented artist, labels and content creators. This year's event was smaller by at least 40 percent over past Midem shows, the show floor was markedly less active with traffic, however this year's show produced more rewards for Independent companies than past shows. There has been an underlying theme across every year that I have attended. Music, video and other content from people of color has been some of the most sort after and negotiated products during each and every conference. The amount of people of color, especially from the United States making these deals, has been sorely lacking, in fact people of color worldwide have been lacking in attendance, productivity and business acumen. This year I made a conscience effort to change the way business as usual was conducted.
Last year I introduced MS Karen Marie Mason to the MIDEM adventure and upon her return to the United States she developed ARTIST LAUNCH " Artist Launch is designed for the exchange of ideas and information that will support, inform and assist artists with the launch and progression of their brand." . Utilizing this platform, myself, Karen and Anita Wilson Pringle were able to recruit 18 companies from 7 countries on 3 separate continents to attend the 2016 MIDEM 50th Year celebration. WE assisted in organizing their respective catalogs, handling travel and accommodations in France and assisting in making significant business appointments. Our pavilion area at MIDEM was small but extremely busy almost every moment that the exhibition floor was active.
By designating and promoting a new genre of music primarily dedicated to the multiple styles of our clients we ushered in GLOBAL SOUL - music with African roots that addresses the listener on an emotional basis, thus allowing the artist to expand their personal artistry without the danger of being labeled a specific genre and dismissing their ability to address multiple disciplinary audiences.
The end of an era is at hand. As an old philosopher once said" Everything must come to an end". This year at MIDEM 2016 two things were in their death throes, completely bringing an end to this portion of the music industry.
First the CD has become an object of the past worldwide as witnessed by the poor attendance of physical distribution companies, CD manufacturers and record labels. This does not mean that the music business is suffering as many experts have criticized. Many segments of the music industry saw incredible growth such as streaming, digital delivery, publishing, and licensing.
The second and most shocking portion of the music industry was the worldwide executive view about Gangster Rap. Thugs, gangster's, hoes, record pools, dj's and more should be aware of the new condition of music outside of the United States. International distributors, labels, publishers, wholesalers and one stop no longer have an interest in Gangster RAP music from the USA.
I met with companies from China to the UK, Brazil to Russia and not one company had an interest in American Gangster rap music. Every country said basically the same thing "American rap is violent, filled with overt sexual images and not conducive to the quality of life in our countries. We would rather sell local and national based acts from our own country whose musical messages condone better ideas". I have heard specifically from the Italians and French that the R&B they want from America should not contain any rap lyrics. Looks like keeping it real has finally caused the rap industry the pain and drama that is written about in the music they created.
What is really selling, streaming and causing massive performance money is "Clean content, Contemporary Christian music and video and the values that these artist bring with their music. R&B, Neo Soul, Americana, Gospel, Dance oriented Rap and more are now ALL being accepted under the mantle of GLOBAL SOUL.
At the height of the 20 previous Midem conferences that I have attended, conference attendees totalled well over 10,000 with unregistered independent company owners averaging another 4000. Business was difficult to convene unless you knew exactly who the deal makers were or you had access to the lobby of the Carlton or Majestic hotels, the center of Midem higher echelon. This year appointments were easy to obtain, walk ups to the sponsored booths were welcomed, and the hotel lobbies were manageable. My personal goals have been exceeded by about 700 percent with new deals in China, Southeast Asia and Great Britain.
There are a few changes that would make next year's Midem even better. Since music is being delivered digitally at such great levels around the world, there is a need for separate high speed Internet access within the Palais allowing fast connections and the ability to work effectively at the individual business booths. Additionally the ability to have translators readily available would increase business communication and help attendees in obtaining fruitful business connections.
On the technological side the key words this Midem were streaming, block chain technology, social networking, tribal structure and data mining. Social networks seem to be the key of obtaining quick access for music to the world community. Look for more social networks developing and online software that allows direct communication between different languages being built into the networks. Tribal structure is the development of independent groups which have common goals, common musical tastes and common merchandising purchases. These tribal groups will become the next generation musical artists fan base while the social networks will assist the group communication. The ability to mine data not only on individual users' tastes, demographics and internet destinations is crucial but the new data mining will give musicians the ability to determine where their music and videos have been downloaded, streamed, mentioned on social networks or mentioned in blogs. Block chain technology is allowing musicians to monetize their work and engage with fans more directly, by embedding music in the blockchain, those involved in its creation can get paid immediately in cryptocurrency. Hence, the blockchain has the potential to change the way the music industry operates. "Music is placed in a decentralized server, then each song is embedded with a piece of code, meaning that in time, anyone who downloads a track with a cryptocurrency, a payment is automatically sent to anyone involved, be it the writer, the producer, the singer, as well as many others.
Preparation for MIDEM 2017 has already begun at my company as we finalize the many deals we have been offered for our numerous projects worldwide. Our companies are independently owned but work for a common good.
Artist Launch, CM3 Media Group, Global Music Link & the Music Specialist currently placing the GLOBAL SOUL phenomenon in countries around the world.