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In this guest post, Red Magnet Media’s Rachel Masters shares what she learned at MIDEM in her role as a MidemNet expert.

Rachel has helped artists such as 50 Cent and Linkin Park launch and grow their social networks and social media strategy. You can follow her on Twitter for more insights on social media for artists.

Now that we have had time to unpack, enter new contact information into our PDAs and follow up on key business conversations, the MIDEM team invited me to reflect upon on what I learned at MIDEM 2010.

I had the opportunity to be a speaker/expert at the MidemNet Academy and MIDEM Managers’ Forum and I did one-on-one consulting at MIDEM+. Although my role was to share information, I also learned a lot from everyone I spoke with, and some major insights emerged.

Let’s face it, we’re not in the music industry to get rich quick. Those of us who are still lucky enough to work in the music business are doing it because we love music and want to help artists create and connect with their fans.

We have entered a new phase of cooperation in the music business.  Our industry is in the midst of massive transition – sales of records, tickets, and merchandise have fallen drastically. Guess what? NOBODY HAS CRACKED THE CODE AND NOBODY KNOWS ALL OF THE ANSWERS. This is why major music industry gathering events such as MIDEM are still relevant. It allows a social media geek like myself to meet a music publisher from Dorchester, a jazz musician and record label owner from Washington DC and a design student from Montreal. We can compare notes on what is working and what isn’t.

One manager I met with told me he’s collecting not only the email addresses of every fan but also their home addresses, because nobody receives snail mail from their favorite bands anymore. That’s a great way to differentiate your band and make an impression. Inspiration can come from so many places. You have to be open and willing to share both your wins and your mistakes: so much can be learned from someone else’s perspective and experience.

I also realized there is a massive need for digital media education. Us digital media geeks are not doing a very good job at making it easy for artists and executives to learn about technology. I had never spoken at MIDEM before, yet all of my talks were packed. I realized that there is a major thirst for information around digital media and talking about it once a year is not enough. Technology companies like Twitter and Facebook should have dedicated resource areas for usicians that demystify how to easily use their services in order to connect with fans and build audiences.

If you want to educate yourself and keep up with what is happening in digital media, there are a handful of essential, must-read blogs. Use these resources to your advantage:

1.     Hypebot – Covers music, technology and the new music business. Publishes a super helpful “New Music Industry Week In Review” column (editor Bruce Houghton is a regular MIDEM(Net) Blog contributor).

2.     Digital MusicNews Daily – Provides fresh news on the digital music scene, and is a great source for digital media events

3.     Mashable – Offers social media news and tips. This is an amazingly rich resource.

4.     TechCrunch – Profiles and reviews new Internet products and companies.

5.    Scott Perry’s New Music TipSheet – Read this blog, written by a music executive who understands the transition we are all going through, every Monday morning to get motivated.

6.    Ariel Publicity’s Blog – Educates musicians and music entrepreneurs about how to use social media in order to expand your business and audience.

All of these blogs offer email newsletters. Sign up so you can read the latest on your mobile device.

From watching Amanda Palmer playing Radiohead’s “Creep” on a ukulele to learning about new companies like Hello Music!, my time at MIDEM this year was amazing. Thank you to everyone I met, for listening and for sharing. Please don’t stop just because MIDEM is over. Drop me a line and we’ll keep the conversation going. I look forward to hearing from you!


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About Author

James Martin

James Martin is Head of Social Media for Midem organisers Reed MIDEM. This includes defining and rolling out Midem's social media strategy, editing midemblog, influencer outreach, developing Midem's fanbase of 75,000+ music professionals and more.

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