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It was my second time attending the conference, and it was an incredible, enlightening, and educational experience.  Generally my days are spent working from a micro perspective, making sure the details surrounding our clients’ careers are coming together to constantly move forward.  However, MIDEM gives us a chance to step back and examine our ever evolving industry from a macro point of view, which brought new relationships, ideas, and perspectives I’d never considered.

Apparently the “old” MIDEM was filled with glitz, glamour, and expense accounts.  Not that one could ever particularly be slumming it in the South of France by any means.  However, when I landed I happened to be sharing a car service to Cannes with the finance partner at a company who seemed surprised my posse wasn’t staying at the Carlton like he was.  His lodging choice seemed ironic to me considering he came to the conference with the intent of raising money, while I was sitting there thinking that our management company did twice as well in 2010 as we did in 2009.  Fellow “new” MIDEM-er Heidy Vaquerano of Lapolt Law and I had a blast splitting a reasonably priced apartment with free Wifi and a gorgeous balcony and loved welcoming friends to our temporary flat.  What more could one need?

Emily also sat down with MIDEMBlog for a quick video chat at MIDEM: check it out!

I don’t know what the “old” MIDEM is like, but the conference staff has certainly done a fantastic job engaging our community of start-ups, entrepreneurs, and folks who generally are excited about the modern music industry.

I love catching up with old and new friends/colleagues.  Despite the fact that some of us live in the same neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, or San Francisco, we don’t always take the time at home to get together and share what we’ve been working so hard on.  MIDEM gave us a chance to get together, re-group, and focus on where we’re going next.

After settling in upon arrival, I walked down to the Palais to meet up with Virgine Berger, Matthieu Drouin, Toby Langley, and Jeff Castelaz for our pre-panel meeting.  The topic was “Re-Inventing The Music Biz: The Next Generation’s Voice” (our liveblog here) No pressure, right?  I’d met Matthieu a few times and was looking forward to meeting Virginie in person after bonding on Twitter in the weeks preceding the conference, as well as Jeff, who everyone raves about. I was also curious to figure out what Toby enjoys doing most since he seems successful in so many areas within the industry.  I was immediately extremely impressed with everyone’s wit and intellect and couldn’t wait for our panel.  In the meantime, the speaker’s dinner was truly a special night.  I caught up with old tourmate Imogen Heap, watched managers I look up to get nervous to approach Paul McGuinness, and found out that not only is Jeff Castelaz from the same city I am in Wisconsin, but that he managed some of my favorite Milwaukee bands growing up.  Love it!

The next morning, I battled through jetlag and had a great time on our panel.  If anything, the feedback I received was that we were too positive about the new music industry and got along too well.  It was hard not to feel the passion the other panelists had for their acts and music in general, making it truly an honour to be associated with the other folks on stage.   After our panel, I enjoyed supporting friends with their presentations and couldn’t be more proud of my colleagues that I frequently work with such as Lapolt Law, Indaba, MerchLuv, Root Music, Red Magnet, Cyber PR, etc.  All had very positive, forwarding thinking, and energizing thoughts on where we are at and where we are going.

However, my more specific goal for MIDEM was to continue to license our artist’s music around the world, finding artist friendly partners who are willing to try new ideas and help us with specialized plans in each specific territory.  That goal was very much achieved from South America to Scandinavia to Australia.  In the coming months, I will definitely write more about the partners and deals we had come together at MIDEM, since we are still finalizing many details.  In the meantime, my relationships from MIDEM 2010 are still coming together, with Fanatic.fm really taking steam with Sydney Wayser as one of their flagship artists combining branding, fan engagement, and artist-approved sponsorship to help in this still developing area of art meeting commerce.

Overall, MIDEM is a special conference because there are so many high-level thinkers completely open about what they are working on and how deals are being structured in an evolving industry.  I am a staunch supporter of artists owning their rights and business development focusing around the artist, not a product.  This may have been an ambitious concept a few years ago, but more than ever, I’m finding partners who are embracing what we are doing.

We don’t necessarily need a recording advance; all of our artists are well-versed in recording and often have their own studios.  Instead, we are finding teams abroad to partner with that spend time, money, and energy on promoting the release with a tailored plan specific to that country.  It’s more work than a global deal, but the creative and financial rewards for our artists make this strategy well worth it.

I can’t recommend attending MIDEM enough and look forward to seeing you in Cannes next year!


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About Author

Emily White

Artist manager Emily White is partner at Whitesmith Entertainment; she also serves on the boards of CASH Music & Future of Music Coalition. She is a frequent contributor to midemblog and Midem speaker and moderator.

1 Comment

  1. I’m very pleased with what you wrote, i think all artist managers should think that way. My South African American Neo Hip Hop duo is making strides in the same direction and are utilizing corporate music in order to found our project.

    We are also creating new approaches to end up in the record books in Africa. its very uncharted water. If you have any interest in talking further on the matter.
    Contact me at dpyoos@yahoo.com.

    Were always open to new alliances.

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