Bas Kruijssen: Four big talking points for Midem 2014

The current strength of EDM, indies and streaming will all be front of mind in Cannes, predicts Black Hole Recordings' new media manager


Daft Punk

1. Electronic Dance Music accepted at last

One of the most exciting developments I have seen last year is the acceptance of electronic dance music (EDM) worldwide. It’s a genre that has been rising for years, but last year was a particularly important year for dance music. Whereas in the past it was often not taken very seriously, 2013 was a tipping point: first and foremost with Daft Punk, who once again took electronic music to the next level.

Midem, as I know it, has all possible musical genres showcased from all corners of the world. This can be an opportunity for labels, artists, publishers and more to get together and spread the EDM movement even further. Creative people from all over the world, sharing their thoughts and, appropriately, mixing ideas, can only benefit the dance music genre. At this year’s Midem, participants should pay attention to all EDM developments and realise that 2014 is a year to continue the growth.


2. Indies on a level playing field with the majors

In September 2012, Universal and EMI announced their merger, which lead to numerous discussions about the impact on the music industry. It would be bad news for independent labels, which would be facing more challenges to keep up with the competition. 2013 however has shown that, in the US, 34.6% of the market is controlled by Indies. That’s a stunning growth of 2% compared with 2012. Vampire Weekend (Beggars), Mumford & Sons (Glassnote), Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (Big Machine): all contributed to this shift of power. All indie labels combined now outpace the major labels.

As I already mentioned, I have high hopes that Midem 2014 will be good for electronic dance music. This expectation is related to the growth of indie labels; EDM has always been a genre in which independent record companies have excelled. Given recent growth for both EDM and indie labels, I think Midem 2014 will be a perfect place for the collective development of this part of the industry.


3. Streaming music development

2013 was also an interesting year for streaming services like Spotify, Deezer, Pandora and of course iTunes Radio. There have been new entries of big parties in the streaming market, such as iTunes Radio, and most recently Beats Music. As we have seen a slight drop in sales of downloads at the end of 2013 (for the first time ever), simultaneously we see a rise in the number of streams. Whether the streaming business model should be taken seriously isn’t really a question anymore; the customer has already done that for us. Midem 2014 can be an opportunity to both develop business for streaming music and dedicate attention to downloading music. There’s a substantial market for both downloading and streaming; it’s our job to offer music lovers their preferred manner of consumption, not to keep them from enjoying music.


4. “Who needs labels?” will become an irrelevant question…

There’s one last thing I hope to see evolve at this year’s Midem. And that has everything to do with a question I have heard too many times last year… “Who needs labels?” is the question suddenly everybody wanted to ask, and even more wanted to answer. As I, and many with me, have pointed out on numerous occasions, labels have an important role in finding, developing, supporting and communicating new talent to the world. Last year’s developments (growth of indie labels, EDM) are proof that labels can add value to the industry. Good A&R, years of experience in promoting music, and knowledge of rights management are just a couple of strong points labels can offer artists.

So what do I wish to see evolve the most at this year’s Midem? We need to create awareness about the importance of labels, and if we want to achieve sustainable growth this can only start with confidence. If we all give it our best effort, I’m sure of that “Who needs labels” is a question that will soon belong to the past.


Bas Kruijssen is new media manager for Black Hole Recordings, the Dutch dance music label co-founded by superstar DJ, Tiesto. He’ll be back on midemblog soon; meanwhile, follow him on Twitter here; and watch his “Who needs labels?” interview here!

Photo via Daft Punk’s Facebook page.


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