I was truly honored when MIDEM asked me to be involved with their 2010 conference. Although I have toured the world with artists, had the privilege of speaking at various other conferences and been to France many times, I had no idea what to expect.
I was lucky enough to be invited to share a house on the beach with other entrepreneurs and folks with music start-ups including Kickstarter, Topspin,and Songkick as well as one of my artists, 23-year old French-American Sydney Wayser. Before even walking into the Palais, there had already been highly intelligent, thought-provoking debates and discussions among the friends we were lodging with. Ironically, I live in the same part of New York City as some of the people we were staying with but we are often too busy with our projects to take the time to get together. Thank you MIDEM for allowing us to pause for a moment to reflect and connect with likeminded colleagues.
Sydney and I dove right into the conference, as she is an artist that fearlessly takes her career into her own hands. In addition to the plethora of meetings that were seamlessly set up in advance through MIDEM’s system, we connected with pre-existing and new contacts from around the globe just by walking around and listening to what all of the various companies and delegates had to offer. It was wonderful to re-connect with my artists’ team members who are based outside of the North America. I live for video chats, Skype, social networking and beyond, but nothing replaces the power and human touch of meeting in person.
All of the above was amazing but the two aspects of MIDEM that made the conference truly special for me were the intimate access to some of the brightest, most forward-thinking minds in the modern music industry and connecting with folks beyond the territories I generally deal with.
For example, my work outside of the United States primarily is with colleagues based in Western Europe, Australia, and Japan. Don’t get me wrong, we love those places, but at my MIDEM+ expert session, I was approached by music industry professionals and artists from South Korea, Dubai, South Africa, Israel, and beyond. As internet access and speeds continue to expand globally, the marketplace to spread an artist’s music is becoming limitless. I learned just as much from the people I was giving advice to about the music markets in their home cities and countries, which is truly a priceless experience.
In addition, at other conferences, the featured speakers are often unattainable, wheeled in and out just as quickly as the stars they work with. Everyone is busy, I get it. But Sydney and I excitedly wandered over to see Peter Jenner speak, and I was thrilled to see that more than lecturing, he had opened up the discussion to the group of managers and artists attending to engage in a forum about modern music management. I could see that delegates were getting much more out of the experience by engaging with a legendary manager instead of just sitting and listening to a speech. That is when MIDEM really clicked for me. It is an accessible melting pot of established and new passionate musical visionaries all under the same roof and with gorgeous scenery to boot.
I was equally inspired by some of the university students who approached me and had traveled around the globe just to learn. Their drive and willingness to try new ideas ensure that our industry will thrive with creativity and art for decades to come. Not that I’m worried about such a thing ever going away, but I was truly moved.
If any of the above even slightly piques one’s interest, I cannot recommend attending MIDEM highly enough.
Thank you MIDEM for an extremely worthwhile and motivating event. Best of luck to all of the MIDEM companies, delegates and artists on all they set out to achieve and create to influence our local and global culture.