Photo: Emily White (left) & fellow Visionary Monday host Alice Tumler at midem 2013, via Instagram
midem is an embodiment of the established and new music industry intertwined into a high-level event that goes far beyond existing as a singular, stand-alone conference.
Often when in the company of mentors and luminaries, I hear that they have been attending midem longer than I have been alive. Despite my role as a modern midem participant, I feel incredibly lucky to have attended this multi-faceted gathering for the fourth time this year.
The wealth of knowledge and relationships I take away from midem continues to grow larger each year. My first one was spent (literally) running to and from meetings as I did not have the lay of the land yet. By now, I’ve learned to schedule meetings in relatively the same place, for not only ease but also so I can introduce colleagues who might not know each other, yet could benefit their artists by working together.
Working together is what midem is all about. When industry professionals as well as companies new and old contemplate the annual trek to Cannes, it is difficult for me to explain the visceral experience in words, but easy for me to summarise with tangible results.
For anyone who is interested in deepening their networking and knowledge base of the music industry across the board, coming to midem is a must. My biggest takeaways from the conference are consistently expanding our company’s network beyond territories we generally work with (i.e. the U.S., Western Europe, Japan, and Australia / New Zealand). In the past, I have come away making deals for our artists in South Korea, Israel, and Brazil. This year, we developed new relationships in Dubai and Malaysia while finding partners for our artists in Canada. Although it might seem silly to cross an ocean to find new colleagues who are just north of our countries’ home base, I was thrilled to find a label partner called Pipe & Hat out of Winnipeg who has some amazing acts and ideas that synergistically fit with our goals.
Beyond forging new international relationships, midem has become the focal point of the global music tech sector in addition to featuring high-level marketing elements. I would be content just to sit and watch the startup (Midemlab), Hack Day, and marketing competitions, as these concepts and ideas are truly at the forefront of not only how we thrive within pop culture, but as the fabric of our larger society.
midem is cool enough to webcast the headlining conference day, Visionary Monday, notably through gracious partners such as Billboard and Hypebot. Though by attending the conference, I was able to meet some of the world’s leading brands such as Amex. We witnessed discussions led by some of the industry’s top journalists, (Billboard’s Bill Werde), with regard to what these brands are doing to monetise their relationships with the music industry.
I was captivated by minds like Robert Scoble, who told us of tattoos that can monitor blood as well as the advancement in car sensor technology. Additionally, I witnessed brilliant folks such as Gabe McDonough of Leo Burnett accept the Marketing Competition’s award for “Best Music Placement in a TV Commercial” for his work on the Sprint / HTC EVO 4G LTE campaign featuring Wilco’s “I’m Always in Love.” Here is a shot I snapped backstage of Gabe presenting the work, after accepting his award:
I was lucky enough to co-host the afternoon of Visionary Monday, which meant getting an up-close view of Lang Lang a few times. The rock star pianist performed two spellbinding numbers for us at the speaker’s dinner on Sunday night.
Additionally, I snapped the below shot of Visionary Monday’s morning host, Alice Tumler, preparing with Lang Lang for his presentation.
I am so grateful for all of the new contacts I met at midem 2013. I was quite busy with meetings, and can only imagine the even larger network I would have built if I actively went into midem with the intention to “network” (we may bring an intern for next year to help with just that!). It’s amazing looking through the stack of business cards I collected to realise that we now have resources to reach out to everywhere from YouTube to Fox music supervision. Here’s a peek at the pile:
But beyond new contacts, midem has become a place to re-connect with old friends. Here is a shot of two of my favourite European leading ladies in the industry, Charlotte Benoit of ConfliktArts (centre) and Emily Gonneau of Unicum Music. They are both such an amazing resource into the European market, and nothing beats being able to re-connect with both of these minds over a long dinner at midem.
Hope to see you next year in Cannes!