2013 was my 4th Midem. While undeniably the event has changed over the past few years, adapting to the challenges faced by the industry and its inevitably shrinking budgets, the shift in focus on digital and the international reach still make it a fantastic place to be if you work in music.
There’s also something about the small size of Cannes — with everything laid out in a straight line from the Palais to the Carlton hotel — that creates a very special bubble where it’s easy to move around, run into people by chance and schedule meetings with a relative certainty of being able to make it on time…
The Midem experience can be tricky though. Cannes is practically made for people with generous expense accounts operating in industries that are far outpacing music (TV and advertising, for example) and a newcomer arriving without much preparation could very well end up penniless in a few hours. Given the rising number of self-releasing artists, one-man labels, small tech startups and freelance workers attending more than ever, there’s the need to look at the old balance sheet and see how much the trip could cost you.
So here’s a guide to how to do Midem well, on a budget!
1 – Conference Tickets
Midem is always going to require an expense, so if you plan on attending it makes sense to decide doing so as early as possible. This is not just to maximise your time in Cannes and get the best possible meetings, but also to minimise expenses on all fronts.
The conference ticket is going to be one of the biggest expenses you’ll have at Midem, but there are ways to make it cheaper.
If you’re thinking of going to Cannes without buying a Midem pass I would say think again. I have been told that a few years back a lot could be accomplished without a pass but these days one is required not only to access the Palais but also the lobbies of all the big hotels in town so as much as you can probably still get some meetings arranged in Cafes or restaurants would seems like a bit of a waste of a trip.
First piece of advice here (although rather obvious) is to buy it early. The walk-up rate at Midem if you just show up in Cannes on the day it starts is €900, which is really quite steep. If you purchase the ticket before the 30th of September though (right over here! ed.) you’ll have pay a much more manageable €525, which becomes €700 until the 30th of November and then €800 until the 24th of January. If you can plan 4 months ahead – which in fairness is not a lot given that most people plan their SXSW outing 6-8 months ahead – then go for it.
In order to get as many people attending as possible, Midem has partnered with many music organisations to offer discounts to the conference or reduce the entry price if you have missed the early bird discount. AIM Members, PRS for Music and many other national music organisations offer discounts to their members. UKTI (UK Trade and Investment) are also an interesting body to look at if you’re a small company attending from the UK as they may be able to provide support and I would imagine many other territories will have similar national bodies to refer to.
Moral of the story is: if you are a member of a music-related organisation, check with them about potential discounts before you buy your ticket. If you are a company, check for any government-supported scheme that may be able to help finance the trip.
This section deserves a very special mention as part of the Midem on a Budget guide. If you’re reading this it’s actually quite likely that you fall under one of the categories eligible for discounts. You’ll find more info about all the rates here.
First up is the Young Company discount. Midem offers a Young Company discount to any company that has been running for less than three years and that has less than 10 employees. The rate in this case is €495 until the 30th of November 2013 and €595 until the 30th of January 2014. This means that if you fall under this category, you can buy your ticket a bit closer to the date of the conference, without the fear of spending hundreds of euros more.
The second discount tier applies to both Performing Artists and Students, and it reduces the fee to only €295. This is a really hefty discount on the usual rate. Of course the more artist and students attending the better, it makes for a more vibrant conference, better attendance to the numerous panels, better questions and a of course a better nightlife…
Of course, as I mentioned at the beginning, this trip is going to cost you some money. If you’re going to make it all the way to Cannes without a great deal of contacts as a student or as a young artist you won’t get your money’s worth by just sitting in the panels, you need to get out there, approach people, stay out late at night in the hotel bars and generally make sure that you don’t walk away with just information but with a healthy pack of business cards and people that remember who you are. That’s worth the trip.
Access the full guide to “Midem on a Budget” here (no email required!)