The Midem Artist Accelerator (MAA) is an exclusive programme for artists and their entourages. Designed to support managers, agents, labels and publishers as they look to grow their artists’ profiles globally, it has seen countless up-and-coming acts hit the global stage in recent years: Al Bairre, Far From Alaska, Flo Morrissey, Koo Ntakra and Synapson, to name just a few.

Besides playing live in Cannes, finalists are offered advice and guidance from the MAA Artistic Committee, a panel of world-leading industry experts, which for Midem’s forthcoming 2017 edition includes Willy Ehmann, SVP, Domestic GSA, Sony Music Entertainment (Germany); Patrik Larsson, of Playground Music Scandinavia, Scandinavia’s biggest independent label; and Christian Bernhardt, of United Talent Agency (whose roster includes Belgian megastar Stromae). Bernhardt, who was also part of the last edition’s Artistic Committee, calls the MAA “an amazing place to find new artists, witness international panels and network with the international music industry.”

Keen to find out more, we asked Bernhardt, Ehmann and Larsson to explain their involvement in 2017’s MAA.

midemblog: The MAA is back for a third edition in June 2017. What do you hope to bring to the table?

Willy Ehmann: I hope to share my knowledge and experience with the participating artists, and to be of help to them to answer relevant questions related to their careers.

Patrik Larsson: Hopefully a lot of experience from my 20-plus years in the music-business as a professional and my take on artist development; and also how our market has developed over the years. Not forgetting advice on how to take to heart about how things work up here (in Scandinavian territories).

Christian Bernhardt: Linking with more industry professionals and adding some more knowledge in form of discussions and panels.


> What would you say is the number one thing that has helped artists you take care of go global, and could help other artists to do the same thing?

Willy Ehmann: The song; then the singer; then the support by the label and management.

Patrik Larsson: To me it’s always about the song, the song, the song. With the right combination of vocal-performance, melody, production and lyrics, we feel a lot of stuff really does take off; and it does so now quicker than ever before. Its always a balance between knowing what the market wants, but at the same time not being an exact copy of what´s already been huge.

Christian Bernhardt: Unfortunately there is no one thing that can help an artist to go global. It depends on genre, timing, trends and so many other components. Generally though, I would say that taking advantage of social media in a smart way is likely still one of the best tools to generate interest on a global level. As an international artist, I would also always suggest to stay true to the artist’s origin – whether that is language, or even music style. The inclusion and exploitation of video in music is also a very important factor, in my opinion.


> How do you advise artists to take advantage of technology – streaming, social media, etc – that previous generations of artists didn’t have?

Willy Ehmann: Today’s artists do not need to be told the advantages of technology. They have it already in their blood…

Patrik Larsson: Now more than ever it’s all about the story, who you are as an artist and what you are trying to say to the world. Perhaps the biggest problem for a lot of artists is to dare to let people in, dare to get personal and share feelings, good or bad, and just let people join you for your emotional ride. Music is all about emotions and telling stories; and the more you connect, the better hardcore fans you will find that will stay with you.

Christian Bernhardt: Everyone seems to use technology – but the ones who succeed use it in a smart way and not just for the sake of blasting out messages. Content and timing are crucial. And posting things when there is really a story to tell… But again – this differs from genre to genre and artist to artist.


Find out more about the third edition of the Midem Artist Accelerator here!

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James Martin is Head of Social Media for Midem organisers Reed MIDEM. This includes defining and rolling out Midem's social media strategy, editing midemblog, influencer outreach, developing Midem's fanbase of 75,000+ music professionals and more.

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