Marcher, Manger, Musique and MIDEM

On Location in Cannes France

by Sandy Graham

Bonjour mes amis and welcome to my first hand experience of the enigma known as MIDEM.

I am traveling for the Canadian contingent coordinated by Kathy Hahn Canada Stand Coordinator (CIMA) and MIDEM guru. We have the privilege of arriving two days early as Hahn is responsible for the set-up of this enterprising event that brings the Canadian music industry to Cannes, France. This is where the music world meets and plays every year. I opted to arrive early as well in order to get my “sea legs” and to adjust to the time difference between Canada and Europe.

MIDEM 2010 a busy day at the Canada StandMIDEM 2010 a busy day at the Canada StandFlash forward now past a few amazing dinners, walks on the Riviera and suddenly Cannes comes alive with over 10,000 music professionals, all taking on the task of networking with each other in a few short days. Many have already set up their appointments, in order to maximize their time while on site in France. Let the fun begin.

Marcher – to walk: Everyone walks everywhere in Cannes. This is a good thing as it seems every car I have seen has a dent in it. The streets are filled with pedestrians and mo-peds, mingled with sports cars like Peugeots and BMW’s along with the occasional Mercedes. After one day here, Band-aids are a necessity of life. You cannot help but feel “French” here – and you quickly adapt to espresso and café au lait. We are minutes away from the Palais des Festivals where MIDEM is held; the same location as the famous Cannes Film Festival.

Opening day of MIDEM: Registration is efficient and prompt. Security is tight and no one gets in without their MIDEM badge. Once in the main hall, it is an unbelievable set-up, with countries from around the world surrounding the main run of the Palais. Germany, Australia, Brazil, The U.K, Brittany, Japan, and China to name a few of the larger displays with the major social media companies like MySpace, Sonic Bids and “Rock Band,” situated in between. “Rock band” boasts 2 stages, one featuring their latest success, The Beatles. For a music industry professional, this is heaven on earth.

The Canada Stand, area set up by CIMA, is impressive on its own. CIMA and the MIDEM staff have done an amazing job, with a great décor of red and white, tables and chairs that seat over 40 people, a listening booth with a board room, an internet café with land computers and wireless service available for those who have their own laptops. We all have a secure back area, that gives each company their own “cubby hole” to store product and goods acquired to help keep the area organized and secure. CIMA also supplies a daily serving of fresh patisseries that include croissants, buns as well as fresh fruits and an ongoing espresso machine. It is a “home away from home.”

Keely Kemp and Eddie SchwartzKeely Kemp and Eddie SchwartzAfter a long first day, most of the companies are settled in. The old school is in attendance: Bernie Finklestein, one of the original founders and former owner of “True North Records”, the label who made stars out of Bruce Cockburn and Murray McLaughlin. Stony Plain Records is here, promoting a new CD from Canadian legacy artist, Ian Tyson. “Stony Plain” is Canada’s most established ‘Roots’ label, and on a personal level, Holger Peterson who has to be one of the most likeable people in the industry. Heather Ostertag C.M., President & CEO of FACTOR is busy with back to back meetings. Keely Kemp from OMDC is putting the final touches on the Canadian Blast Party – the highlight Showcase of Canada’s best new emerging acts. This year features Jason Bajada, Matthew Barber, Danny Fernandes, Jully Black & Plants and Animals. One of the newcomers to MIDEM, “Liberty Music Trax” is here to launch a new business model that matches music with film buyers, advertisers and more. Ralph Levy, Ed Stevens and Holly Fagan have catapulted themselves into four days of constant appointments as this new innovative idea takes form. Gord Dimiterief of “Aporia Records” was the first one at the Canada Stand and the last one out, a dedicated record label and music publisher who knows his stuff. “Awesome Productions & Management” (appropriately named after the owner and operator Asim(pronounced awesome) Awan) is here promoting newcomer Lisa Manis, Vince Fontaine of “Rising Sun Productions” guarantees his Eagle & Hawk a future review in Cashbox with his passion for culture and music. Pierre Marchand of ‘Statik”, Canada’s largest independent music & video distributor, is busy but always sharing his smile and francophone charm daily. It is a feeling of the ticket scalpers at the ACC with their cry of “Who’s Buying? Who’s Selling?” Inside the Palais – more ‘marcher’ – walking every bit of this huge event.

Manger – to eat. That is the French way. The day rotates around meals. Dinner is fashionably late – the restaurants don’t even open until sometime after 8 pm. Until then it is Happy Hour, with the bars and cafes filling up with MIDEM people, winding down after work before partaking in French Cuisine.

Holly Fagan explaining “Liberty Music Trax”Holly Fagan explaining “Liberty Music Trax”

Day Two of MIDEM: I finally feel I have got it down to some sort of rhythm. I now venture outside of the Canada Stand and meet up with Richard Belanger, President of “Disques RSB”, who has made a point of introducing himself to Cashbox Magazine. He is stationed across the hall in the Musique De Quebec section. He has a fascinating new idea with his company launching a new online way to listen to music which is a modern takeoff of the old listening booths made popular in England years ago. The alternative service for this is for unsigned artists. I also met with Robert Singerman, entrepreneur extraordinaire, who brought me up to speed on the latest game rage, “Tune Wiki”, a handheld “karaoke” deal, that is multi-faceted, that can translate lyrics into other languages, slows down a song so a beginner can learn it, and speeds it up all at the touch of a “balloon”. This amazing new technology is due to launch April 2010.

It was humbling to meet with Brian Chater, industry icon and legacy in his own right, Chater has been attending MIDEM since its inception and knows how to maximize his time between lectures, meetings and business talks. We discuss Cashbox Magazine, and he is positive about its impact and return to the media and music consumer world. Right after that, while walking down the hall of the Palais, a European gentleman intercepted me with many “Mon Dieus” upon seeing Cashbox Magazine in my hands and loudly declared it “the bible of the music industry” to all passersby.

Danny FernandesDanny FernandesDay Three of MIDEM: I continue to make the rounds, meeting industry folks and telling them about Cashbox Magazine and its return to the music industry both online and in hard copy. I then meet Joey Welz, one of the last remaining members of the Comets of Bill Haley fame (Rock Around the Clock). Welz keeps insisting he wants to write me a cheque so he can never miss another Cashbox Magazine. He wants to sign on for the rest of his life for a subscription, right here, right now in France. He tells me tales of his days on Cashbox Charts and how important a magazine it was in its heyday. I assure him we are about to make it just as important again. Welz was to become a familiar figure at the Canada Stand booth returning for the rest of Day Three and all of Day Four. He wants to know how he can become a Canadian.

Day Four of MIDEM – the wind down: Most people start to pack up today. Last minute business card exchanges, giveaway of product and co-ordinates are verified one last time. It is still a busy time for all. I stop to thank the Canada Stand Information Officers, Christel André and Valerie Chaix, residents of France, who have kept us all organized and sane during these four days.

Valerie Chaix & Ed StevensValerie Chaix & Ed StevensLa Musique - The Music: The experience of MIDEM reminds me once again why I chose to work in the entertainment industry. It is all about the music. Nothing has changed in that respect, as I reflect on the decades I have spent in this business. It all comes down to the music. A great song is still a great song. An amazing talent is still an amazing talent. Solid promotion and marketing is still key to the success of the product. It truly is all about the music.

Cashbox Magazine is back and it was the right place to show that to the music industry world – at MIDEM 2010.

Au revoir jusqu'à la prochaine fois Cannes et MIDEM.

** MIDEM (short for Marché International du Disque et de l'Edition Musicale) is the world's largest music industry trade fair, which has been held annually at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France, since 1967, bringing together musicians, businesspeople, cultural policy makers, and journalists from all over the world. It provides a forum for business talks, discussing political and legal issues, and showcasing new artists, musical trends and music-related products. In spite of a large number of concerts, MIDEM considers itself primarily a marketplace, thus the artists present are those who either run an enterprise of their own, or have been invited to promote companies.

In numbers, MIDEM 2010 was attended by (unconfirmed final numbers) 10,093 delegates from 4,545 companies (out of which 2,233 had stands or pavilions of their own) and 482 journalists, from a total of 88 countries. Although attendees come from all over the world, those from Western Europe (67%) and North America (22%) clearly dominate.

** MIDEM (Marché International du Disque et de l'Édition Musicale, abrégé MIDEM) est le plus grand rassemblement des entreprises travaillant dans le secteur de la musique au monde. Il est organisé chaque année depuis 1967 à Cannes (au mois de janvier par Reed MIDEM, une entreprise travaillant dans le secteur du rapprochement des entreprises d'une même industrie sur deux grands secteurs : l'entertainment (télévision, contenus interactifs) et l'immobilier), via des marchés dans le style du MIDEM.

Pour son édition 2010, il a rassemblé approximativement 10, 093 participants représentant 4,545 entreprises provenant de 88 pays. 2 233 tenaient un stand sur un total de 9 017 m² de superficie d'exposition. 482 journalistes de 398 médias étaient présents pour couvrir l'évènement.

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