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Midem event staged in Cannes as prequel to full return in 2024

By | Published on Monday 23 January 2023


A mini edition of the music conference Midem took place in Cannes last week, basically relaunching the brand and setting out a plan for 2024 and beyond.

Midem, of course, had been a fixture of the music industry calendar for more than five decades when – in 2021 – its owner, RX France, announced that it would no longer be staging the event and that the planned 2022 edition was cancelled. However, at the time RX France said that the city of Cannes was looking into acquiring the Midem brand, which it then did last year.

The new owners relaunched the event last week with a small conference and a series of concerts, setting out plans for a full return next year. Like last week’s mini edition, that full return will take place in January, Midem having traditionally taken place early in the year, before moving into a June slot in 2015.

The plan is for the new Midem to have three strands. First, a revamped conference and market-place for the music business. Second, a training programme aimed at both artists and music industry execs. And third, a series of concerts which, like those staged last week, will also be open to the public.

It’s no secret that Midem peaked in terms of delegate numbers in the late 1990s, seeing its audience slide in the 2000s. Partly because the record industry was in steep decline at the time and so had less money to spend on such events. And partly because, in a rapidly changing business, fewer record labels and music publishers needed a physical conference to find and negotiate with international licensing partners.

That said, even in the 2010s Midem remained a significant event, with various innovations put in place that sought to adapt the proceedings to the modern music business. It remains to be seen what further changes the new owners instigate. And also what scale is required to make the whole thing viable for those new owners, and whether that kind of scale is achievable.

To help inform the evolution of the event, Midem is building a network of senior music industry executives, with last week’s conference mainly bringing together the first 100 members of that network. It’s seemingly hoped this network – called MuSee – will have value year round, beyond Midem itself, providing a forum for sharing knowledge and ideas.

Opinion seems divided within the music community about the role Midem can play in the music industry of the 2020s, especially given the significant number of other music conferences that now take place each year. Indeed, last week’s mini edition clashed with another big conference for the music industry – Eurosonic in the Netherlands – a diary clash that Midem’s organisers have insisted will not happen in 2024.

And there’s even now another music industry event in Cannes. MiCannes was first staged last June in the slot left by the cancelled Midem, with a second edition planned for 6-9 Jun this year. It states its mission as follows: “We are a group of like minded music industry professionals who attended Midem in Cannes for many years and continued to attend a new music conference in Cannes from 2022 on”.

All of that said, the Midem brand still enjoys a high profile internationally, and could remain distinct from many of its competitors as primarily a deal-making forum, if it can relaunch itself around the kind of deal-making that still needs to be done in the music business of today. We shall see if that can be achieved.