Blogging MIDEM: Yes, Oui, Cannes


Midem–outside the entrance.

I arrived in Cannes about an hour ago after spending the past couple of days in Nice for the winter meeting of the International Association of Music Information Centres. There was barely any time to unpack my luggage at the hotel and head over to the Palais des Festivals: panel sessions at MIDEM, the world’s largest trade fair for music, have already begun. MIDEM is a hub for meetings between music industry professionals from around the world: record company execs, concert promoters, technology developers, etc. There are receptions and performance showcases presumably around the clock. I plan to get little sleep while I am here. Yet despite MIDEM’s significance, it is a mystery to most composers, which is why I am here. I’m not sure I’ll be able to figure it out completely during my first-ever time here, but I’ve already started plunging in.


MIDEM panel with screen full of live tweets (including an @fjoteri tweet)

I heard a panel with Vodaphone’s Lee Epting and Foursquare’s co-founder Naveen Selvadurai. Epting talked about needing to provide content for both mobile and desktop platforms going forward but acknowledged that subscription models are now preferable to the a la carte paradigm, which of course has significant consequences to those of us who create individual musical works. This is not really earth shattering news at this point, but having it be the first thing I walked in on here is something of a reality check, I suppose. Selvadurai talked about how Foursquare has transformed people’s lunch habits in New York City by offering pizza badges to folks who visit ten different pizzerias (which was somewhat surreal to hear about in France). But how can we use Foursquare’s badge system to increase people’s awareness of new and unusual music that is off the beaten path?


Francis Gurry of WIPO

Perhaps most interesting thus far, however, was the keynote address by Francis Gurry, the director general of WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization, who used his time at the podium to advocate for an authoritative international music registry that would be a neutral platform for metadata on who holds rights for every piece of music in the world. While he admitted that such a database would be technologically much easier to make happen than it would be politically, he believes that such a database would be of immense value to composers, publishers, promoters, performers, and listeners alike–in fact, everyone. But how long will it take to get the whole world to cooperate on such a project?

Stay tuned for regular updates from MIDEM throughout the week on these pages, as well as periodic tweets from @FJOteri and others by searching #MIDEM.

One thought on “Blogging MIDEM: Yes, Oui, Cannes

  1. Kevin Warren

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks for keeping us all in the loop. I understand why you are concerned about the consequences of a subscription model for composers who might spend a month or a year on a single work. I believe, however, that with a little tweaking, it may prove even more advantageous to such people.

    It seems a tall order to compose, copy, rehearse and perform a piece on any repetetive short term basis. However, each of those steps can be packaged for “consumption”. Instead of waiting until the entire project is finished to release it to the public, why not send them pdfs of sketches and notes, mp3s of sound ideas (either on the piano, midi or with the performers who will play the piece). When the piece is copied, release the final version of the score. As rehearsals get underway give audio samples, and of course, finally the actual recording of the piece.

    I started doing just that about two months ago, and it is slowly picking up steam. I find that are many benefits of this model:

    1) Each piece turns into many individual “products”.

    2) I find that having a deadline to publish my work at the end of the week pushes me to be more productive (and keeps me from getting too lost in my own head).

    3) Fans will become more invested in the music – regular contact is always the best way to build strong relationships.

    4) By the time the piece is finished, there are already people who know about it and are better equipped to appreciate it. These same people may also be interested/excited in the piece, likely attending the concert and hopefully bringing their friends.

    Keep in mind, also, that even while following this model, it is still possible to offer the final recordings in a more traditional a la carte style.

    I haven’t always felt this way, but I’ve come to have faith that technology and globalization can be a positive force on the music industry.

    Thanks for the info from France. Looking forward to hearing more.
    Kevin

    Reply

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