Blogging MIDEM: The Message, The Messengers, and the Platforms for Delivering the Message


Gerd Leonhard
“Beyond Music: Learning From Other Innovation”
Photo courtesy MIDEM

In the exhibition halls at MIDEM, the name of the game is driving traffic to your booths. Many of the various countries whose music is represented here have been taking advantage of food and drink that make them unique in order to get folks to pass by and pay attention to their musical offerings. The booth for Sweden offers intensely strong licorice flavored “Swedish fish” candy; I’m not looking forward to going back to the tepid stuff produced for the American market. The Japanese music export folks threw a sake party at 5 p.m. yesterday and today at lunchtime, the folks promoting Catalan music threw a cocktail party with local cheeses, cured meats, and an amazing red wine from Montsant.

But there have also been several ways to engage people directly using music. I caught parts of several performance showcases, 20-30 minute sets of bands across a wide array of genres. Bauchklang, an all a capella hip-hop quintet from Austria, blew my mind. I can’t wait to hear their CD, but I think a big part of the thrill was watching them make a myriad of timbres just with their mouths against microphones in real time. Last night, at the opening party in the posh Hotel Martinez, the band accompanying French singer Cascadeur played music that was as indebted to American minimalist composers as it was to European prog rock. And later this afternoon a techno group from Germany named Brandt Brauer Frick, who purport to be influenced by John Cage and Helmut Lachenmann, will have a showcase. I’m really “listening forward” to it, but I would probably be even more excited if Cage or Lachenmann’s music, or someone from that part of the musical universe, were being presented here as well as everyone else. The classical offering tonight, featuring the Monte Carlo Symphony Orchestra, is strictly standard rep, so I’ll stick with the pop showcases.


Takeshi Natsuno
“Towards Music Ubiquity: Takeshi’s Route”
Photo courtesy MIDEM

Despite this year’s MIDEM being smaller than ever before from all reports, I still find it pretty overwhelming and impossible for one person to completely cover. Last night, after catching part of the opening party, I tried to attend the tail end of a MIDEM meet-up with various cloud-based music services at the Station Tavern but by the time I arrived either the MIDEM folks had completely blended in with locals in this extremely small and crowded space or their cloud had whisked them away somewhere else. Disappointing. But not nearly as disappointing as some of this morning’s comments by Shailendra Pandey, senior analyst for the UK-based Informa Telecoms & Media whose talk was titled “How Mobile Apps Bring New Business Opportunities to the Music Industry”. He encouraged everyone to remain hopeful, echoing Berklee College of Music’s Media VP Dave Kosek’s in a session late day yesterday: “Be optimistic: people love music; that’s not going to go away.” But Pandey, who is on the service provider rather than the content provider end of the equation, acknowledged with perhaps too great a degree of certainty (at least to my taste) that while “people love music, they don’t want to pay for content.” I’d much rather pay for music than the outrageous roaming charges I seem to be accruing during this trip but can’t confirm with any certainty. In the new business paradigm, the platform used to deliver the message is sadly more influential than the message or the messenger.

2 thoughts on “Blogging MIDEM: The Message, The Messengers, and the Platforms for Delivering the Message

  1. holbrooke

    In the new business paradigm, the platform used to deliver the message is sadly more influential than the message or the messenger.

    Why sadly? Sure, some people who make their living creating digital content will need to adapt. But the overall benefits, especially to the poorest people around the world, of inexpensive technologies for communication and sharing information are incredible, and certainly worth the costs.

    Reply
  2. philmusic

    “In the new business paradigm, the platform used to deliver the message is sadly more influential than the message or the messenger.”

    Frank, in one guise or another being a “middleman” has been around for centuries. There is always money to be made selling a thing or service that someone else makes.

    Phil Fried Phil’s retail Page

    Reply

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