We’re hearing a lot of people saying “MIDEM is quiet” and that therefore less business is being done. Our take on this is that MIDEM is actually reasonably busy but that more QUIET business is being done.
The old arguments of “this artist is killer, it’ll sell itself, we’ll sell loads because we know loads of people and your commission will therefore be worth a lot” or “I know loads of people, I’ll sell loads of your killer artist to justify my commission and that’ll make you loads of money” are still here. We overhear a lot of these pitches going round, supplemented by the “I’m a great guy, you know me, it’ll work” pitches. Good arguments and possible. But more and more people are defining the ‘how’ they’re going to do one or the other. What tools, what underpins the ‘magic’ the cost of customer acquisition, the return required, basically the commercial model.
Cynically, music is a product and the music industry is a business. The internet has emerged, processes are a lot more formal than they used to be and it’s as much about ‘how you do it’ as ‘who you know’. When we wear our software hat, we’d never get away with the argument that “we’re great guys, we’ll sell loads of software because we have a great network of people we know so give us a great exclusivity and commission deal”. No, we’d be challenged on our cost of customer acquisition, the volume of people we’ll pull in, the channels we’ll use and the performance criteria against which we’d be measured. It’s boring but it’s the way of the world. it means we’re sitting down and justifying our existence as much through who we know as how we’ll do it. We’re getting business for commercial sense and not for backslapping.
Overall MIDEM is quieter, but mainly because it’s more organised. A larger percentage of the population attending are doing structured, professional meetings where they’re discussing process. But that’s because the industry is professionalising. Which is duller and less dynamic but means that it’s gradually focussing on commercial arguments, commercial processes and that can only be good long term.
We don’t think the fact that MIDEM is quieter means that less business is being done. We’re betting that it means that more structured, process-led business is being done and that that’s the way of the new world. The beers and dinners are in the evening to reinforce the message after the presentation rather than being the method of presenting itself.