Magazine article Variety

Marketing to the Little Labels

Magazine article Variety

Marketing to the Little Labels

Article excerpt

Three years ago, when Bruno Crolot took the reins of Midem, the international music business conference that takes place every winter in Cannes, he inherited a raft of challenges. The confab - for decades a must-attend summit - had witnessed a slump in both attendance and relevance, with the increasingly important tentacles of the ever-splintering music biz going underrepresented.

MIDEM

As he gears up for this year's installment, which runs Feb. 1-4 and features keynotes from the likes of former Warner Music Group prexy Lyor Cohen and WME music topper Marc Geiger, Crolot says he would give himself and his team a passing grade for their efforts so far, even if work remains to be done.

"My mandate when I joined was to reinvent Midem and make it much more relevant to what the business as a whole was becoming, and had already become," Crolot says. "Midem was for more than 40 years a very core-business oriented event, especially important for labels, publishers, collecting societies. These companies are obviously still the heart of the show, but the business is now different, we have so many different players, tech companies, brands and agencies, and also the artists who are more and more the artist-entrepreneurs."

Crolot says these traditional elements still make up between 65% and 70% of attendance, but the remainder is made up of new business, particularly tech companies and brands. "And that was close to zero maybe five years ago."

A huge step in modernizing Midem came with the dissolution of the confab's dedicated tech summit, MidemNet, which has been folded into the general program. (Crolot says that between 15% and 17% of this year's attendees will come from the tech world.) Another of Crolot's mandates has concerned beefing up Midem's international attendance, and this year will see more than 75 territories involved, including several newcomers - Chile, Cuba, Cyprus, Armenia - which had previously been absent.

"Our five big countries are still the U.S., France, the U.K., Germany and Japan, and Japan has been more and more of a presence, we've seen a 50% increase of Japanese attendees these year," Crolot says. "All of these countries together represent 50% to 55% of our attendance. The rest of the world is the other half of the show. We want to continue to develop that, we want more and more. Because music is much more global, consumers and listeners are much more open to listening to music coming from the other side of the world. miflom Korean artists can break in the U.S. and Sweden and Brazil. If you can reach the listener, their tastes are much more open. …

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