What’s Midem? An Opportunity? Or a Broken Record?

Well, it all depends. Are you looking for a job? Or are you looking for the answers or insights into the future of the music industry?

What are you in it for? We all know the music industry is on a decline, but so what? As with any other industry, there are periods of growth and periods of decline. We just happen to be at the nadir of what once was a prosperous and fruitful business. Despite the fact that album sales have plummeted since the start of the new millennium, music and music technology has never been so awesome (minus the garbage on the pop stations). We are at the very beginning of what will be the greatest revolution art and business has ever seen. Thanks to, of course, the interwebs.

YES. We have heard it time and time again, but it’s really true and I don’t think the general public really has an idea of what it means…yet. That’s why Midem was such an awe inspiring experience for me because, before seeing first hand what the cleverest of geeks and freaks are developing, I really had no idea the potential social media content had. Take for instance a new app developed for sharing media content directly to fans: LISNR (http://www.lisnr.com). This past summer, LISNR teamed up with Jay Z’s new label venture, Roc Nation, to engage J Cole Fans into a private listening parties at special locations, to which its coordinates could only be revealed upon download (see http://bit.ly/1byxCM3 for more info). What this app allows is for the artist to directly engage with their fans in the real world. CEO/Co-Founder, Rodney Williams (no relation to the NFL punter of the same name), pitched his business model to the panel at the Innovation Factory. You could tell his idea was too far ahead of its time by the panel’s perplexed looks and their continued scrutiny on LISNR’s concept. It’s a simple concept, actually. Nonetheless, the young CEO was given a very hard time. He wore a heavy and exasperated expression when I met him, yet, still delighted to hear someone believed in his idea.

All that said, I can understand why others experience at Midem may not have been shaped up to be what they expected. Businesses represented at the conference were one of the following: either too big a player to be approached, or to small a contender to be considered seriously. Not much in between. The atmosphere was especially competitive for the young and hopefuls of tomorrow. Well…what did you expect? Let me tell you that I did not go to Cannes to just party, although I did much of that. What I went was for connections, and connections I made! Here is my take on the atmosphere of the music business: its play or be played, conquer or be conquered, hunt or be hunted. I don’t understand why we just can’t be open about this… we all know it to be true, and if you deny this then you’re just a lie. So I met the challenge of Midem with a bold confidence, though I was nervous nearly every day there.

What I got out of it wasn’t a job or internship, but a chance and chance is something most people take for granted in this world. I came to Midem and took a shot at the stars, the big players. My approach is fast and unyielding, deft and secure. That makes impressions, what gets you the job you want is your grit and audacity. Who am I? A lowly student, to approach executives and tell them to their face that I can do just as good a job as them if given the chance. Yeah, that’s me. I won’t get into detail here of who I met and what happened, but I can tell you that I capitalized in all my interactions.

Tomorrow’s leaders are made today. Opportunity is what you make of it, its all just your perspective. Sure, many of the panels discussed the same crisis and the same solution. But read between the lines, and you can see that much more was at work and what you got from it was based upon your ability to understand the personality of the music business, not its mechanics. I had a great time at Midem, and I think I’ve made a great impression because of my attitude, I hope that the people reading can relate. Thank you.

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