MIDEM Tries To Step Ahead

Seeing this year’s delegate numbers drop 12 percent from 9,100 to “around 8,000,” MIDEM appears to be hoping that focusing on the music industry’s future is the way to reverse the trend.

Like Popkomm in Germany, the annual French gathering has failed to pull in enough interest from the live sector to compensate for the falling number of record company delegates caused by various cutbacks and mergers.

Unlike the Berlin event, which was canceled due to lack of interest but hopes to return in 2010, MIDEM director Dominique Leguern has opted battle on against falling numbers – although she was also quick to say she doesn’t expect next February’s numbers will be any higher than this year.

She says attendance held up well in all sectors apart from the CD business, but it seems they didn’t hold up well enough to compensate for a massive fall in that sector.

MIDEM looks to be aiming at whatever the business intends to do about the revenue streams being lost from that sector, hoping that those involved in creating and managing new revenue streams will be the delegates of the future.

Leguern’s approach to spreading MIDEM’s target market appears based on her belief that the music industry is “continually reinventing itself and so innovation is essential.”

Reed Exhibitions, which runs MIDEM, hasn’t put out any figures on how many music biz execs have already committed to be in the south of France in February, but Nov. 16 it put out what it called a “one-off flash-offer” that said delegates could save euro 200 ($ 299) by registering before midnight on the 17th. It cut the price from euro 775 to euro 575, although presumanly it went back up to euro 775 on the 18th.

One of the keynote speakers will be MySpace chief exec Owen Van Natta, who will outline the platform’s vision of the future as a next generation content provider.

It clearly believes in further expansion into music streaming, as the Wall Street Journal says it’s already in talks to acquire the rival Imeem streaming service.

Prior to his time at MySpace, Van Natta served as chief exec at Project Playlist and before that as chief revenue officer and vice-president of operations for Facebook.

Apart from weaning fans away from free downloads and persuading them to pay for them, it seems other revenue streams might come from the marketing of baseball boots and cola.

Geoff Cottrill, chief marketing officer for Converse and PepsiCo Americas Beverages’ chief consumer engagement officer Frank Cooper III will discuss their respective music strategies and hopefully provide valuable insight into the new business models that bring together brands and music.

Aussie promoter Michael Gudinski, founder and chairman of the Australian Mushroom Group of Companies, will be a keynote speaker at MIDEM’s “International Indie Summit.”

The 44th edition of MIDEM will be in Cannes, France, Jan. 24-27.