The Midem music trade fair is the world’s foremost event of its kind. It has been held annually at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes since 1967, with the exception of an online edition in 2020. It provides a forum for discussing business and legal issues, and showcasing new artists, musical trends and music-related products. Most of all, it’s where the business comes to build contacts and do deals.
Although major music labels and other corporate actors are present at MIDEM, it has become the place for producers and mid-sized labels do business. Many of the conferences, workshops and keynotes revolve around helping the indies negotiate a very difficult international market that nonetheless still has potential.
MIDEM is attended by between 5-6,000 delegates from several thousand companies and hundreds of journalists, from around 75 countries. Although attendees come from all over the world, those from Western Europe (67%) and North America (22%) clearly dominate.
MIDEM also acts as a venue for several awards ceremonies. It now also includes Midemlab, an event devoted to monetizing music in the digital age. It has become a showcase for music tech innovations. Spotify and SoundCloud first met the worldwide business here. Other notable subsections include the Midem Artist Accelerator and International Midem Awards.
The next MIDEM will take place from June 1 to 4 2021, at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, Cannes, France. Standard prices start at EUR485 (early bird). NOTE: artists, young labels and start-ups benefit from even better rates!
Who should attend MIDEM?
The core attraction of MIDEM is that it brings together just about every sector of the music and content businesses. Most are obviously from recorded music, represented by labels and distributors. But it also features a music publishers’ summit and conferences covering live music, music and brands, management, publishing, A&R and a very strong section covering the digital sphere. In addition to launching many musical careers, MIDEM has launched many innovative service companies and entrepreneurs such as SoundCloud and Spotify. The big deals are often born here (although not necessarily signed on the spot). The MIDEM database offers match-making opportunities throughout the year.
So just about every sector involved in music will find ideas and partners. However, it remains an investment in terms of time and money (remember to follow Cannes or Bust’s advice).
There is no better place to get an idea of what will happen in the markets over the coming year or so. Unless you can reduce costs by booking early and staying locally, it is not recommended for bands or artists at the start of their career. To make the best use of MIDEM, it is advisable to already have some traction, such as regular gigs and releases, or for businesses, very clear ideas and the resources to follow through on them. Typically, MIDEM can bring you access to the largest players in each country.
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UPDATE: the early bird rate for MIDEM 2020 closed in early February last year. If you are thinking of attending in 2021, start budgeting and planning early in time to benefit from the special rate. Don’t forget to check if you qualify for one of the special rates (performer, student, first-timer, etc).