MIDEM: Champagne, Gorillaz and Scooter Braun

Walking the streets of Cannes at 2.00am, locked out of my Airbnb, free bar gone, dignity even further gone, it’s easy to forget that I am supposed to be at a networking event. [Actually, I think you’ll find you’ve nailed it in one! – Ed]

Fifteeen hours earlier I arrive at the first day of MIDEM; a conglomeration of high end music professionals, and low end music professionals hoping to become high end music professionals. It takes some time to decide which panels are worth attending. Naturally, I am drawn towards the name ‘Cash Factory’ but never before has my ignorance of the word figurative been so apparent. Even so, through the swathes of talks on topics ranging from metadata to metadata to metadata I finally find myself hearing about Gorillaz work with augmented reality. Insightful, ground-breaking, inspiring; and then the free champagne arrives and everything goes a little hazy.

Four hours later I’m on the beach, having just left a cocktail party where I was buried under a mountain of hastily thrust business cards (I do not need a fucking data analyst!). I’m waiting in line for the free bar while ‘the next big thing’ comes and goes from the stage. Is it crushing or motivating to perform at MIDEM? Good exposure? Or a large gig to a tumultuous mass of drunkards in suits more interested in Smart Technology and demographics than the music right in front of them? I hear one of the performers was on Britain’s Got Talent… So that’s my attention lost.

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The next day: panels are watched, people are met, business cards are given, drinks are had, bands are watched (ish), which is just fine… But with Day Three comes a panel called ‘Metal: The Lost Tribe’. Finally! All you suckers can talk about your metadata, I’m off to ‘Worldwide Village’ for the good stuff.

I hear one of the performers was on Britain’s Got Talent… So that’s my attention lost.

Anxious not to miss it, I arrive in plenty of time to catch the preceding two panels. One, a discussion with an indie band (who are not metal so WHO CARES); the other, a panel in which a lady describes the new data protection laws as ‘difficult’ because companies now have to care about people’s privacy… as if I don’t already feel like I am in a pit of vipers. Nonetheless, the Metal panel begins: two founders of independent labels (Season Of Mist and Silent Cult) and the director of marketing from Epitaph discussing all the various niches, fanbases and global similarities and differences between every strain of metal around the world. It’s not often metal is associated with solace, but in this underground oasis, locked in from the desert of stuffed up shirts, I feel so very content. (‘Cash factory’ my foot, this is where the good stuff is.) The afternoon carries on splendidly with a key note from Scooter Braun. Some say the biggest manager in the industry right now should have shared more insights. I say maybe a good suit and charm really is all there is to it. Then again, he was on at 5.30pm and the champagne had started at 4.00pm so what do I know?

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Either way, a packed out room for Scooter, not so much for the CEO of Napster, a man with the charisma of an empty room. At least he was in good company by the end of his talk.

Things get better as the evening moves on when I am introduced to Client Liaison [that’s a band, right? Not another panel? – Ed]. Non-existent over here perhaps, but according to my Aussie companions they sell out everywhere across Australia. Five minutes into their set, it’s not hard to see why. Picture Pet Shop Boys, imagine they have stage presence to match the songs [Oi! – PSB-loving Ed], put the front man in a transparent dress and chuck in a cover of ‘Another Brick In The Wall’.

Client Liaison MIDEM

Maybe this would make for a fantastic finale, but the night doesn’t end quite yet. For the third night in a row; I find myself walking the streets of Cannes at 2.00am, locked out of my Airbnb, free bar gone, dignity even further gone.

At least it gave me something to write about.

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