Here's Why You Should Attend MIDEM: An interview with Marc Pelletier, Reed MIDEM's North American Director of Sales and Business
MIDEM (Marché International du Disque et de l'Edition Musicale) is the leading international business event for the music ecosystem. Established in 1967, MIDEM is considered to be the world’s longest running, most successful international music industry conference. It’s billed as “the place where music makers, cutting-edge technologies, brands and talents come together under one roof to source, sell and sign new music, digital solutions and innovative ideas.” (MIDEM website)
Last year's event welcomed over 6,150 participants from 75 countries – including 39 national pavilions and 185 journalists. Besides offering the chance to network and interact with 1,236 exhibiting companies and 120 conferences, MIDEM 2014 featured 46 concerts from 187 artists across 6 venues. (MIDEM website)
CIMA, and the Canada Stand, has a long history with MIDEM – having attended for over 30 years! In the past four years, Canada Stand delegates have reported 945 confirmed and potential deals worth close to $22 million, along with nearly 2,700 meetings and 2,918 new business contacts – spanning publishers, distributors, licensing reps, touring agencies and many, many, more. The potential impact that MIDEM can have on your business is staggering!
Navigating MIDEM, particularly as a first time attendee, requires well-thought out preparation and a strategy in order to make the most of what this opportunity can offer. On Monday afternoon in Toronto, we held a presentation, information panel and networking reception called “Tools of the Trade: FOCUS ON MIDEM 2015 – The Gateway to International Markets”. It featured a special presentation by Reed MIDEM’s North American Director of Sales and Business, Marc Pelletier – in addition to featuring panelists such as Andy Crosbie (Sparks Music), Awesome Awan (Awesome Producions/Ultra Music Canada), Christian Hurst (Co Pilot), and J.Spencer Mussellam (Believe Digital Canada). The panel was designed to give an overview of all things MIDEM - a one-stop shop on how to navigate MIDEM and make the most of your attendance.
If you missed out on this excellent and informative panel, don’t fret! We sat down for a chat with Reed MIDEM’s Marc Pelletier to discuss why MIDEM continues to be the number one international music conference for many independent Canadian companies.
CIMA: Hi Marc, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us today. Can you tell me a little bit about what you do at Reed MIDEM?
Marc Pelletier: I’m the North American Sales Director at Reed MIDEM. We [Reed MIDEM] handle events in real estate, TV markets and music markets and I focus on the music markets. So basically, anyone coming to MIDEM from Canada or the United States, whether its individual registration, an exhibitor coming through a pavilion, an advertiser, a sponsor – they’re going through the North American office based in New York. [Note - In CIMA's case, Marc coordinates the Canada Stand process with CIMA's Tradeshows Coordinator, Kathy Hahn].
CIMA: In your opinion, what makes MIDEM the most successful and longest running music industry conference?
Marc: That’s a great question. I mean, being international is what makes it so special, and from the beginning that was always the idea the behind it - to gather everyone in one place for 4 days when travelling wasn’t as easy. You know, the panel talked about different methods of communication, like the fax machine, and even prior to that, so that’s where it started and that’s kind of where it continues to be. Face-to-face conversation is still so important. MIDEM is really a place where people come prepared to make deals and that is still very much a face-to-face type of experience. Networking is again something where you need to be there. Having over 75 countries at MIDEM – that’s the real value proposition. Having everyone on site for 4 days, in that state of mind, you can get a lot of work done, even in this day in age, so it remains key.
CIMA: That segues nicely into my next question. What differentiates MIDEM from the other options for international conferences?
Marc: Yeah, so I mean there are a couple of things. First, we just talked about the international aspect. In addition to the 75 countries, over 200 media from all over the world, so it’s very well covered locally. This means that if you’re doing a deal at MIDEM, you can get coverage in a lot of different countries all in one shot. The other thing is that it’s still very much a business-to-business market, so where at some other events there’s more live music or more extracurricular activities, at MIDEM, the business and deal-making is still very much the focus. So that, combined with the international aspects we discussed earlier, differentiates it today.
CIMA: I know MIDEM changed its dates this year from January to June. How do you think that will change the MIDEM experience?
Marc: Well, we’ll see. But the idea is definitely to be able to leverage the venue, the Palais des Festivals, and everything around it in a summer setting. Our feeling was that in June, Cannes is really the creative capital of the world. You’ve got the Cannes Film Festival, and after that you have Cannes Lion – so putting MIDEM right in the middle of those events brings together the right people at the right time. The city itself is very vibrant, they’re very welcoming of different creative industries, so we think we’ll have different activities outside. The Palais is beautiful, but we want to spend some additional time outside. While we don’t have a ton of live music, compared to other events, we do value it very much. Being in the summer will allow us to explore some different opportunities.
CIMA: How do you think MIDEM can help a Canadian independent music company?
Marc: It depends on what you’re specifically looking for, but we heard some of the success stories earlier today. If you’re looking to develop those relationships internationally, having everyone in the same space for 4 days is a great way to do that. Sometimes, even being at MIDEM, you’re meeting people from Canada that you don’t have a chance to lock down while you’re in Canada. Knowing that you’re there, looking to make deals, you can make a splash with that, build up your credibility and then when you come back to your local market, you’re already one step ahead.
CIMA: So what kinds of opportunities are available at MIDEM? Are they mostly licensing deals, touring, etc.?
Marc: Licensing is still very much the key, but again it depends on where you’re coming from. There are synch deals, and there are lots of deals to be made with technology companies who are looking for legal ways to partner with the music industry and likewise, musicians and labels are looking for more exposure. So, technology is a big angle as well.
CIMA: We get a lot of inquiries from members who are potentially interested in attending MIDEM. What would you say to a company whose debating attending for the first time and they’re on the fence about it?
Marc: I’d ask: “where are you in your roadmap and are you in a position where you feel like international is a good step for you, a good next step”. Certainly, we don’t encourage people to come to MIDEM if we don’t think they’re ready for it themselves, and we don’t think that they’re going to get the necessary return on investment. However, if you’re at a place in your career where you feel like you’re ready for that next level, then MIDEM’s the place to be on an international scale. There’s no other market like it - it’s really a toolkit, and it gives you all the tools you need to succeed but it’s up to you to use them when you’re there.
CIMA: I just have one more question for you. How should first time attendees prepare for making the most out of MIDEM?
Marc: So that’s a great question and probably one of the most important questions. There are a couple of things. The first thing is that we have an online database, which is called the MIDEM Library on our website, and every time someone registers, they’re added to the library and after that, they can fill in contact information and other key information. You can use that tool to see whose attending and then do your own independent research, or you can contact people directly through the MIDEM library. So both of those things are essential to building your MIDEM strategy: figuring out whose there and how to get in touch with them. That’s probably the most important thing. And once you’re there: just network, network, network. Talk to people, keep an open mind, it’s long hours and it can be exhausting but it’s only 4 days. You’ve got to try to cram it in, cause you never know who you’re going to meet. People are in a mindset to make deals and are open to learning and discovering new things. So, talk to as many people even if there may be nothing in it for you, because next thing you know, they might introduce you to someone else where there’s a huge opportunity. So to summarize: be prepared, do your research ahead of time, and once you’re there just try to talk to as many people as you can.
Ready to register? http://fluidsurveys.com/surveys/cima/midem-2015-registration/
If you are interested in signing up, or have questions about MIDEM, please contact CIMA’s Tradeshows Coordinator, Kathy Hahn, at 416-285-3152 extension 227 / email@example.com.