What Happened To Midem? – “Things aren’t what they used to be”

Virtual Conferences for the world’s largest music market Midem was unusually quiet. I remember the organized madness that Midem once shared. The LIVE performers scheduled hourly at selected spots within the exhibition hall, the continuous playing of music at a multitude of visitor stands. The Midem sponsored nightly concerts at multiple hotel ballrooms, parties held by different governments just to showcase their best music and musicians. Gone are the days of leaving one fabulous concert, just to walk next door or down the block to another. I miss the abundance of free music given out to attendees just so they may eventually listen, talk about and ultimately purchase quantities for sale in their respective markets.

The experience of discovery is lacking while digital media is supposed to bring the industry closer. Things aren’t what they used to be. Executives at this year’s Midem conference have come up with a unique usage of today’s technology. VIRTUAL CONFERENCING Oh, you say it’s not a NEW idea, well imagine this scenario. You register for the conference online, paying your registration fee digitally. You then troll the online database of the conference attendees and schedule your appointment for a private online meeting time. At your designated time you connect visually and have a one on one meeting digitally with the person you have chosen. During the meeting you share music or video file that be saved or seen and you get immediate feedback.

What I heard during Midem were facts and figures, “My song has 600,000 YouTube views, My Sound cloud has been downloaded 800,000 times, I now have over a million followers on Twitter. What I didn’t hear was the music itself. Sure a few people had MP3 players, jump drives, iPhone with a cloud file, one meeting I took from the UK even had a portable CD player with ear buds. Yet this was the exception NOT the norm. The numbers game was what ruled this conference. Most companies were interested in having 5,000,000 songs on file where anyone could research for the song they wanted or needed. I’m predicting that there will be a change in how the Business of Music selling works very soon. Most people are lazy yet want instant gratification while the successful industry executive works daily in developing lasting relationships and NOT online hype. The day of the Song Plugger is fast approaching, the need for personalize service for publishers, writers, musicians and labels is mandatory.


Will this happen virtually? Only time will tell…

by Allen Johnston

English · This & That

Call To Mobilize

Allen_20JohnstonArticle by Allen L.  Johnston – The Music Specialist

This year I came to a drastic realization that American Urban based artists, publishers, producers; writers, film makers, label owners, magazine owners and entertainment industry entrepreneurs are wholly under rated and under represented on the world market place. During one of my daily walks around the MIDEM convention exhibition area, I ventured in to the Electronic / Urban Village at Midem.  The name suggested that here would be a place where various types of Electronic and Urban based musical products and opportunities would be found. A place where companies from around the world could come and find music, DVD’s, film, magazines and digital deals from the best Urban and Electronic makers in the world. Feeling that the Urban marketplace should be over flowing with product by and about people of color I went looking for the best in the world

What I saw was several different spaces occupied by every nationality BUT people of color.  Blatantly missing were American Hip Hop, R&B, Southern Soul, Blues, Jazz and Gospel companies.  In fact I saw NO REPRESENTATION at all from any Black or Hispanic owned company from the United States in this area.  At least 50% of all the music I saw, and heard during MIDEM came from people of color world wide, but there was less than 5% participation from African Americans conference wide and less than 1% booth participation.  The only Hip Hop artist of any notoriety that I saw making meetings and doing deals was Chuck D, and he brought a group of business people with him as a support factor. American Hip Hop has made major influence around the world I saw Death Row Records from Germany and even though South Africa has licensed Little John’s music thru TVT there was not another Atlanta based rapper or representative at the conference.

Countries from around the world were looking for music and DVD products from American based “Urban” companies yet there were virtually none to be found. The Japanese, South Africans, French, Belgium, Swedes and every English speaking country are all looking for American Hip Hop, Jazz, Gospel, Southern Soul and Reggae, but once again there were NO representatives of any of the major artists nor any revenue generating INDEPENDENT  COMPANIES available that I saw or heard of.

This has to stop now especially while there is a window open for such great financial and cultural reward.

So I am making the first call to mobilize the American Urban based artists, publishers, producers, writers, film makers, label owners, magazine owners and entertainment industry entrepreneurs.  I have started talking with different companies and organizations to acquire a cadre of African American owned entertainment businesses that will be able to represent their products and make deals on an International basis for MIDEM 2014.

Please take a moment and look at your long range goals, if they include a digital market or an International market lets find some time to talk.  Plan your work THEN work your plan.