MIDEM 2012

Hello and welcome to Jari’s report on MIDEM 2012 from Cannes, France. MIDEM is the most important international trade fair for the music business. The event was organised earlier this week for the 46th time.

Facebook’s importance for music biz grows

Facebook has been one of the most interesting platforms for music business since September 2011 when Facebook announced new co-operation relationships with several digital content providers such as the music streaming service Spotify. At MIDEM Dan Rose, VP of Partnerships for Facebook, revealed that over 5 billion songs have been shared on the social networking platform during the past five months or so. Rose also stated that ‘frictionless’ sharing of songs could lead to a page full of nothing but “here’s what your friend listened to” – which is why Facebook is aiming to customize “the right stories to the right people at the right time”.

The value of an artist as a brand

One of the leading themes of MIDEM 2012 was the notion that artists are no longer just musicians or songwriters but also identifiable brands. This aspect has become very important from the point of view of the business strategy options as the revenue from licensing and direct-to-fan (D2F) sales constitute a growing share of artists’ income. This has also brought into the market a multitude of various (and especially online) business tools and platforms for artists who want to control directly their own business.

Artist brands can also be used to update the global megabrands such as Coca-Cola, which is one of the main sponsors of the London Olympic Games 2012. At MIDEM Coca-Cola presented an innovative co-operation project with highly successful artist/producer/DJ Mark Ronson. He has created the Coca-Cola theme song of the event by using the various sounds created by athletes from all over the world, and dressed the sounds up into a form of modern London style dance beat song.

Get off My Cloud

One of the key words of this year’s MIDEM was cloud even though each person involved in cloud business seemed to have a version of their own of the definition of the concept. The debates concerning the new and various kinds of cloud-based music services highlighted the hopes and the concerns of the various stakeholders.

The right owners stated that, for the time being, some of the main challenges caused by the cloud are illegal material in the services which include scan & match functions, the relation between content lockers and private copying levies, and the preservation of the value of the content.

The service providers told that there is still work to be done in order to enable smooth and flexible licensing processes for new kind of cloud services. The velocity of the development of the cloud technologies was agreed to be a common challenge for all parties in cloud business.

EU Legal Framework for the Collective Administration of Copyrights

During the past few years EU Commission has been preparing the legal framework for the collective administration of copyrights. At MIDEM Ms. Kerstin Jorna, Deputy Head of Cabinet of European Commissioner Michel Barnier, affirmed that Commission intents to present its suggestion for the framework in April 2012. It will then start working in September 2012 on revising the guidelines for enforcement.

European collecting societies hope that the future legal framework would create the same general conditions for societies for the administration of copyrights among societies, and simplify the cross-border administration of rights in the online area.

CEO of German collecting society GEMA, Dr. Harald Heker, stated during the discussion that a European initiative is necessary in order to create sound legal protection for co-operations between societies that administer copyrights, and to ensure the same general conditions for fair competition. Kenth Muldin, CEO of Sweden’s STIM, stressed that in terms of cultural diversity smaller and medium-sized societies are very dependent upon new kind of co-operations.

Jari Muikku has attented MIDEM regularly since 1990.

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