Live From MIDEM: Day 1 and 2

U2 manager Paul McGuiness at MIDEM.

Belmont University professor Don Cusic reports exclusively for MusicRow from MIDEM in Cannes.

Saturday, Jan. 28
The 2012 MIDEM Conference opened on a rainy, chilly day in Cannes, France on Saturday, Jan. 28, offering attendees from across the globe a chance to learn about digital music technology.

The MIDEM Academy presented “How To Get The Most Out of Your Location Marketing” by Neil Cartwright, head of Digital Media Junction in the U.K. Cartwright noted that all mobile phones of the future—and many in the present—have GPS capabilities. This allows marketers to follow users wherever they go, profiling them along the way and resulting in a “take the shop to the customer” mentality to drive purchases.

Cell phone GPS leads to “checking in” at restaurants, stores, concerts and wherever else users go. This allows marketers, particularly music marketers, to “know” consumers much better and appeal to them.

A quite interesting seminar on “Marketing—Learn From Your Own Social Media Mistakes” was given by Ariel Hyatt with Cyber PR. According to Hyatt, of all the income generated by an artist from social media, 30% comes from email, 14% from Google, 18% from “other,” 2% from Facebook, 1% from Wikipedia, and 1% from Twitter.

Hyatt noted that 48% of young people get their news via Facebook, which means they’re not “searching,” but are taking what is fed to them. The over-35 demographic represents 30% of Facebook users, and “older” consumers are increasingly logging on, especially grandparents so they can post pictures of their grandchildren.

Hyatt said the biggest mistake artists make on social media is a constant barrage of “hey check me out” and “download this.” She said that consumers want more personal interaction and artists should engage fans before trying to sell to them. For Twitter users, she explained the importance of having a photo and bio on their profiles.

Sunday, Jan. 29
On Sunday, Jan. 29 there were plenty of meetings, socializing, showcases, and interesting seminars.

The “Commerce of Chaos: Why Copyright Still Matters Online” was a session with an impressive line-up including U2 manager Paul McGuinness, author Robert Levine, entertainment attorney Pierre-Marie Bouvery, and Qobuz president Yves Riesel.

Levine explained that last year Google made more than all the major labels combined. Furthermore, the tech companies displayed their power with the recent stamping out of the SOPA and PIPA bills. When it came to lobbying, Levine cited that the MPAA and RIAA spent about $2 million total to buoy the bill, while Google spent $11 million to fight it.

Levine further noted the power of Google which seems to go unnoticed by the public, who see the tech giant as simply a way to find things on the internet quickly and “for free.”

McGuinness noted that “the vast majority of content on the internet is not paid for. Journalists should know this because they aren’t getting paid, either. Further, you can’t rely on politicians who are afraid of being unpopular…Never underestimate the power of a monopoly to defend itself.”

He added that with all the music being played online, the performing rights organizations should be experiencing a “golden age,” but “they have not moved with the times.”

The seminar “Building Your Artist Brand as a Business” included an interview with legendary attorney Joel Katz. Spinning tales from his career, the born raconteur could have enthralled the audience for the entire day with stories about celeb clients ranging from Michael Jackson to Justin Timberlake.

Katz noted that “branding is finding your true authentic self” and used his long association with Jimmy Buffett as an example. The idea of Margaritaville was dreamed up as a way to expand Buffett’s career. Irving Azoff first paired the attorney and client. Katz recalled, Buffett showed up two hours late for their first meeting just to say, “Irving said you’re great, so just take care of everything, I’m going surfing.”

Today Buffett’s business includes 36 Margaritaville restaurants, a clothing company, chicken company, and merchandise ranging from flip-flops to blenders. And the greatest benefit is that it doesn’t compromise Buffett as an artist.

Katz noted that branding is “about culture. Buffett’s fans want to live in Margaritaville. It’s a lifestyle they want to lead and the products imitate the brand.”

Katz also shared the unique situation with branding hit artist/actor Timberlake. Actors are hard to brand, “because they play different roles, so the fans don’t know who they really are.” Still, Timberlake has his name on barbecue, tequila and clothing lines.

Read more of Cusic’s account tomorrow.

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About the Author

Don Cusic is Professor of Music Business at Belmont University. He has authored 18 books, including his most recent “Discovering Country Music.”

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