By Josanne Leonard
The International Indie Music Summit which took place for the third time at MIDEM went by largely unnoticed by
If numbers are any indication of what is to come, then things look promising for the firms and professionals who did attend. But there was much to be gained from attending some of the sessions and networking with
Independent music companies from all continents, especially those in emerging markets, to glean how some of the challenges facing
Sitting in as a Caribbean observer at the Board meeting of the Worldwide Independent Music Network
(WIN) and other indie music sessions, the reality of how much ' education' is needed in the
I had not been to Midem for over ten years since I believe these forums are only as useful as we are prepared for them. While individuals have been able to do some business successfully, the
In my usual optimistic fashion, I planned to mix business with more business - record video footage for post Midem programmes, compile interviews with keynote speakers and industry gurus for an upcoming regional TV series on the entertainment business, as well as send capsule reports back home. Well very little of this plan materialised due largely to a luke-warm interest in these issues hence insufficient financial support. I learned too that despite our attempts at, and our loud pronouncements about a Caribbean Single Market, the funding provided by the European Union/Government of Jamaica Private Sector Development Programme (PSDP) administered through JAMPRO and which was used to assist Jamaican firms going to Midem, disqualified me as a professional working with a Jamaican firm since I was categorised as a 'foreigner'. Not only did this result in a serious dent in my pocket book, it hurt my
Nevertheless, fraught as it was with challenges and disappointment, once I got to
At MidemNet, as has been from its inception, the Telecom and technology heavyweights came to strut their stuff and mark their turf and this year was no different...with one big exception. The Indie Music community had mobilised and stamped its presence long before Midem 2007 with a campaign that began three years ago in the deal-making halls of
Another significant outcome emerging from the indie music camp was the launch of Merlin, the world's first global rights-licensing agency for the independent sector. Alison Wenham, President of the Worldwide Independent Music Network (WIN) said Merlin is the culmination of several years of work and is designed to be a vehicle for licensors and licensees alike. In an interview with Midem Magazine, she expressed optimism that independents globally and as members of WIN would now be able to achieve parity with each other and with the majors when it comes to gaining a fair share of the revenues now being generated by the new business models. The day after it was launched, Merlin was able to clinch its first international deal with the US based digital-music service provider Snocap. Interestingly, on January 30, reggae superstar Shaggy who reclaimed his freedom at Midem, posted an announcement on his myspace page that his new single "Church Heathen" was available through Snocap.
As stated before, Midem like other trade shows are useful if there is a plan. But they are also expensive and prohibitive for most of the small companies, artists and mom-and-pop type enterprises operating in our creative sectors. So why then do we make these treks as individual islands? All over the Palais des Festivals, country stands and pavilions housed multiple entertainment interests. The Brits at Midem, the Germans at Midem, all operating under one banner while pursuing their individual business interests. Why not then a
For me, the highpoint of Midem 2007 was the sheer magic of what makes this business…not the fancy gizmos and speculation about the next big thing to come...it was the music and in particular the mix of Superstar Shaggy and the eager and talented young artists like Etana and Tessane at the 'Sounds of Jamaica' concert. The women ran things! Yes, the venue was much too small given that Shaggy was the headliner! They came in their numbers and could not get in so someone dropped the ball there big time since it was a wonderful opportunity for the new artists to be exposed. And yes, a Trini found me in the heat of the palais room that had been transformed into a mix between a dancehall and a Shaggy unplugged.
For me, Life without music is not one I can easily contemplate, so when all is said and done, I give thanks for the people who bless us with good music!