Like other music industry conferences, Midem is suffering from lower attendance and sinking sponsorship revenue.
And over the past two or three years, this has definitely been a thinner event – and we’ve been going for a long time.
Sounds like a serious problem. So why not charge bands to fill the gap? Well, that’s exactly what the Midem organizers are doing, sort of like payola for a high-end music conference. So how much? Upwards of 500 or 1,000 euros ($1,377) per hour depending on the venue – that is, on top of all the other transportation, lodging, and associated costs.
The backdrop couldn’t be less fitting. This conference is situated in a super-privileged, over-priced resort community that once made sense for a cash-rich industry. Now, the French Riviera is an awkward backdrop at best. “I love Midem,” blogged Echo Nest CEO Jim Lucchese. “But I have a problem spending a week with industry peers in beautiful Cannes discussing how to build a sustainable music industry for artists and fans, while the bands I’ll be seeing that week pay to play for me and the other attendees.”
Which all begs the question: what exactly will you be hearing? Midem is overflowing with international showcases and features, and lots of bands are getting sponsored. But those lacking lucky connections will have to pony up to play coveted spots like Morrison’s Irish Pub (1,000 euros for an hour) or even a dedicated stage at the Palais de Festivals (500 euros for just 20 minutes). “One concert can change everything,” Midem promised.
Or maybe, “one concert will charge everything…”