Rub your hands with glee, the music industry is heading to Cannes for it’s annual chin-wag
It’s a given that some juicy lines will be rolled out when Tidal’s Vania Schlogel steps up to defend the service
Here are next week’s music business headlines. As you read this, the international music industry’s cowboys, ranchers, farmers, chancers, boy wonders, grey hairs and troopers are arriving in Cannes for the annual MIDEM conference.
Until now, MIDEM was the January jolly which gave the music industry’s senior figures and high rollers an excuse to head to the south of France for a few days’ winter break.
This year, though, the festival has moved to June and this seems to have energised the conference. Indeed, much of the programming seems to have made an effort to avoid the usual dull, fare which has become the norm at many conferences of this ilk.
One reason for this may be that MIDEM is not really a showcase festival. Other gatherings have put live music, and especially showcase opportunities for new acts, at the top of the agenda, to the detriment of the conference programming. But the reverse is true in Cannes where the focus is very much on keynote presentations, grandstanding interviews and meaty panel discussions.
That said, MIDEM does remain a favoured place for senior players to speak their mind and let off some steam. It was where former U2 manager Paul McGuinness went to take a load off with his views on Google, piracy and ISPs in 2008. And just in case no one heard him, McGuinness spoke again in 2012.
Perhaps we’ll hear Sony Music boss Doug Morris speak with similar candour this weekend. There are quite a few interesting matters which have cropped up of late regarding Morris, like his reported $17 million salary.
He’s a man who has been around the houses when it comes to labels and is due to talk about the lessons he has learned during his career. Here’s hoping he brings a map outlining where some of the bodies are buried and that his interviewer does some poking and prodding.
We can expect Morris to talk about the great streaming wars currently dominating the discourse. Indeed, it’s a given that some juicy lines will be rolled out when Tidal’s Vania Schlogel steps up to defend the service later today.
Deezer boss Hans-Holger Albrecht is also scheduled to talk and he’s down to cover the free side of the house when it comes to streaming. There’s also a keynote due from Soundcloud founder Alexander Ljung, who will likely address recent speculation around the service’s proposed move to a subscription model.
While MIDEM is happy to largely leave the live music industry to its own devices, there’s a berth nonetheless for veteran, maverick promoter Harvey Goldsmith. Expect him to elaborate on his recent views about how the death of the music festival is nigh as we run out of new headliners capable of drawing big crowds.
We really should have left our guy Donald Clarke out in the south of France for another few weeks to cover it.
YOU’VE GOT TO HEAR THIS
Nozinja Nozinja Lodge (Warp) Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon is not the only musician with a mobile phone retail past. South Africa’s Richard Mthethwa left the world of phone repair to kick out the jams with highpowered Shangaan Electro. Debut album Nozinja Lodge is brimming with souped-up and hot-wired folk, kwaito and South African house sounds.
Gavin Bryars is coming to town. The composer of Jesus Blood Never Saved Me Yet, The Sinking of the Titanic and other works appears in conversation tomorrow (Saturday June 6th, 3.30pm) at IMMA in Dublin as part of the Summer Rising festival. The composer will be will be talking about his own work in relation to German artist Etel Adnan, whose oil paintings are on show at the gallery at present.