International music conference and tradeshow MIDEM has a new director who is taking big steps to, as he puts it, "reinvent" the event. Due to take place in Cannes, France, January 28 to 31, the 2012 edition of the long-running conference will have an increased focus on tech companies -- both music and non-music related -- artists and brands, says Bruno Crolot, director of music markets at Paris-based organizer Reed MIDEM. Crolot replaces Dominique Leguern who stepped down as MIDEM Director following this year's event.
Faced with a decline in attendance, "My mandate when I joined was a blank page and to reinvent MIDEM and that's what we have tried to do in collaboration with our customers," Crolot tells Billboard.biz.
"MIDEM used to be more of a B2B music market with what I would call the regular music industry: the publishers, producers, labels and distributors," continues the former VP of digital sales and business development at Sony Music Entertainment France. "Today we are following the evolution of the music business and we definitely want to target a much broader ecosystem [that includes] brands, technologies and artists."
Key among the new audience targets are tech companies, both music-related and non-music related. Microsoft, Intel, European telecoms giant Orange and Spotify are several companies that Crolot identifies as fitting within the revised demographic, although no guests have currently been confirmed.
The Innovation Factory area will be an onsite zone within Palais des Festivals dedicated exclusively to digital offerings and new technologies. Music branding partners and artists themselves will also feature more heavily at next year's MIDEM, which Crolot says will greater reflect today's fragmented and multi-layered music industry.
"We are not moving away from music. I think we are moving with the music business to a broader eco-system, where music is the glue and where technologies are used by brand, artists or labels to re-engage with audiences on a direct to audience basis," Crolot said. "This eco-system is much wider than the traditional industry so we want to bring to the industry all these new players," he adds citing social media platforms as tech organizations that are not specific music services but bring massive benefit to the music industry.
By expanding MIDEM's audience to incorporate non-music related companies alongside more traditional representatives of the record industry, such as labels, publishers, managers and distributors, Crolot hopes to grow footfall and arrest the steady decline in attendance that MIDEM, like many international music conferences, has suffered in recent years.
The 2011 edition attracted 6,850 delegates and 3,120 companies from 77 countries, according to Reed MIDEM. Attendance in 2010 stood at approx 7,200, according to official MIDEM figures. As recently as 2006, when the confab celebrated its 40th anniversary, reported footfall was close to 10,000 attendees.
Crolot, however, is confident that the changes instigated for next year's MIDEM can reverse the trend. "We have new targets so we have new potential people to bring to MIDEM. We also have a better value to propose to the historical customer, so I think they will come and they will come in higher numbers," he says. "We want to have more people in 2012 than in 2011. That's the goal."
"Even if the industry is not in that terrific shape that she used to be, there is still business to do and if the value is good people will come," adds Crolot. "The testimony we got after the last MIDEM was of people saying: 'This is the right place to go if you want to do business around music.' I strongly believe that this is still true and it will be even more true in the coming years."
Among the Announced MIDEM 2012 Changes:
• Retiring of the MidemNet brand. The tech-focused conference, which was previously a separate event taking place on the Saturday before the main market, will be amalgamated into MIDEM, with technology keynotes, workshops, seminars and conferences now spread throughout the four days.
• Up to 30% fall in pricing. Tickets for music artists and students will be priced at €295.00 ($414.00). Early bird tickets cost €495.00 ($695.00) - the same entrance price as for start ups. The most expensive ticket will cost €795.00 ($1,116.00), down from over €1,000.00 in 2011.
• A new layout within MIDEM home Palais des Festivals. Beginning 2012, the Rivera will form the conference entrance and main hub of activity, replacing the ground floor, which will now contain conference rooms, a VIP club and the MIDEM suite.
• The introduction of an artist-focused Direct-2-Fan Camp, which will host workshops and seminars on D2C marketing and breaking into the wider industry
• A new tech-focused area entitled the Innovation Factory, where established tech companies and start ups will showcase new products and services.
• An increased live music provision, including the launch of a three-night music festival, held at an as-yet-unconfirmed location in Cannes, Jan. 28 to Jan 30. Set to feature name international artists, the event will be open to delegates and ticket-holding members of the public.