CANNES, France -- Startup companies, investors, and interested attendees jammed the MidemNet Lounge here for three days to get a look the emerging companies shaping the digital music future. 150 startup companies were represented at the event, according to Midem entertainment division director Anne De Kerckhove, and 30 of them presented across three different categories during the MidemNet Labs start-up competition series -- twice as many as last year.
The event is broken down into three categories -- mobile, business to business, and business to consumer -- and features pitch sessions from each of the ten startups hand-picked by organizers to present before a panel of judges and attendees, with one from each category taking home the top prize.
And this year's winners are...
Mobile Winner: Jammbox
The Australian startup founded by former Flow Dynamics recording artist David McKinney made headlines earlier in the month with an iPad music discovery app called Discovr. Given the relative dearth of music-related iPad apps related to music discovery, Discovr became an instant critical hit and wound up as one of Apple's featured apps for the device. But the company revealed its flagship service will be a personalized iPad music mag called Jammbox Magazine that will go live in the coming weeks. The app works by analyzing users iTunes libraries (both stored tracks and listening history) and then compiles a digital magazine based on the artists and genres each user shows a propensity for. The Discovr app is part of that plan (adding new pages to the magazine based on which new artists users find through the app). It also can learn from Facebook and Last.fm activity as well, if users like. Content is acquired from online news sources, photos, videos and more than 1,2000 other sources. It uses technology from the Echo Nest, 7Digital, and what McKinney calls a "massive" data mining operation it built and maintains itself.
B2B Winner: Next Big Sound
Billboard is more than familiar with Next Big Sound. The Boulder, CO-based data tracking and analytics company powers our Billboard 50 chart, was featured as one of Billboard's top 10 music startups of last year, and founder Alex White was listed in our 30 Under 30 special report. The company's new premium service allows labels, managers, and other clients to pay for more detailed reports on artist activity online at any given time--tracking things like Twitter mentions, Facebook likes, song streams, blog posts. This was White's first time introducing the company to the international music community.
B2C Winner: Shuffler.fm
The music blog aggregator was the clear winner in this category, with all the judges clearly impressed with how the company creates streaming music stations based on music hosted on more than 100 top music blogs worldwide. Users simply pick the genre they're interested in and let the service do the rest. As each song streams, it shows the blog hosting it. New features include more B2B elements, allowing artists, for instance, to submit their music to any of the aggregated blogs that are filtered by genre with just one upload. Another new feature is an ad network allowing brands to target multiple blogs, again by genre, with the same ad, or even place the ad on any blog playing a song by a particular band.
But the startup activity was not limited to just the Labs competition. Some startups -- such as GigWiz and Zooz -- took advantage of MIDEM to make big announcements; others, like RootMusic and Fanity, roamed the show floor and cocktail parties.
GigWiz is a direct-to-fan online ticketing service out of the UK that emerged from beta during MIDEM and announcing agreements with UK promoters like FeedMe Music, HotVox, and Substance Gigs.
Zooz meanwhile introduced its beta music remix service via its new website. The service allows users mash up music from any tracks in their library. CEO Scott Geller says no licensing is needed, since the music created is not shared or distributed off the user's drive (at least not by the service) but expect some legal challenges soon as the issue of music licensing for mashups comes to a head this year.