For as much as the music industry is moving towards digital, meeting and greeting at MIDEM is still all about exchanging physical goods in the form of paper business cards. One way to gauge a company's buzz factor at the conference is in what kind of card-related discussion goes on after an exchange.

One could say that the wireless future of beaming info between iPhones still hasn't caught on because the music biz is clinging to as many old models as it can; but just like an album cover, the physical package can say a lot.

Streaming company Soundcloud, for example, has cards that put the personal factor front and center -- the front is plain white with nothing but the cardholder's first name in bold, orange capital letters above the URL of the person's Soundcloud profile page. Gracenote's tomato-red cards with rounded corners increase the odds that you'll be reminded of the company every other time you go for your CVS ExtraCare card. Warner Music Group's card is as modular and corporate as ever. The evolution of Google is evident when collecting the cards of multiple execs from the company -- the logo on longer-timers' cards is flat, bright and primary-colored; the logo on newer cards is in a raised typeface with a drop shadow and a decidedly more nuanced and ominous color scheme. Even Billboard's new cards incorporate a serif font for the first time in memory, reflecting the integration of our parent company Prometheus Global Media's new, more classical branding.

As creative start-ups stake their ground in the business, we expect that attention to this small but important physical first impression will only increase-and the company that finds a way to link their paper cards wirelessly to Gmail contacts will come out on top.