Michael Gudinski was the star turn as the indies took their turn in the limelight at MIDEM.

In an otherwise low-key day at the conference, the veteran Aussie -- founder and chairman of the Mushroom Group of Companies -- celebrated Australia Day with a keynote address looking back at his 30-plus year career.

With Mushroom encompassing record labels, a publishing company, live promotion, a booking agency and much more besides, Gudinski’s company would seem to be the original 360 degree model. But he insisted: “Forget 360 deals, we call it the 365 deal because we work 365 days a year.”

Gudinski spoke about his associations with everyone from Aussie rocker Jimmy Barnes to Kylie Minogue and also extolled the virtues of his latest discovery, alt-rockers the Temper Trap; finding success in the United Kingdom via Korda Marshall’s Infectious Records and on Glassnote in the United States, where its self-titled debut album is currently No. 6 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums chart.

“You can be as independent as you like but you have to have partners to help you with different areas and that’s exactly what’s happening with the Temper Trap,” he said.

While Gudinksi was keen to extol old school virtues, another panel at the indie summit saw executives debating new ways of making money in the “Searching for New Business Models: Indies Show the Way” panel.

Anglo Management/Southern Friend Records managing director Garry Blackburn extolled the arrival of apps as “a real playground to do new, interesting, stuff.”

“It’s going to be a major earner for us in the next year,” he added.

But Ken Gullic, GM of U.S. indie Rocket Science, bemoaned the “absence of mystique” in an age of social networking.

“I don’t know if Led Zeppelin would have survived in this climate,” he said. “Or if John Lennon would have tweeted constantly. But now artists are expected to vomit up every thought.”

One major label executive who did get a look in was Edgar Berger, CEO of Sony Music G/S/A (Germany/Switzerland/Austria). In a discussion with German concert promoter Marek Lieberberg, founder/CEO of Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur, Berger said major labels had to face up to financial realities.

“We have to modify our business models,” he said. “We now exploit the secondary rights of our artists more strongly and only sign up newcomers these days on contracts that include those ancillary rights.”

But Lieberberg warned the labels against entering the live business, saying they risking losing money while learning the ropes because of live entertainment’s low margins.

“We should agree on fair co-operations with the record industry and together build up new acts,” said Lieberberg. “Unfortunately a lot of record companies lost money by paying too high advances and therefore lost the ability to search and discover new talent.“

Nonetheless, Berger said Sony Music Germany invests millions of Euros annually in breaking new acts.

“That is important, because the core aim of all business models is seeking out and nurturing new, young talent,” he said. “The idea that the majors' job is going to be taken over by the Internet is a myth. Stars and idols are not born on the Internet. The Internet has no department that listens to thousands of band demos and profiles and picks out the most exciting one. It has always been and always will be the job of real people in record companies.”

MIDEM concludes tomorrow (Jan. 27).