Global brands Pepsi and Converse are to share the stage at next year's MIDEM music conference in Cannes, France.

Geoff Cottrill, chief marketing officer of Converse and Frank Cooper III, SVP chief consumer engagement officer of PepsiCo Americas Beverages, will discuss their respective music strategies at MIDEM's "Images and Brands" conference on Jan. 25.

Rob Stone, co-CEO of the Cornerstone Agency, will chair the debate, which will explore music branding opportunities and the benefits to be wrought from brand sponsorship.

The 44th edition of MIDEM will be held Jan. 24-27 and marks the first time that access to MidemNet -- a digital business conference that traditionally precedes the music confab -- is included in the price of MIDEM registration.

Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien will also give a keynote address at MidemNet in Cannes on Jan. 23 (Billboard.biz, Sept. 14).

The organisers of MIDEM also announced today that Italian soprano Mirella Freni would be awarded with a lifetime achievement at the MIDEM Classical Awards 2010.

Other artists to be honoured at the ceremony -- which takes place on Jan. 26 at the Palais des Festivals, Cannes -- include Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt, who will receive the instrumentalist of the year prize. German baritone Christian Gerhaher and Latvian mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca will be jointly awarded the title of singer of the year while French label Naïve is to be recognised as label of the year.

Last week, it was also announced that Siegfried E. Loch, one of Germany's most successful jazz producers and founder of jazz label Act, would be special guest at an honorary jazz gala held in the Cannes Jazz Club on Jan. 26.

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