Attendance at MIDEM and MidemNet 2009 fell to around 8,000 participants, according to conference organizers.

That represents a fall of around 12% on 2008's total of 9,100 and, while some delegates may have anticipated a steeper decline after a relatively quiet 5 days on the Croisette, MIDEM director Dominique Leguern said attendance had held up well in all sectors apart from the CD business, despite the impact of the wider economic recession.

Attendance by physical distribution companies, CD manufacturers and record labels was down, according to Leguern who added: "It's not a music industry crisis, it's a CD crisis."

Leguern said they would consider amalgamating MIDEM with its digital music sister event MidemNet at future conferences. She did not rule out such a move for 2010, but said logistical difficulties with the availability of conference space were an issue.

"At the moment, more people ask us to keep it as it is than change it," she added.

Leguern said there were many positives from the conference, which also saw 300 artists play live and attracted delegates from over 80 countries.

"The industry as a whole has turned a page," said Leguern. "It accepts the CD era is decreasing fast and new revenues will come from other business models. Some of the old issues like DRM are over so we can move into a new era."

Kevin Arnold (founder/CEO of IODA), Harvey Goldsmith (managing director of Artiste Management Productions) and Martin Blomkvist (Sony Ericsson head of content acquisition management) were among the executives who issued statements praising the 2009 edition.

Leguern hailed the impact of brands and technology companies at this year's conference, saying such sectors would shape both the future of MIDEM and the general music business. The Publishing Summit will return in 2010 after a "very successful first edition."

MIDEM 2010 will return to its usual later slot, having been moved forward this year to avoid the Chinese New Year. That conference will be held January 24-27 2010 in Cannes, with MidemNet beginning a day earlier "if we don't change things."