Say That Again

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
business models, midem, music



Not A Music Industry Crisis -- It's A CD Crisis

from the indeed dept

I got to spend some time with the organizers of Midem when I went there last week, and beyond doing an incredible job putting together a great event they actually have a really comprehensive view of what's happening to the market. Unlike some of those in the industry they serve, the Midem organizers not only have a really clear understanding of the market changes, but they seem to be working quite hard to adjust to the times -- and they've done it before. Midem actually started (and still functions) as a "marketplace" for buying and selling music rights around the world. So, for example, deals would be made where someone would buy the European rights for a hot new American artist or whatever. Somewhere along the way, the organizers realized that with so many folks from the industry all there together, it made sense to go beyond just a marketplace, and they added a conference on top of it. Then, ten or eleven years ago (well before many other folks) they realized that the internet and digital technologies represented a profound shift in the marketplace -- and they added MidemNet on to the beginning of the event, having two days that are just focused on digital issues.

There was one thing that struck me, though, during the event -- which is that separating out the digital part as a stepchild doesn't necessarily make much sense anymore. While they do include some digital/online things during the rest of the event, having the digital part as a "separate" event feels like it's a minor side issue, rather than a core trend changing the market. I had thought of bringing that up to the organizers... but, not surprisingly, it sounds like they're already ahead of me on that. Hal Bringman has a writeup on Midem for Digital Media Wire, where he notes that the director of the event, Dominique Leguern, says that they're considering merging MidemNet into the wider Midem as the industry is evolving into a fully digital domain. Also, Leguern made a key point that plenty of people have been making for a while:
"It's not a music industry crisis, it's a CD crisis."
Indeed. It's great that Midem is in such good hands. As an "insider" music industry conference, it wouldn't surprise anyone if the organizers acted like some of the old school execs in the industry -- focusing on the past and creating an echo-chamber of people trying to recapture a lost marketplace. Instead, they've been forward looking for many years, and working to change along with the market -- and even trying to help pull some of those execs along with them.

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  1. identicon
    Doombringer, 27 Jan 2009 @ 12:45pm

    It is an industry crisis, plain and simple

    Its not a cd crisis. The real crisis is that they print 1,000,000+ cds of what those douchebags in the "biz" think will be the next big thing, and it sells the exact opposite of hot cakes. Then they are stuck with all these cds which are just worthless crap. Because only casual/mainstream listeners care about those "next big things" and nobody like that really buys cds anymore. They want to just go and click the one little song they like and listen to it for all of 10 mins, and then throw it away, and move on to the next piece of garbage. Digital music is preferred by people who arent really that into music (IMHO). CDs will always be around, just like vinyl records will always be around. Im 22 years old and I collect both. I enjoy having the physical copy in my hands with the artwork and liner notes, etc. Because nothing will ever sound as warm as an analog record, and digital mp3s rarely are the size or quality of the songs on a CD. Also if you are really into music you appreciate the time and aesthetics that goes into it, but then I only listen to more "underground" or "indie" music. Also thats why the file sharing thing is such a crock, because people who enjoy music will buy it no matter what. Even if they download it "illegally", if its worth it they will go to the trouble to track it down. Or at least I would.

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