Day 1 at MIDEM, and what a day it’s been. It feels like I’ve been here for a week already, but only in a good way!
I made sure Pat, Miles and myself were prepared by making breakfast, eggs, followed by Nutella sandwiches (I only seem to eat chocolate sandwiches abroad; it reminds me of Belgium as my old Belgian friend from school Morgan always had them round his parents house), plus a bowl of Cornflakes and orange juice all round.
We set off clean shaven, aftershaved up and full of optimistic trepidation. As soon as we got to pavillion we ran into our new MIDEM mate, Digger who showed us some music videos of the artists he was working with. It was nice to see a friendly face and, as he had a table at the British stand, kindly lent us his Wifi password which was a great help. Thanks Digger! – If you get a chance, check out the videos of his daughters’ pop group, Electrovamp, they’ve toured with Girls Aloud and I think would work well on a lineup with Nottingham’s Ronika!
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MIDEM’s a great place and we all felt like kids in a sweet shop. We had a good look around the various stands and stalls in the main hall, talking to Americans about promotions, Russians about vinyl distribution, Brits about crowd sourcing, Lithuanians about classical music, and even managed to have a go on a new karaoke singing game at the Nintendo area in the Japanese section. Having scheduled a few meetings with different industry types we found everyone very friendly and enthusiastic. It made me realise how vast the industry is in terms of the services it can provide (new and old), but also how small it is – you’re always making realisations of how you are connected with other people and companies from around the world. That’s the best thing about these sort of events – you realise you are by no means alone and that most people are more than happy to impart advice – everyone’s a possible business partner and a potential friend too.
I’d heard it said that it’s as much a social event as a business one and after today, I’m inclined to agree!
We checked out a group/singer called Max Stone in one of the showcase tents before lunch, who reminded me of my friend’s Stav and Jake’s band, The Money, before heading to another networking session. We decided to take our chances with the Seagulls and Miles prepared us a French picnic by the sea!
We had a meeting with one of our lawyers in the afternoon, who strangely enough we had never before met face to face. It was an interesting experience to speak to someone who you’ve worked with but never properly met, but it turns out he’s an absolutely brilliant guy – fantastically knowledgeable without ever being over complicated or the slightest bit condescending. A really great person to have a chat over a pint with!
Will.I.Am was rumoured to turn up for a talk today but we had a few more meetings to go to which took priority. Although it turns out it was just a Skype talk anyway and besides being interesting, there were some technical difficulties which meant a lot of his speech wasn’t heard so I took comfort in that.
We didn’t have time for Saki at the Japanese stand as our last meetings had over run, buts we were leaving we said hello to some of the people we knew from AIM in the UK (Association of Independent Music) and they let us know it was time for the age old British tradition of “getting the beers in”. We had a chat with Phil Patterson from the U.K.T.I who we kind of see as a friendly uncle to us and our company, he’s always at these events, knows everyone and always had time for a chat to us and advice and seems genuinely interested in what we are getting up to, we chatted about synch missions and what other events like this would be good to go to. He introduced us to a lovely lady who works for the Indian embassy and we chatted about some possible future projects with our company. We also bumped into a nice man almost as tall as our Pat, Zenon who produced house music and he liked the sound of Practical Lovers music and loved the fact that most of our video’s cost little more than time and creativity, a subject we’ve been discussing a lot really as we are currently working on getting six music videos done to promote I’m Not From London Record’s 2014 releases. We all enjoyed our selves immensely there and had a strong sense of cameraderie and bonhomie with all the people in the British stand, we’d all got through the day of business and networking and it was time to loosen up, Miles took the term a bit too literally and he lost his grip on the bottle of beer causing an almighty smash as the rest of the stand turned round to see us, well, at least we made an impression right?
Our last meeting with some overseas service providers took place in the the very appropriately named Majestic Hotel. To say it’s opulent would be an understatement. There were lots of meetings going on there but when you looked a bit closer, you would realise very few of the people actually drinking anything. The beers are so expensive you need to have an all over health check and they make you take out insurance before they serve you lest you suffer some sort of aneurism before the cheque comes! On receiving the bill a round of 6 lagers came to 95 euros- woh! Thankfully the people we had the meeting with insisted on buying our round, which I have made a blood oath to pay them back next time we run into each other! If you want to see the pictures of the poshest marble bathroom ever make sure you pay us a visit over on Pat, Miles’ and the @imnotfromlondon twitter accounts!
We went home for dinner before heading out to see a Japanese rock band at an Irish pub (what an international event!). Our boys Practical Lovers are off to Japan in a few weeks, so we were aiming to chat to a few people about this too. It was comforting to think of Jack and Mark playing a gig back home at the same time. We have heard on good authority that Jack was his usual cheery self on stage – glad you’re not missing us too much mate!
After a couple of pints of Guinness we met up with an old friend of Pat’s from university who’s out here working for the MPA and had a good wander around the different Irish bars of Cannes. It seemed strangely fitting to end the night in an Irish bar whilst publishers sang karaoke – not only because of the national treasures on display, but because of the links between the two different parts of a song – the performance and the writing behind it.
We’d like to take this moment to thank the rest of the INFL team who’ve been working hard all night making sure our event with LeftLion, Blow-Out, ran smoothly at The Corner. We hope you all managed to have some fun on the job too!
Time for bed now, another gruelling day at the coal-face of the music industry ahead of us so supper and bed. Ah no! I have one more “sync mission” of my own ahead of me before that, the washing up still needs doing!