MIDEM – “Should I stay or Should I go?”
MIDEM – What is it?
Launched in 1967 MIDEM is the Music Industry’s leading Global Music conference, attracting Music Creators and Companies in the industry from all over the world. Most people are familiar with the world-famous Cannes Film Festival; where stars litter the red carpet and the rich and famous moor their yachts to enjoy the French riviera in its splendor, palm treed beauty and Old World Charm. MIDEM with its blue carpet is the Music Industry’s event which occurs right after. I suppose the reduced visual fanfare is apropos considering music deals with the ears and not the eyes so much… one would hope so anyway.
With its combination of panelists and presenters talking shop for inside scoops on how the industry works, song writing workshops, meet and greets, networking opportunities and awesome social media selfie opportunity extravaganza, MIDEM has everything you want in a 4 day music conference and in a setting straight out of a James Bond movie.
Who Am I?
Thanks for asking… Talking to yourself is a sign of intelligence so I’ve been told. I am a Singer Song writer with County Rock, Alt Rock ,Americana sensibilities. Like many artists I prefer the solitude of my 160 acre ranch in Kamloops BC Canada to the busy streets of the big cities where I can channel the next song on interrupted by the big cities big energy. Nevertheless, the Big city energy calls when I am ready to perform and so did Cannes France in May of this year.
As a Canadian singer songwriter and recording artist I am sharing my experience with MIDEM to see if I am able to help you answer this question – Should I Stay or Should I Go? For myself MIDEM was never an event I held as something that would be of obvious benefit to my music career and it was through a chance phone call that lead me to the decision to say yes. To be brave and see for myself. When I looked for confirmation of the yes I intended to say, A new music industry friend of mine said, “Marshall don’t mortgage the house for it but if you can afford to do it, it’s a Big world out there.” Sage advice as it would turn out. Little for shadowing for my book reading friends there.
Fresh off the 18 hour flight from my home town Kamloops BC with my supportive girlfriend who is the organic certification to my non-gmo music creations, we checked into the 18th Century style Ruc Hotel. We arrived safely save for one piece of luggage containing everything my girlfriend brought to wear during our visit to France and Spain the following week. You will be happy to hear both my guitars and luggage made the journey unscathed. That night we had our first meet and greet with the people who invited me there to showcase during MIDEM that evening for dinner. An eclectic mix of industry veterans and musical performers that first night we enjoyed a delicious dinner and a few gin and tonics to boot. We arrived two days before the event to deal with any jet lag that inevitably comes as it did the next day.
As a performer the first day at the conference was over shadowed by the anticipation of showcasing new songs from my new release called That’s How It Starts. The conference itself was well organized, with beautiful views of the Mediterranean, and its very own Beach front meeting area which included a large stage for nightly performances, food and alcoholic beverages. I do like a cold beer on occasion, don’t judge😊 The second day we visited the Canadian Pavilion and talked shop with other attendees. Left early to go to sound check at the Morrison Irish Pub where our caravan of performers was to do the first night of showcases. As luck would have it, I went on first and started my 45 min set with the title track from my new album called That’s How It Starts. The synchronicity of the time slot and the opening of the first night of showcasing wasn’t lost on me and I enjoyed playing for strangers and new friends alike. The rest of the acts were fun to watch, and the comradery of the experience was refreshing in an industry that can sometimes feel like a competitive landscape where only the chosen ones can survive. That was not at all this experience. Conference continued the next day with the second night of performances from our eclectic group and we were suitably impressed once again with a barrage of awesomeness on stage that night. I would have gone to MIDEM just for these new artist and industry professionals alone having got to know them over the 9 days we were there. I didn’t expect to find friends in a world far from the ranch’s private sanctuary where there are more deer than people but that’s what happened. A beautiful bunch of intelligent kind spiritual people I am grateful to call friends and a new musical family emerged. This group of empaths supported one another and talked long into the evenings over drinks and guitar jams. To say it was a transformative experience is putting it lightly. Before the time to leave I signed with EMG Music Group and am fortunate to get to tour with these new friends and music family, next stop is Sweden! I look forward to picking up where we left off and strengthening the bonds that music makes within all of us.
Answer the question already
Ok Ok OK I’ll try…
I think in this instance I’ll try to answer the question with several more questions. What do you expect to achieve by attending MIDEM? To be signed? To find a manager? To find international distribution? To tour the world? To hear industry professionals, share their experience about launching and marketing an album like your new album you spent months or even years pulling out of the ether to create the zeros and ones, the pits and grooves that is your latest masterpiece. Most likely as an artist wanting to break it into the music industry it’s all the above.
For me the answer lay in having no expectations at all. I went to for the experience. I went because it scared me a little. I went because as a creator of music its my job to at least meet the universe halfway and see what happens next. I went with an open heart and no expectations and in that empty space I let the universe fill in the rest. For myself, it was the people I met and got to know that made the experience a big Yes for me. It was a musical tribe of artists I am happy to call friends now that taught me more about myself as I hope I did for them. Your yes or no is yours alone to answer, my advice to you is to do what comes naturally and share your ideas, your music, your story and most importantly your heart because in the end isn’t that what we are all here for anyway.
Marshall Potts – Singer Songwriter and fellow traveler