MIDEM doesn’t always go big on artists but this year, super-producer Timbaland is giving one of the keynotes. Expect plenty of insight into the musical mind that brought us hits ranging from Justin Timberlake’s SexyBack to Ginuwine’s Pony to Nelly Furtado’s Promiscuous to his own The Way I Are. Hopefully, his speech will feature less grammar-mangling than that 2007 hit, and rather more revelations about his work as music supervisor on hit hip-hop TV drama, Empire.
2 NEIL WARNOCK
The 2015 Music Week Awards Strat winner – as anyone who attended those awards will know – gives good anecdote. But this keynote with the head of music worldwide at United Talent Agency, hosted by some bloke called Mark Sutherland, will be predominately forward-looking. Expect Warnock to cover the evolution of the agent – something that, as the man who recently merged his The Agency Group with UTA, he pretty much wrote the book on.
3 TIM WESTERGREN
If we’d been having the sort of year Pandora’s been having, we’d probably stay home and hide under a blanket rather than face the entire music business over some over-priced drinks in the Carlton bar. So fair play to Westergren, new CEO of the beleaguered internet radio service, for having the gumption to give a keynote address to everyone instead. He’ll be joined by Glassnote’s Daniel Glass and singer-songwriter Flo Morrissey for the speech, which will apparently concentrate on how streaming companies, record companies and artists can work together. But hopefully he’ll still be explaining what the bloody hell is going on.
4 MIDEM ARTIST ACCELERATOR
No, we haven’t really worked out exactly what an “artist accelerator” is yet either. But MIDEM swears by its “programme to take budding talent to the global stage” and this year’s line-up includes Flo Morrissey, Bellevue Days and Kate Simko & London Electronic Orchestra, so at least we’ll have some decent tunes to listen to while we try and figure it out.
5 STU BERGEN
According to conventional wisdom, MIDEM is all about the indies these days. And true, as ever, the independent community will be out in force. But the conference seems to be creeping back onto the majors’ agenda too. Last year, Sony Music’s Doug Morris gave a keynote and this year Warner Music Group’s CEO, international and global commercial services is coming to town. Bergen’s keynote is entitled – and yes, giving keynotes a title is a thing now – We Think The World Of Artists (And Other Strategies For Success). Which does sound a bit like an early draft of a 1980s charity supergroup single, but will actually concentrate on Warner’s dual mission to break international artists while also developing local stars. On the publishing side, Warner/Chappell chairman and CEO Jon Platt will also be keynoting alongside songwriter Justin Tranter.
Start-ups, eh? They’re so hard to keep track of, aren’t they, what with them starting up all over the show. Thankfully, MIDEMLAB is here to present 20 of the hottest new companies in the music “space”, so you can do a crash course without having to spend more money on apps than an Angry Birds completist. Contenders include the UK’s Flat (which helps people collaborate on writing music scores online) and Ikonfete (which helps artists identify and leverage their core fanbase).
7 MIDEM’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY
Celebrate, good times, come on! Yes, MIDEM has made it to 50, despite every drunk in a Croisette bar claiming it was about to be scrapped for the last 15 years. And if that’s not an excuse to, well, get drunk in a Croisette bar, then I don’t know what is. Even better, MIDEM is putting on its own event for us to get drunk at. The International MIDEM Awards will celebrate iconic names from MIDEM’s past, present and future on the Saturday night at the Carlton. Timbaland is getting an award, though presumably not for services to grammar over the last 50 years. And yes, that is our second reference to that. Sorry Timbas, that’s just the way we is.