I went to midem 2012 and all I got was…

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… a whole lot of cogent and intelligent discussion about the future of music, and a good perspective on emerging trends and issues affecting the industry.

Bandplanet sent two intrepid members of the Bandplanet team – CEO extraordinaire Hansjörg Hug (HJ) and marketing action man Dany Kunz  – along to midem 2012 recently in Cannes, France to hobnob with the rich and famous, err, soak up the atmosphere and inspiration while partaking of the workshops, networking opportunities, discussions and seminars.

So what nuggets of wisdom did they come back with?

  • The music industry has been re-energized by the new opportunities and business models offered by increasingly sophisticated digital medias and technologies.
  • Social media is now permanently embedded in all aspects of the music industry.
  • Also, the term ‘social media’ has outlived its use-by date. Enough already!
  • People are still willing to pay for music. And superfans are willing to pay even more for exclusive, value-added, rare or limited edition items.
  • Consumers want to be involved with the music they love – they want to engage with it, promote it, share it, sing it from the rooftops, wear it as a badge of honor. And they’d love to profit from it, as well, if it doesn’t compromise the earnings of the artists they love.
  • Streaming vs. cloud services – can they co-exist or will they cannibalize each other? Streaming services fulfill a function similar to radio (albeit one tailored for you, by you), but hey, not everyone wants music to be merely ‘background noise’. The psychological need of consumers to actually own music and its peripheral products (posters, books, DVDs, T-shirts etc shouldn’t be overlooked or under-rated. See ‘superfans’ comment above.
  • It’s clear that there is still room for new business models to develop and mature as the market changes. One thing is clear – music consumers don’t like to be fenced in and told where or how to buy their music. People don’t want to buy everything from just one store. Flexibility and choice is essential.

Proof positive that the Bandplanet FairTrade MusicBiz model is especially relevant today: engaging fans in a way that they can benefit as well, ensuring that 100% of revenue goes to the artists, and giving artists complete control over their music and what they receive for it. Go Bandplanet!

BEST IN SHOW

Best Session: HJ – ‘How To Work With The Fab FourMerlin/Google/Universal/Amazon’ – with Charles Caldas (Merlin), Zahavah Levine (Google), Craig Pape (Amazon), Rob Wells (Universal Music).

Dany: Artists speak to Artists Q&A: Joss Stone, talking about Stone’d Records.

Best speech: ‘Marketing For People, Not For Robots: Less Killer App, More Killer Experience’ – Will Sansom from Contagious Communications

Best Random Meeting With A famous Person: When Dany met Zoe Keating on a beanbag and talked about the weather (in his defense, he didn’t know who she was at the time. And yes, she was lovely).

WORST IN SHOW

The weather. Terrible. Somebody fire the person responsible, please? And HJ’s terrible flu courtesy of the really horrid weather. Thanks, Cannes! (or perhaps we should be blaming Zoe Keating).

Want the short version of midem 2012? Go here.

The next edition of midem will be held in Cannes, France, 26-29 January 2013.

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The future of music

Good news – contrary to popular belief, the music industry is in a state of rude health (or at least is out of intensive care).

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has just released their annual Digital Music Report for 2012, and the figures are surprisingly positive.

In 2011, digital music revenues to record companies increased by 8% globally, to an estimated US$5.2 billion, up from 5% in 2010. Worldwide, an estimated 3.6 billion downloads were purchased, an increase of 17%. Digital formats have become the dominant revenue stream in the US market, and it’s likely that music markets in the rest of the world will follow suit. Overall, consumer demand for digital music services is growing, and more people than ever before are engaging with and enjoying music.

Digital music has now split into two main consumption models that determine how people access and consume music – essentially, ownership (downloading music) and access (streaming or subscription services). This is great for consumers, who can now choose the method that best suits their needs.

But what percentage of the money being made actually lands in the pockets of the people who created the music? The money that artists receive from streaming services is negligible at best (Lady Gaga supposedly earned the princely sum of just $167, or around 113 Euros, for over a million plays of her hit track ‘Pokerface’ on Spotify). For artists, digital download services pay better revenues than streaming services, but record companies and labels still take a cut of their profits.

How can independent musicians get a foothold in the industry, make money and gain the recognition they deserve? It’s simple – by going the Bandplanet way!

Bandplanet was created as a platform for listening, sharing and buying music in a fair way – a fair trade music marketplace where independent artists receive 100% of the money generated from their music, without having to pay intermediaries. That’s unprecedented, and we’d like to think it’s the way of the future.

After all, it’s only fair that great independent artists get the reward they deserve – all of it.

Source: IFPI Digital Music Report 2012