Paris, 16 May 2018The leading international associations of independent labels have chosen Midem to stage a series of discussions on the indie sector to address the key trends, opportunities and challenges facing indies today. Home of the global music community, Midem takes place in Cannes, France, from 5-8 June.

First highlight during this year’s focus on independents at Midem will be the Global Indies Voices Programme, organised in association with IMPALA, WIN and Merlin, on Thursday 7 June from 2:30pm to 5:30pm.

The programme will host a special Q&A on 10 Years of Merlin, through a conversation with Charles Caldas, CEO of the global digital rights agency. A decade after its creation at Midem, Merlin is a leading force for the independent sector, and Caldas will share his vision on the role and future of independents worldwide, as well as unveiling exclusive data on the phenomenal internationalisation of music that is taking place as a result of streaming.

“Merlin was first announced at Midem in January 2007, so it feels entirely fitting that we return to Cannes to help celebrate Merlin’s first decade of operation, and to reflect on how the global recorded market has developed since and how independent labels will continue to shape its future,” said Charles Caldas.

The Global Indies Voices Programme will bring together a host of top-class speakers to discuss essential topics for the indie sector. These range from enabling independents through disruptive technology, to highlighting metal as a genre mastering the art of DIY, welcoming a conversation with leading German garage-pop band GURR, and exploring the state of European independence with the launch of RUNDA, the new Balkans trans-national association of indie labels. The Global Indies Voices Programme will give delegates a fresh perspective on the state of the independent music ecosystem.

“The new Global Indies Voices set of panels will celebrate the independents, who are the foundation of the music world with 80% of new releases, ensuring diversity worldwide. Midem will be the go-to place to discuss current issues such as a level playing field between all players in the entertainment world and tech companies, copyright issues, recent digital developments, and the EC music programme,” said Kees Van Weijen, President, IMPALA.

Besides the Global Indies Voices afternoon, the Midem conference programme will also explore how independent players are moving the industry forward through innovative business models. Keynote speaker Ghazi Shami, CEO & Founder of EMPIRE, will take as his topic “Being a Music Executive in the Digital Age”. From Kendrick Lamar to Anderson.Paak, Cardi B and XXXTentacion, EMPIRE has been at the centre of the vibrant US hip-hop scene since its creation in 2010. By putting artists at the heart of its strategy, Ghazi Shami has built an independent company that is tailor-made to today’s music industry, with a unique take on distribution and promotion, coupled with a fierce entrepreneurial and a tech-savvy spirit.

Midem also features an exclusive keynote from the top trio at leading global independent music company Concord Music Group – Scott Pascucci, CEO; Steven Salm, Chief Business Development Officer; and Jake Wisely, Chief Publishing Executive. There will also be a keynote from Hartwig Masuch, CEO of Germany’s BMG, who will outline how the largest music company outside the three majors has set about doing things its own way in the streaming age.

“The independent music sector is synonymous with innovation, adaptability, and artistic freedom, and continues to thrive in today’s globalised music economy by developing new business models and fresh ways to interact with fans. I’m excited to see this vibrancy reflected more than ever at this year’s Midem,” said Alexandre Deniot, Director of Midem.

Midem 2018 will also put the spotlight on indies in emerging markets as catalysts for structuring the local industry, notably through this year’s Midem African Forum. A panel entitled “Independence & Artist Development in Africa” will explore how a whole generation of independent artists and entrepreneurs across the continent is mastering the art of DIY to make it in today’s music business. Speakers include Blick Bassy, Artist (Cameroon); Toya Delazy, Artist & Founder, Delazy Entertainment (South Africa); Krotal, Manager, Kingstone Records (Cameroon); and Philo, CEO & Co-Founder, Bomayé Musik (Republic of the Congo/France).

“As the independent sector celebrates a very successful year with the highest recorded market share for many years, WIN is eager to spread its wings into the emerging markets. With Midem’s focus on Africa we look forward to meeting with and making many new friends from this continent,” said Alison Wenham, CEO of WIN.

About Midem – Home of the Global Music Community, Midem is the world’s leading music event which brings together, connects, serves and supports the global music community to exchange, create, play, forge relationships and shape the future of music. With a rich 4-day programme of conferences, competitions, networking events and live performances, music makers, cutting-edge technology companies, brands & talent come together to enrich the passionate relationship between people & music, transform audience engagement and form new business connections.
Midem is part of Reed MIDEM, a global leader in the organisation of international professional markets in music, television and digital content industries (MIPTV, MIPDOC, MIPCOM, MIPJUNIOR, MIP China and MIP Cancun) and real estate sectors (MIPIM, MIPIM PropTech and MAPIC).
Reed MIDEM is a subsidiary of Reed Exhibitions, the world’s leading events organiser, with over 500 events in 39 countries. In 2016 Reed brought together over seven million event participants from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organised by 38 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of RELX Group, a global provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries.