Amidst all of the meeting, pitching, hustling, and hump-busting that generally accompanies a label launch (in this case, mine) at MIDEM in Cannes, :there has been more than enough tome to socialize, schmooze, and (as is required in the music industry) pub crawl with colleagues from around the world. And the consensus among my compatriots in the classical biz…
… is that things are looking up.
While there are fewer clasical attendes this year, there is a lot of business going on, and everyone’s schedule seems a bit more packed than last year. A number of labels and distributors, inckuding Codaex – which sems poised for major growth this year – and superdistributor Naxos are holding their meetings in hotels within quick proximity of the Palais (not a real palais but a comvention center).
I ran into an old friend – and one of the most innovative label heads in the world – Simon Foster, whose Avie label continues to issue some of the most interesting new material anywhere (I’ll be covering their superb series focusing on Hungarian composer Hans Gál in a forthcoming blogcast). He is positive about the outlook for 2012. Damon Sgobbo, Allegro Distributors’ dynamic sales guru, is also on hand – and looks like he has not aged a day in ten years, and he’s also upbeat. Simon Perry from the ever-innovative Hyperion was bullish, and Signum’s Steve Long was similarly optimistic on the outlok for 2012 and pleased with the response to their first releases in the London Sinfonietta series. France always has a heightened presence here, but has put on a superb showing and cultivated connections worldwide thanks to BureauExport’s indefatigable Morgane Krikorian.
The major labels have minimal or zero presence at MIDEM – another incessant bungle on their part, as the vast majority of the Certified Marketing and Business Administrion Geniuses that have botched the handling of their own non-mass-market holdinsg would learn a few things for the small-business-model, tech-driven “street kids” and musico-tech geeks that drive the new business model. Everyone is keeping an eye on what will become of EMI, with the consensus opinion being that a merger with Universal will be blocked. So long as their deep catalogue holdings end up with a company or companies who know what they are doing, I’m hardly alone in saying that receivership just might be the best thing to hapen to EMI.