Fifty years ago when Midem launched its international music business conference, it was the only game in town, state or country for that matter. This year, it’s reported that Midem’s attendance fell 20% from 5,500 in 2015 to 4,400 in 2016.
The music industry is drastically different than what it once was 50 years ago, and its evolution includes the expansion of music and technology summits occurring in cities across the globe.
While Midem is still considered to be a powerful entity within the industry, potential attendees factor proximity, cost and time into whether they register, or not. If folks can get more bang for their buck in their own back yard, that’s what they’ll do, along with utilizing digital tools to conduct busiess internationally. According to Hypebot, “Its relevance has been under attack ever since email and Skype made it easier to do business globally, and challenges by a growing list of more specialized, affordable and more manageable gatherings.”
Midem also got slammed for a common occurrence in many entertainment and tech business conferences in general, but one that more are calling out in the age of awareness and diversity: the all male, all white panel participants.
Hypebot contributor and music industry consultant, Courtney Harding, wrote an excellent piece on the topic, stating, “MIDEM should serve as a wake up call to those of us who want to make sure the music business moves forward and includes diverse voices. The more people events include, the more different perspectives are shared, and the more creative solutions can be reached. This is good for everyone.”
The vast array of music consumers from across the globe is not exclusive to the middle-aged white male demographic. Similar to the lack of diversity conversations taking place within other industries (or all male conference panels discussing women’s issues), having only one segment of the population making business decisions solely from their perspective will become glaringly obvious.
If conferences, summits and conventions are going to truly contribute to the continued evolution of their industries, their programming needs to reflect the state of today’s world that is continuing to shine more and more light on inclusion and diversity, or a lack thereof. Otherwise, there may be less and less attendees in the audience.