Participation at Reed Midem up five per cent this year

CANNES: The silence is deafening. Five days of hustle bustle schmoozing and listening to samplers, digital download debates, and new album releases, live music showcases and the future of music, and suddenly the Palais des Festivals is all quiet. Exhibitors are packing up their booths and getting ready to have a quiet evening or take the shuttles back to Nice airport to catch their much welcome flights back home.

All round, the comments from participants, exhibitors and Reed Midem are that Midem was an okay market this year. Many deals were done, licensing, publishing, sub licensing, distribution, and what have you. According to Reed Midem officials numbers on almost every front - participation, exhibition, number of countries - were up five per cent.

The single bright spot as far as India is concerned was the Times of India stand in row 16:01. At almost any time of the day, it was packed with distributors, licensors, publishers. Times Music boss Arun Arora, and manager Suresh, and a team of almost five other Times Music professionals were busy. Says Arora: "We have been coming here for almost seven years now. And Midem is a very useful market for us. It helps us build our brand internationally. We are growing gradually. Last year we paid almost 300,000 dollars in license fees to foreign labels."

The other bright spot was the presence of Saregama's Atul Churamanai, Amarpal Singh and big boss Dilip Mehta's presence on a panel discussion relating to digital downloads where he got the audience's attention when he said that we should get swept away by digital downloads. A lot of effort is needed to make digital downloads of music a success.

Music Today head Gurmeet Singh was pleased with the market. He said: "It's been a very productive Midem for my firm."

The sore part was the absence of a large presence from India in a market where even Netherlands attracts around 140 music industry professionals, China about 40 participants, Australia about 40. Their rationale: propagate Indian culture globally.

Clearly, the Indian music industry and the government have to put their heads together to see merit in this line of thought.

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