Attendance dips at '09 MIDEM

Plummeting CD sales main culprit, organizers say

CANNES -- Attendance was down by 1,000 to about 8,000 at this year's MIDEM, the annual gathering of the international music industry that ended Wednesday.

MIDEM director Dominque Leguern said that the drop in numbers was felt globally and reflected not only the economic downturn but also the drop in CD sales around the world.

"As Chuck D said, it's not a music industry crisis, it's a CD crisis," Leguern said. "At MIDEM, we have lost physical distributors and manufacturers and small labels that have not been able to survive the economic crisis that hit on top of falling CD sales."

Leguern said that 186 U.S. companies were on hand for the three-day event that followed MIDEMNet on the weekend. The event ended one day earlier than in the past and many Americans went home on Tuesday in order to watch the presidential inauguration with their families. Still, Leguern said, "A lot of our customers say that business was very intense."

She said the question was often asked about merging the online forum MIDEMNet with the traditional MIDEM show of conferences, panels and concerts but that "more people answer that we should keep it the way it is."

The confab, which was moved up this year due to the Chinese New Year, returns to the third week of the month in 2010.

"Because the industry is changing rapidly and will consolidate in the coming years, we start next week on planning the next edition. We're already talking to countries about some big events," Leguern said.