Manitoba Well-Represented in International Music Market

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While we suffer the frigid prairie temperatures, representatives from Manitoba Film & Sound, MARIA, Endearing Records, Smallman Records, Sunshine Records, Studio 11 Inc., Rising Sun Productions and Olesia Records are enjoying the palm trees in Cannes, France. For the 37th year, Cannes plays host to the world’s largest international music market, MIDEM, where about 10,000 music professionals from across the globe converge, network, do business and attend daily conferences. And if the 11 Manitobans want to get a good night’s sleep, they might want to skip out on MIDEM’s non-stop tradeshow and impressive concerts.

“Eyes glaze over when you go in there and see 4000 people and booths,” explains Alexis Kochan of Olesia and popular musical group Paris to Kyiv, who attended MIDEM once five years ago. “You have to focus. Look for what it is that you are after and stay focused on that or you'll collapse.”

The sheer number of music-related people and businesses in attendance is not the only overwhelming element of this year’s MIDEM. It’s the sheer number of music-related people and businesses from Manitoba in attendance. Many of this year’s Manitoban participants are experiencing MIDEM for the first time, as well as meeting many of their international business contacts in person after extensive electronic dealings.

Jason Smith of Smallman Records explains that “MIDEM offers an opportunity for Smallman to meet our distributors face-to-face - many for the first time. In this day and age, it is easy to develop entire relationships based solely on emails. It is a nice opportunity to meet with people in person and discuss future plans and releases.”

Blair Purda of Endearing Records agrees, pointing out that the long-term benefit for a small label attending such a large international conference is very exciting.

“Ideally, we'd like to come back from MIDEM with a few more of our records licensed to overseas labels and a few new overseas distributors,” says Purda. “This may not happen on our first trip out but perhaps we can lay good groundwork for future trips.”

Funding for attendance at MIDEM came through Manitoba Trade and Investment, which has allowed for smaller Manitoban business to strengthen our province’s visibility in an international market, which undoubtedly will be felt by the local music industry for years to come. Manitoba is already known for its disproportionate number of incredibly talents musicians and with the impressive local participation in Cannes, the opportunities are boundless.

“Even though we are considered a smaller centre for the arts in Canada, we are still able to be active in the global music community,” Smith says. “I think it is amazing that we have so many successful companies considering our population base is relatively small.”

“It's great,” agrees Purda. “We really appreciate the support of the provincial government in helping us attend the conference and it's nice to be traveling with other members of the local industry. Often we all have our heads down working so much that we don't have the chance to get together as a group.”

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