Red Goes to Midem

16th July 2019

Midemlab 2019

It’s summer season now in music tech. Last month Red enjoyed donning its suntan lotion and sandals and heading to Cannes for the Midem 2019 conference to help coach entrants of its Midemlab start-up competition.
This was the 52nd edition of the yearly Midem conference and the 12th edition of Midemlab, whose previous finalists and winners include SoundCloud, Kickstarter, Songkick, The Echo Nest (acquired by Spotify), Next Big Sound (acquired by Pandora) and ASAII (acquired by Apple).

Abbey Road Red has been the coaching partner for Midemlab since 2016 and this year myself and Dom, our Head of Digital at Abbey Road and board member at Red, were designated the honourable duties!

After arriving late on Monday evening and enjoying some industry banter with colleagues in the taxi from Cannes to Nice, we managed to grab a quick ‘pression’ before retiring to recharge our innovation batteries for the next day. Early that morning we sneaked in some Riviera sunshine, a rare thing during an indoor conference, on the walk to the Palais des Festivals, the conference venue.
Then we got to meet each founder who had made it to the finals and give them pointers on how they could improve the impact of their pitches on the judges, ultimately with the aim of increasing their chances of winning their category.

There are four categories to the competition:

1. Music Creation & Education
2. Music Discovery & Distribution
3. Marketing & Data / Analytics
4. Experiential Technologies

I coached Music Creation & Education and Music Discovery & Distribution and Dom coached Marketing & Data Analytics and Experiential Technologies.

Part of our job as coaches was to help the founders shine alongside the judging criteria, which is not always the point of view they might take. For example, considering things like how their startup could add value to the music industry or generate a new source of revenue for artists; whether it’s solving a genuine problem for artists and labels; are they providing a new kind of experience for music fans which will last beyond being a novelty; are they enabling a new kind of creativity for artists or empowering a new generation of musicians; can they justify their business case with a long term view; and more.

We feel well-placed to help here because we have to think in the same way when we’re considering which startups we’d like to invite to join Abbey Road Red’s incubation programme. We ask ourselves similar questions and have to justify our own answers to our team-mates.
We offer a six-month long incubation, so we have to make sure that first we believe completely in founders and their vision and ability, that they believe in us, and then that our team-mates and incubation network will feel the same way.

After four hours of sitting with the founders - suffice to say we were impressed by all of them and glad we didn’t have to make the final decision the next day - we moved to a sunshine-y spot to catch up with international colleagues and friends and meet some other companies.
The next day we were observers. We had meetings in the morning, one with the next startup we will be excited to announce as joining Red’s programme, and after Dom scooted back to Nice for her flight home I decamped to the Palais to catch the winner’s announcement. I may have sneaked a bit of Cannes yacht views in on the way…
Pictures of the winners in each category are below. A hearty Red congratulations goes out from us to the winners as well as all the finalists. It takes a lot to make an idea into an MVP so we salute anyone who goes on that journey!

For me it was lovely to see such a healthy and wide-ranging application of technology in this year’s Midemlab winners, from unlocking revenues in an untapped sector and enforcing legitimate use of music ClicknClear to enabling effortless music creation JAMBL, helping listeners hear better Tunefork, and helping rights holders track the validity of streaming royalties Legitary.

For Dom, as always, we enjoyed seeing culturally positive innovations at Midem. Alongside very focused start-ups operating in clever niches across the value-chain, we enjoyed seeing the wave of tech enhancing our everyday lifestyles and creativity, like Tunefork helping listeners hear better, or Mimu gloves enabling gestural performance with wearable tech.
Tim Exile (far left), founder of Endlesss who won the special prize and Gad Hinkis (inside left), founder of JAMBL, who won the music creation & education category with Matthias Strobel (inside right) of Music Tech Germany and Mikio Inari (far right) CTO of Recochoku
Chantal Epp, founder of ClickNClear, who won the Music Discovery & Distribution category, with Martin Duval, President and Co-Founder of Bluenove
Nermina Mumic (right), Founder of Legitary and winner of the Marketing & Data / Analytics category, with Music Ally’s Paul Brindley (left):
Tomer Short (right), CEO and Founder of TuneFork and winner of the Experiential Technologies category with Alexander Holland (left), Chief Content & Strategy Officer at Deezer

You can see read more about the winners, here, in Midem’s press release.