International Music Conference Confirms Pretty Much All Of Our Worst Fears, Stereotypes

Jan 25th, 2007 // Comment

We’ve long suspected that the annual MIDEM conference–a music-biz gathering that’s being held this week in Cannes–was like some sad combination of a corporate-rock science fair and the “It’s A Small World” ride at Disney. And if this account from the U.K. Telegraph is any indication, that assessment wasn’t too far off:

…the MTV Border Breaker Awards [take place] the following day. This smaller event celebrates European acts who have broken out of their own country. The hall is packed with excited children, aged around seven to 12. The atmosphere is like Prize Day at a rather cool, multilingual junior school. The UK’s Corinne Bailey Rae picks up an award in absentia.

These acts may have shifted units beyond their own borders, but the extent to which they conform to national musical stereotypes is astonishing. The French winner does disco-pop with an accordion; the Portuguese act includes flamenco guitar; the Italian does opera; and Ireland’s “Celtic Ladies” play fiddles and cover Enya tunes.

After the show, I wander around the vast hall of stands, many organised by slogan-branded nationality. “Because Life’s Too Short to Listen to Shitty Music,” advise the Canadian posters. Scandinavia promises “Moosic” with an earphone-antlered moose, and “Schnappster”. There’s a stall claiming to be the official label of Santa Claus.

At the Taiwanese stand I am handed a nice cup of green tea and invited to hear some goth music. The British stands include everything from recognisable labels to a stall whose dubious claim is to offer “karaoke in every known format!”

Apparently, the international stands are staffed entirely by former writers of Mad magazine. That said, we look forward to Cleopatra Records Presents: TaiWAN Goth Classics, Vol. 1, available on eMusic this spring.

Snogging, bickering and the cost of ringtones [Telegraph]

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