Before you get all jiggy in the comments talkin' about how white American people can't clap along, I think I should warn you. That's not an American audience. It's not even an audience. Jimmy Cliff, like any wedding singer, needs work, and he'll play at the Holiday Inn lounge if his agent tells him to, and eat chicken and shells on his break like the rest of us cover band shmucks did. That's a convention. A trade show. More about that in a minute.
If you've ever gone to a Marriott and walked past a windowless room with plastic chandeliers depending from a drop ceiling painted black, seen fools milling around with name tags with Fletch quotes written under the illegibly scrawled Bobs, all dressed like they just raided Herb Tarlick's wardrobe in the dark, then watched porcine women ululate over a chocolate fountain that has strawberries to dip in it, as if that's not the most disgusting conflation of comestibles ever invented, then you know all about conventions. It's a swinger's party deboned for weak teeth. It's a funeral without a corpse to liven things up. It's Amway without even the soap, but plenty of perfume and aftershave.
What makes this trade show so interesting to me isn't the fact that they're immune to Jimmy Cliff in 1970. Jimmy Cliff in 1970 was earthshaking, or at least hipshaking, you must admit. He did his game best to pull fun like a molar out of them, but it wasn't to be. The reason for that interests me. That's MIDEM. The Marché International du Disque et de l'Edition Musicale. It's a trade show, held every year since 1967. If you don't speak French, can you guess the trade? Undertakers? Actuaries? Colostomy bag magnates? Who exactly would be that immune to Jimmy Cliff's charms in 1970?
I'll let Wikipedia deliver the punchline:
The tradeshow, which is billed as the leading international business event for the music ecosystem, has been held since 1967. Several thousand musicians, producers, agents, managers, lawyers, executives, entrepreneurs and journalists from around the globe regularly attend the event, which is usually held at the end of January, or early February. While delegates from recording, artist management, and publishers network, new artists showcase their material and live music is on show in the evenings.If you've ever doubted just how little regard the music industry has for you, the customer, then watch that video again, and weep. If you think the music business has any more soul than pumping gas, you're fooling yourself. That phalanx of suits is the music business. They wouldn't know music if it bit them on the ass.