It took some time, but the music industry is finally starting embrace the possibilities of the Internet, and one of the best places you can go to witness this is the annual Midem conference in Cannes, France.

2012′s event takes place from 28 to 31 January, featuring talks, exhibits, gigs and more as people from the worlds of music, technology and marketing get together to help shape the future. The Next Web will be there, and as you’d expect, we’ll be keeping a particularly close eye on the startups involved.

The event’s startup competition, Midemlab, has previously helped launch such notable companies as audio sharing platform SoundCloud, concert information service Songkick, and smart music data manipulators, The Echo Nest – the company powering Spotify’s new radio app, EMI’s API and other recent exciting developments.

The startups taking part in 2012 have been announced, and they’re divided into three categories: Music Discovery, Recommendation & Creation; Marketing, and Direct to Consumer Sales and Content Monetisation. We’ll be taking a closer look at the best of the bunch when we touch down in Cannes for the event in January.

To register for your ticket to Midem 2012, visit this page. There are special discounts for startups, artists and students.

Here are the Midemlab startups, with links where available.

Music Discovery, Recommendation & Creation

ChartsNow.mobi (UK) – mass market mobile music service

MPme by Apsmart (UK) – curated internet radio

musicplayr (Germany) – music discovery & blogging

Navegas (Germany) – connecting the world of music tool

Rexly (USA) – social discovery & recommendation

Songs2See by Fraunhofer (Germany) – music game development

SoshiGames (UK) – game-based social music discovery

Twusic by Lemon Lab (Belgium) – Twitter music application

Watzatsong (France) – crowdsourced music search engine

WhoSampled (UK) – music discovery – read our previous coverage

Marketing & Social engagement

BandApp (UK) – free instant artist app creation

Beloola by V-Cult (France) – social music service

CrowdSurfing by LiveOne Group (USA) – live content social viewing app

Flowd (Finland) – music marketing and social music service

iPluggers (Netherlands) – worldwide digital radio promotion

Oocto by GeniusMonk (France) – crowdfunding & crowdsourcing music platform

Pipe (Germany) – file transfer for social networks

RockStar Motel (USA) – fan-centric music social network

Tastebuds.fm (UK) – social events discovery – read our previous coverage

Webdoc (Switzerland) – fan engagement – read our previous coverage

Direct to consumer sales and Content Monetisation

Getonic (Israel) – direct to consumer social ecommerce

Menyou (Sweden) – online sales and distribution tool

Musicsoft Arts (USA) – interactive music discovery, playback and sales

My Bee (France) – access control and dematerialized payment

Ondango (Germany) – Facebook commerce solution

SonicAngel (Belgium) – next generation crowdfunding label

TuneRights (Sweden) – stock market for music

Tunipop (USA) – connecting merchandise with digital music

Weezevent (France) – cloud ticketing service

WildChords by Ovelin (Finland) – guitar learning game – read our previous coverage