The starting gun has been fired for the annual Midemlab startups contest, which will culminate at industry event Midem next January. Music Ally is involved once more, choosing 30 finalists across three categories with French consultancy Bluenove. The three categories are Music discovery, recommendation and creation; Marketing and social engagement; and Direct to consumer sales and content monetisation. Judges include Deezer’s Axel Dauchez, YouTube’s Patrick Walker, Rackspace’s Robert Scoble, Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka, Amazon’s Steve Boom and Eventbrite’s Renaud Visage. Startups are being invited to apply via the Midemlab site, with a deadline of 31 October.