Two music trade festivals coming to Germany in September may help invigorate the country's declining music market: Popkomm in Berlin and the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg. Both fairs are being supported by six-figure Euro amounts from the municipalities.
Berlin's Popkomm runs Sept. 7-9 and will feature more than 50 panels dealing with everything from cloud launches to new distribution conceptions. Popkomm, a mixture of conference, trade fair and music events, is held in 62 clubs across Berlin, with performances by more than 300 DJs, musicians and bands from 16 countries. Among them are artists such as Gillian Grassie (USA), Syndicate (Australia), Napoleon IIIrd (UK) and Alex Rintu (India).
Dr. Ralf Kleinhenz, managing director of Popkomm told Billboard: "On the site of the legendary former Tempelhof Airport presentations, networking events, seminars and meetings will take place as well many live performances of promising newcomers." The music events are part of the Berlin Music Week, which will feature top international acts until Sept. 11.
The Popkomm "Media Gate" panels cover the whole spectrum of the music business 2.0. Regine Haschka-Helmer, "Media Gate" organizer and CEO of Seedlab, told Billboard: "We want to offer young companies and startups the possibility to make contacts with possible business partners and investors in order to push the development of their companies. This also applies for the analysis of the cloud-streaming business. Our goal is to show with best practice models the transparency of new digital distribution and marketing services and how more value can be made."
The Popkomm conference ends with the "Live Music Conference," where concert promotion problems will be discussed. Keynote speaker Melvin Benn is the managing director of London-based event agency Festival Republic. On the same day, Austria and Switzerland will make presentations to Popkomm participants.
Popkomm last year had 7,000 attendees from 20 countries. The conference fee is €280 (about $400) for three days.
The Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, from Sept. 22-24, is one of the biggest club festivals in Germany. Acts from all over the world perform, including Moon Duo (USA), The Good Natured (UK), Brasstronaut (Canada), Brooke Fraser (New Zealand), The Jezabels (Australia) and the Handsome Furs (Canada). The organizers have rented 10 pubs centrally-located in the famous Red Light District.
Detlef Schwarte, one of the organizers, expects 2,000 participants from 25 countries, among them Canada, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands and France. The accreditation fee is 149 euros ($215) for three days. One hundred speakers from 10 countries will be featured on the panels.
The Future of Live Entertainment will be discussed with Barry Dickins (UK), concert promoter Emma Hogan (ITB, UK), Rense Van Kessel (Friendly Fire Netherlands) and Alexander Kralisch ( Melt! Booling, Germany). German music publishers will also make presentations for the international participants. More than 20 organizations from all over the world will attend, among them The International Music Managers Forum (IMMF) and Yourope, a cooperation of 60 European festivals.
For Schwarte, a hot topic is the presentation by U.S. journalist and former Billboard editor Robert Levine, based on his book "Free Ride: How the Internet is Destroying the Culture Business and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back."
Philip Ginthör, CEO of Sony Music GSA in Munich said to Billboard: "We have great interest in both fairs. They promote the networking and are important communication platforms for all industry players.
Music publisher Prof. Dr. Rolf Budde in Berlin and member of the advisory board of the collecting society GEMA said to Billboard: "The economic situation of the music business in the past years has not really motivated the business to attend trade fairs. Today it is important to communicate with other business people, to improve the know-how with interesting conference subjects and concerts by reputable artists."