The attempts for a revival of the German music fair Popkomm under the "Berlin Music Week" banner next year are being hindered by a conflict between the city of Berlin and the music industry.

In June 2009, the October edition of Popkomm in Berlin was canceled due to a lack of interest in Germany and abroad. The new proposal for a trade event was made in September (Billboard.biz, Sept. 16) with the support of the city of Berlin, but there is now disagreement on the way forward.

"The plans do not show that the people in charge have an international event relevant to the market in mind," says Dieter Gorny, CEO of the music industry association BVMI.

According to Gorny, the planned Berlin Music week is another local event as in other German cities such as the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg or the c/o pop event in Cologne.

"The music industry demands Popkomm [should be a] leading international event with an international future think-tank with prominent panellists, where for example Apple boss Steve Jobs can present his ideas about the use of music in the future," he says.

Gorny states that a real Popkomm will only take place with the music industry if Berlin is willing to set a sign as international music capital. His main criticism is that the BVMI is not involved in the planning of the Berlin Music Week, which will be the umbrella event of Popkomm.

Wolfgang Hanebrink, chairman and head of commercial development GSA (Germany, Switzerland, Austria) at EMI Music Germany in Cologne, commented: "EMI Music Germany presently does not see a reason to double-check the decision made a couple of years ago not to participate at Popkomm." Other executives of the majors, the Berlin fair and the city of Berlin were not willing to comment the future of Popkomm.

Sources closed to the industry report great concerns about the comeback of Popkomm. "The relation between costs and benefit do not make sense, especially in Berlin," says a leading executive of a major company.

Popkomm started in Düsseldorf in 1989, it moved to Cologne in 1990 and to Berlin in 2003. Last year, there had been massive criticism from record companies, music publishers and concert promoters concerning the structure of Popkomm. Sony CEO Edgar Berger had criticized the fact that music no longer formed the main focal point of Popkomm. Sony and EMI withdrew from the fair.

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