The German music industry generated sales of over €5.5 billion ($7.01 billion) in 2009 in all categories including recorded music, publishing and live entertainment. The sector has 11,000 companies employing a total of 36,300 people.

Those impressive numbers were reported by Hans Joachim Otto, the parliamentary state minister of the German Federal Ministry of Economics, during the opening speech at Popkomm, the Berlin music industry conference and trade fair.

But the German business, like many others, is threatened by Internet piracy and Otto announced the establishment of an economic dialog to combat Internet piracy.

"Together with the copyright holders and [Internet] providers, we are currently considering models aimed at voluntary cooperation in the interests of protecting authors and strengthening new media," he said. Otto declined to mention any details.

He added that the German federal government wanted to launch an export initiative for music so as to boost exports of cultural and creative products on a global level.

The Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, appealed to the global majors to strengthen their commitment to domestic repertoire, adding that it was dangerous to leave the burden of establishing new artists to the small labels.

After its year off in 2009, Wowereit continued by stating that he was convinced that Popkomm would continue in the years ahead, as it had been successfully integrated within the Berlin Music Week.

Peter Schwenkow, the CEO of Berlin-based live entertainment company DEAG, appeared at the first Popkomm panel held on Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 8) in Berlin. The democratization of marketing and sales channels through the Internet has helped to ensure that talented artists in the music industry are able to launch their careers far more quickly and exert greater influence on their own campaigns, said Schwenkow.

However, Schwenkow cautioned against underestimating the current risks in the music business. He said that although CD and DVD production costs had dropped substantially, costs in the live management sector had exploded as a result of high energy prices and the demands made by performing rights societies.

He went on to say that new artists still needed a team they could trust. Said Schwenkow: "An artist can't do everything himself. He has to accept that he needs a team." DEAG provides label and management services.

According to Felix Haas, CEO and head of product at amiando, a Munich-based service platform for event registration and ticketing, artists can save a lot of money and effort in the organization of their tours by making use of online marketing. He said that the tools made it possible for the organizers of small and mid-size events to provide professional standards of event organization around the world.

"Today, tens of thousands of event organizers are using amiando to handle everything from invitation management to online promotion and participant registration as well as integrated accounting and admission management," he said.

Oliver Sittl, senior A&R officer at the Hamburg-based company Believe Digital, said that digital music stores were entering into contracts directly with artists and bands. Gerrit Schumann, CEO of Music Networx in Cologne added that the Internet has made it easier to reach target groups - especially for niche artists and events.