Germany will host three music fairs in March 2010, taking place in Leipzig, Hannover and Frankfurt.

The concentration of German events is partly explained by organizers of book and computer trade shows opening up their events to make up the decline in attendance from traditional exhibitors.

CeBIT Sounds! is the name of a new music show, being staged from March 2 to March 6, at the international computer fair CeBIT in Hannover. The fair wants to create an international trade show that brings together the music and the IT industries.

The centerpiece is an events stage, which will serve as the venue not only for daily discussions and workshops but also live performances. The stage will be surrounded by exhibits from music and IT companies showcasing their products and services. Details of participating companies have not yet been released.

"It is high time we had an event that unites both industries," declares Ossy Hoppe, managing director of Wizard Promotions Konzertagentur GmbH in Frankfurt, and member of the CeBIT Sounds! advisory board. "CeBIT Sounds! is geared to major and minor recording labels, performing artists, media, brand manufacturers, music hardware and software producers as well as digital start-ups and Web-based music businesses."

Joel Berger, managing director of MySpace GSA & Northern Europe in Berlin, announced that his company will participate at CeBIT Sounds!. He claimed that MySpace represents one of the world's main bridges between new technologies and the international music community and has a leadership role in helping develop new business models for individual music marketing and sales.

The association of the German music industry (BVMI) in Berlin describes the CeBIT Sounds! Event as being a very positive step, in combining the digital future of music and bringing together the industry and future partners.

"The IT industry finally has understood that their products have no use without content," said BVMI's managing director, Stefan Michalk in Berlin, in a statement. "That the two industries depend on each other can be discussed on the occasion of CeBIT Sounds! in a constructive way."

In 2009 the computer fair CeBIT had a decrease of 20% in attendance to 400,000 visitors. It had 4,300 companies as exhibitors, which was a decrease of 25%.

Meanwhile, the spectrum covered by the Leipzig Book Fair is extended in 2010 to include music publishers. The fair takes place from March 18 to 21. The fair organizers expect that music publishers will present their sheet music in exhibition space totaling 300 square-meters.

"Music has a long tradition in Leipzig. So what could be more natural than to take up this tradition and position the topic of music and music literature at the Leipzig Book Fair?" said Oliver Zille, director of the Leipzig Book Fair. "Opening up to this special interest area but could appeal to new target groups."

In 2009 the exhibitors on the Leipzig book fair decreased from 2,345 to 2,135. According to the fair's information the number of visitors increased from 129,000 to 147,000, a rise of 14%.

The Musikmesse in Frankfurt has been the international fair for musical instruments, sheet music and music production for over 25 years. Musikmesse 2010 will be held in Frankfurt am Main from March 24 to March 27. Musikmesse includes the Prolight + Sound International Trade Fair for Event and Communication Technology, AV Production and Entertainment.

"In Hall 4.2, record labels, music publishers, pressing plants, concert promoters, festivals, virtual marketing platforms, institutions, academies and universities present their products, services and projects for the music world," explained Musikmesse's manager Cornelia von Gymnich. "It is the ideal venue to gain an overview of the market for musical instruments, sheet music and accessories, as well as the services and concepts associated with the music business."

The last Musikmesse had 1,563 exhibitors from 47 countries and around 78,500 visitors. In 2008 they had 112,000 visitors from 126 countries and 1,652 exhibitors.

Music industry reactions on the three fairs are varied.

Sven Meisel, managing director of the Berlin-based publishing company Edition Intro Meisel GmbH, commented: "The idea to bring together IT and music companies at CeBit Sounds! can have a positive development and is worth trying.

"I don't think that it is worthwhile to present sheet music in Leipzig because the Musikmesse in Frankfurt is already established in that field for quite some time. The Musikmesse has already approached the music industry for the last two years, but in vain, because at the end of January MIDEM is taking place. I do not think that it is necessary to attend three fairs in one month."

Bernd Hocke, GM of the independent edel AG in Hamburg, added: "Three new music fairs plus the already existing standards Popkomm and MIDEM [creates] an expensive nonsense of by now crazy dimensions. The music industry is supposed to get together six times per year to prove itself for enormous stand rents. I doubt that the companies of the music industry will join this."