Berlin Music Week 2010 + Popkomm is assuming shape

First news leaked about a Public Day at the trade show, a festival that is not linked to the trade show and an amateur conference.

trade show

Messe Berlin always assured they wanted to maintain the trade show. And this is hat they’ll do. Only this. After Popkomm decided to move off the Messe halls into the city, The Station was booked as the perfect location. But it seems, that this venue, that was already booked for 2009 is out of the race now in favour of the former airield of Templhof. The new move is kind of inapprehensible if you know that the booking fee for 2009 was already paid.
The fair will happen Wednesday to Friday, as usual with the Friday to be open to – YEAH – open to the public again! So you export bureaus, bring loads of pens, stickers and give aways with you. And bear in mind – the new director of Popkomm was running YOU, a ringtone and pimple cream event before – so he’ll have a biased access to certain public.


The new conference is going to be outsourced to the organisers of a2n – that had it’s debut this year and failed. They blog about themselves

‘I don’t intend us to be held as martyrs for the good cause. But – anyone, please try to keep above facts in mind when comparing a2n to other conventions and conferences. Martyr? Erm, no, but no thanks. I’m not into carrying wooden crosses… I’m very much into having 10 weeks of freaking fun and getting to know a whole bunch of fabulous people!’

No doubt about that, but how will these guys be able to find international keynote speakers like Popkomm did with Wim Wenders, Robin Gibb, Peter Jenner, Billy Bragg, Carl Leighton Pope, Lou Pearlman, just to name a few.

Also Popkomm already had started a closed door think tank thingy, that was highly appreciated amongst all the participating industries. I spent quite a lot of time thinking why Messe Berlin quit all this to now restart it on amateur level…

The Festival

will take place friday to sunday. Correct – this means it will be focused on the public, and not on the companies that travel around the globe to deal music. Insiders spread the word, Berlin based agency Melt Booking, subsidiary of music magazine INTRO, and organizer of Melt Festival will be in charge of the Berlin Music Week festival. I see that an agency that organises one, not to say, the hottest festival in Germany will do the booking, this will end in a great club festival. No doubt. But how will such an agency deal with the demands the trade show and conference organisers have towards the festival. Does it make any sens to unlink this three sectors that are so interactive?

But that’s not all…

Messe Berlins CEO Göke asserted the reason for postponing Popkomm was that Universal and Sony Music both wanted to occupy the same stand space. To avoid to treat one of the competitors preferentially and maybe loose one exhibitor as a result, the whole event was skipped. The official version was that Popkomm was suffering from an 80% (!) drop in applications in 2009. Do you really believe this number?
And if you read both arguments in a row it sounds like any reason would have been welcome and fit. Being that well informed about what happens in his own company, Mr. Göke was rewarded by being reelected as CEO and a raise in his salary from 300K EUR to 400K, plus bonuses.

But the farce is just gaining momentum.
Now comes Dieter Gorny, head of the German ifpi, again. In an interview with dpa he lamented his Association has not been asked and is therefore not involved in the planning of Berlin Music Week. Well he was involved in postponing the event, and now he is out? Erm…
But at the same time he says, Germany needs an international event including an international Think Tank and international keynotes. As far as I remember, this already existed and happened. Or do the former manager of The Who and Pink Floyd, the president of CISAC Robin Gibb, not suit you well? Or are you just planing to bring Popkomm back to Collogne?

Popkomm seems to be cursed to be on a downward spiral

2 thoughts on “Berlin Music Week 2010 + Popkomm is assuming shape

  1. Thanks for quoting my blog when referring to a2n.

    But… I guess you can’t really claim a2n failed. We didn’t expect the number of visitors we were able to attract. Obviously, it wasn’t as much as Popkomm attracts. But with only 10 weeks of preparation and no budgets it’s more than just great to see 1.000+ people visiting the convention.

    Moreover, we didn’t address the traditional music industry but a more grassroots audience. The intention definitely was *not* to create an alternative playground for the big players but a new one for artists, fans, and everyone involved in supporting artists. It’s an alternative to Popkomm in its goals.

    Regarding keynote speakers: Again, having only 10 weeks put a harsh limit to a2n in 2009. Actually, reading my article you quoted above you will find we had Julie-Borchardt-Young via Skype (unfortunately the line kept being interrupted), as well as several big names who cancelled within the last few days due to various reasons. Jim Griffin, Melvin Benn, and Wim Wenders. At least three other high-profile speakers I contacted couldn’t arrange for a time slot since the invitation a few weeks before just came too late. But, they demanded to be notified for 2010. Mike Masnick mentioned it himself on TechDirt. The other two, I won’t identify without their consent. Hope you understand. Cancellations & declined invitations – it’s the way event organisation is.

    Ah, I just forgot… while we did *not* address “traditional”, big music industry, we in fact did so regarding DIY artists. I think we might agree upon saying that this discipline is dominated (amongst others) by Trent Reznor, Jill Sobule, and Amanda Palmer. We were about to arrange something with Jill who unfortunately had to postpone her visit to Europe (that was planned independently from a2n). We didn’t approach Trent – I think he was still on the final NIN tour.

    Yet I contacted Amanda. One phone call, a few emails, and within 10 days there she was (plus she brought Neil Gaiman who joined her on stage). She did a donation only concert, plus a panel on DIY marketing together with Georgia Wonder from UK. The panel saw less fans but an interested audience who were very satisfied with what they got.

    Btw, a2n will be back in 2010 as a part of Berlin Music Week. This time backed up by more time, a better budget, and new partners.

    One more thing I told my readers in my article you didn’t mention – apart from speakers and participants of the a2n, there were quite a few visitors we even didn’t knew who kept expressing how great this whole thing worked out. They never experienced an atmosphere or discussions like that anywhere else. They liked a2n. Is that a failure?

    Popkomm/Gorny: I think here we might really agree. 😉 These days, he tends to react like being offended what the “new” Popkomm is about to do. This guy turned into a person giving bizarre comments.

  2. Hi
    don’t get me wrong. I do not criticize other peoples work and dedication out of a lack of respect. Every person that gives some heart and fire into a project does deserve our respect. Even the worst project done is far better than the most brilliant unrealised plan.
    When I said a2n failed I wasn’t thinking in terms of quantity. I can meet 100 people and get no deal signed but just met one person that’ll save my turnover for a whole year. You are absolutely right, that 10 weeks is not a long period to get an event organised, and it is nothing if you need to start from scratch. So what you’ve done was cool, 2 thumps up.
    It’s a question of what objectives one follows.
    If you want to discuss – a2n was a very entertaining event (yes I attended) and fun. Guess that is what you meant with your grassroots reference. Point taken, as you said you adressed a bunch of cutting edge entrepreneurs, DIYers, and people seeking new untrodden paths.
    But imagine what requirements an A&R from, let’s say Japan, or Brazil, or South Africa that used to come over for Popkomm will bring forth to a2n? Accuracy, information and exact timelines. And of course that you deliver all his main contacts and potential business partners as a service.
    When travelling around the globe for an event, you need to exactly know what will happen when and where and who will be around. You must be able to identify your contacts before – if I start setting up meetings on site I’m doomed to all this windbags. A missed showcase, a missed panel, a missed appointment do cost you actual money. The idea of DIY is charming but does not work for business professionels that follow plain objectives and not seeking a somewhat increase of knowledge or broader horizon.
    You call a2n an ‘alternative to Popkomm in its goals’ but what will all this professionels respond when the organisers start their acquisition, convinve people to travel to Berlin Music Week next year, and tell them there is no business platform but a discussion forum? I don’t blame you, as your thing is great, but does it really fit as a substitute for an international music trade show?
    I’m very curious what this all will develop into and keep my fingers crossed for your plans, and I’ll definitely bee seen there again.

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