I’ve just been to CeBit sounds!, the newest competitor on the new emerging market of Popkomm descendant events.
CeBit itself was suffering a sharp decline, and was confronted by bad press, critizising a lack of vision. CeBit organizers had to act and find new hubs – for selling floor space or getting better press again. Music always is good for beautiful PR relevant photo footage and I think they expected to sell to the music industry too (every company I talked too told me they got the space for free as a first year teaser). So the reasons for this coalition are obvious. But who was actually there and what did they get out of it?
First of all, there was no content providers present. The only music related booth was the German Association of Independent Music Companies vut.
Apart from that I’ve spotted about 10 companies, a random selection: The T-com based download/ music portal musicload, online music TV YAVIDO, Sony Ericsson, Acer (but I couldn’t figure out what their objectives were), myspace, Avid, doesn’t sound too bad, but all display/ branding only, no executives.
When you entered the hall (or better the half hall), it really did look like a remainder sale rather than a trade show. In the very next hall, an e-sports event, sponsored by intel took place and few thousand kids gathered on a tuesday noon to see their stars and check out the newest games. Pale Korean Gamers were treated like Rock Stars and the hall was crowded while pro-gamers presented their own device and hardware product lines – get the gear of the pros, a headphone for 150,-EUR. That much to anyone saying, juvenile consumers do not spend money on entertainment…
Let’s take CeBit sounds! as the final proof that trade shows do not match the requirements of the music industry. CeBit still is a big and international thing that attracts a lot of affiliated business. But even giving away floor space for free did neither convince the music industry nor IT, nor anyone else to show up.
The center of the hall was a huge stage for showcases that mainly will be used for parties at night, when the IT crowd is switched to fun mode.
The only thing that seemed promising was the panels, that do cover some very pressing issues: App till you drop, DIY marketing vs. professional marketing, cloudy skies for the recording industry? (got it? Cloud Computing, Cloud Storage, …).
Face it, the music industry cannot afford to rent floor space any more, to spend money on show off parties, on branding and ads. What they need to do is to talk, to listen, to learn, to debate with the companies that drill in their native market. And this is workshop and conference business.
To be honest, I thought the combination of IT and music is a good idea, a no brainer. But I was thinking in terms of communicating and consolidating, not in a new exhibition segment…