First edition of Berlin Music Week happened last week, time for a first resume.
The last days I received the usual constant stream of news ‘organizers see it a great success’, ‘organizers receive overwhelming positive feedback’, ‘sold out’, and so on. The actual outcome for the music industry will be visible in a few weeks time, when deals actually take place, when contacts prove reliable and interested.
Interesting that the media coverage in b2b magazines is close to zero. Most of it is simple copy/paste of press releases issued by the organizers themselves, some presentations (due to media cooperations), others ignore the event completely.
On the other hand you read quite different views in the general media, but still these do not really concern the music industry itself or their outcome of Berlin Music Week. A common argument is, that illegal downloads harm the industry, therefore there was no Popkomm 2009 and for the very same reason everybody is back in 2010, embracing and involving consumers as an important step to solve this issue.
The revolutionary new Popkomm concept:
Germany still is one of the biggest music export markets to foreign nations. Companies from North America, Australia, Brazil, Japan, or from the EU would come to Berlin, if Berlin Music Week would offer them a decent business opportunity. This is a fact, based on many statements from companies and export organizations.
To do so, no one needs or wants public or consumers on site. What for? To convince them in 1 on 1 talks not to download illegal content? To hand them promotional copies of recorded material the label has no distributor or publisher in Germany yet (which to find is why they are actually here)?
Public in return is interested in seeing artists or getting new CDs/Albums maybe some merch or other items they desire.
Business professionals are not the people they want to see sitting around in business meetings.
Also it was criticized that there were only export organizations and no companies. That is true. And sad, but it only indicates that the concept of Berlin Music Week and Popkomm couldn’t convince any companies to come over yet. Not that international trade events are not important to the industry. For example did A2IM, the US Association of independent music businesses assert that their members are not interested in any festival or public day at all! They would only come for business meetings. Same with Brazil.
On the other hand, Berlin senate paid high subsidies to organize Berlin Music Week in order to support the local industry. A big share of the budget was spent on ads in German newspapers and magazines, for a obviously b2c campaign.
If the objective would have been to attract tourists to Berlin, that is fine, but then why should this be paid from the budget for supporting the Berlin creative industry?
I fell like there wasn’t a clear focus on what to achieve with Berlin Music Week. Installing a new festival or supporting the industry. And as long, as this is not clear and defined, I don’t see any future for this.