2019’s Musikmesse: In search of a new identity?
MIN’s Neil Golding reports back on this year’s event
There’s no getting away from the fact that Frankfurt’s annual Musikmesse (or Musikmesse & Prolight + Sound as they bill it these days) has changed out of recognition to old hands. The question is – what has it become? The answer seems to be multi-faceted event that perhaps has yet to find a new identity.
The first thing that strikes the MI orientated visitor is just how few exhibitors there are now from the Rock and Roll brands and that even among the few that were exhibiting, how few had new products on show. There was not one major guitar or bass brand in the Electric & Bass Guitar section, which had been returned to Hall 3 along with drums – and with just a curtain to divide the two sectors. What there were, however, were many brands completely new to me, hailing from China. Clearly the links between the Messe’s organisers and the Shanghai show had borne fruit, to such an extent that it is now dominated by these companies. If, as seems to be the case, the organisers are trying to attract domestic consumers as visitors, what will they make of the almost complete absence of major MI brands and their replacement by Chinese brands of which they’ve never heard of? Not much, probably!
As was said last year, however, there is still business to be done at the show and some of the smaller exhibitors I spoke with confirmed that. Woodwind, brass and keys were better represented than their Rock and Roll brethren but even so, the atmosphere felt somewhat flat.
In contrast, the DJ, light and sound and Pro Audio booths had a definite buzz and in stark contrast also had a lot more footfall. It’s clear where the strength of this show now lies and it isn’t with MI.
Perhaps Yamaha came to the same conclusion in advance? It had certainly chosen a different approach for 2019, placing its emphasis very firmly in Hall 8,0, the Pro Audio space, and being conspicuous by its absence from the MI area.
Let’s be clear, whatever reservations the trade might have, there were still plenty of visitors flocking to year’s event, and that can only be a good thing. But were they the sort of visitors traditional exhibitors wanted to see? Have the organisers efforts to turn the show into a music festival meant that non-musicians now make up a proportion of those who pay to get in? Who knows? And what of trade visitors? Of those who came, how many were truly international and how mainly just from nearby European countries?
In my humble opinion is, Frankfurt is currently trying to be too many things to too many diverse sorts of people. Having said that, this might work for some and MIN would very much value comments from readers for whom it did what they wanted – or, of course, for those for it didn’t. Did it enable you to do business with the trade, or inform new consumers of your products and innovations? As for next year? The jury’s out.
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