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INTERVIEW: 'Musikmesse focus remains unequivocally on trade visitors'

Daniel Gumble
INTERVIEW: 'Musikmesse focus remains unequivocally on trade visitors'

2016 looks set to be a landmark year for the annual Musikmesse show. Having announced its ‘new concept’ in 2015, this year’s outing will see a number of key changes made to the show’s format.

There’s the much talked about fact that the Messe Convention Centre will be opening its doors to the public for the duration of the show for the very first time, while the Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound exhibition halls are effectively trading places.

What’s more, the opening dates and times have been altered, with Prolight + Sound running from Tuesday, April 5th to Friday, April 8th and Musikmesse taking place from Thursday, April 7th to Sunday, April 10th.

However, since the changes were announced, the event’s organisers have not only been quick to reassure the international MI community that it will lose none of its traditional business focus, but have also introduced several new business oriented features.
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MI Pro editor, Daniel Gumble, caught up with Stephan Kurzawski, senior vice president, Messe Frankfurt, to find out exactly what visitors can expect from Musikmesse 2016…

Daniel Gumble: 2016 is a year of significant change for Musikmesse, with the ‘new concept’ being introduced. What can business visitors expect from this year’s show?

Stephan Kurzawski: “Our aim with the introduction of the new Musikmesse concept is to make the fair even more attractive for all groups of visitors. As in the past, the focus of the fair remains unequivocally on trade visitors – and Musikmesse 2016 offers more services and facilities for this target group than ever before, e.g., the Business Academy, a high-grade programme of lectures especially for professionals in the musical-instrument trade.

“Additionally, they can gain inspiration for the musical-instrument outlet of the future at the ‘Future Store. With the new ‘Business meets Business’ hall, we have created a focal point for trade visitors where they have the opportunity to conduct business discussions with customers and suppliers in a quiet atmosphere.

“Also, the ‘Musikmesse Insider’ VIP programme is an attractive package of benefits for buyers – it includes free admission to the fair and other exclusive services to enable them to make maximum use of the ‘Business meets Business’ Hall.

“Last but not least, we are launching a new matchmaking service to bring retailers and exhibitors together effectively.”


DG: What would you say to those who fear for the trade offering in light of the decision to open the show up to the public?

SK: “A clear message: no B2B components have been lost; we have simply added some supplementary facilities and services. Musikmesse is and will remain a business platform. And apart from the ‘Business meets Business’ hall, all the other halls will, of course, continue to be magnets for retailers where they can see and test new products, as well as cultivate their contacts with exhibitors.

“Moreover, this year’s Musikmesse will provide more touch points with consumers. And it is increasing its commitment to the subject of young people and music making. After all, as the showroom for the sector, it is also our job to promote and consolidate active music making, especially among young people, and thus generate positive impulses for the whole industry.”  


DG: What has the response to the new concept been like from retailers and exhibitors?

SK: “Both exhibitors and trade visitors are showing great interest in the new business services and facilities. We have also received much positive feedback about the new sequence of days. Smaller retailers in particular appreciate the opportunity to visit Musikmesse on the Sunday, i.e., outside normal business hours, so they do not have to shut their shops for the day. The sector’s companies are also grateful for our numerous activities aimed at bringing retailers from all over Europe and further afield to Frankfurt. As always when major changes are made, there has also been some criticism, of course.

“However, this gives us the chance to make contact with exactly these people, to correct misunderstandings and take any constructive ideas on board. In this regard, we have gone to great lengths over the past months and will continue to do so until the fair and beyond.”


DG: A number of internal changes have taken place at Musikmesse over the past year; most notably the departures of Cordelia von Gymnich and Kai Hattendorf. Do you think these changes will have any impact upon the future format of the show?

SK: “No – we continued unwaveringly on course for implementing and breathing life into the new concept. After all, the team working for Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound has not been changed. Moreover, as a member of the Executive Board, I have been associated with the team for many years and, last year, I have extended my involvement.  


DG: The Prolight + Sound element of the show appears to be faring very well at the moment. How is the pro audio sector performing in comparison with the MI market?

SK: “We are very pleased with the positive way Prolight + Sound is developing. However, fairs always represent a mirror image of their markets. Thus, the professional audio and event technology sectors benefited from powerful driving forces in recent years, while the musical-instrument sector has been characterised by ups and downs. In view of this, we are pleased that the climate in the musical instrument trade has brightened somewhat in recent times and, of course, that there have been so many innovations to be seen there, as will once again be the case at this year’s Musikmesse.”

For more information on this year’s show, click here.

Tags: musikmesse , interview , Interviews , Musikmesse 2016 , Stephan Kurzawski , meese

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