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OPINION: Musikmesse 2016 is the most important outing in the show's history

Daniel Gumble
OPINION: Musikmesse 2016 is the most important outing in the show's history

MI Pro editor, Daniel Gumble, on why this year’s Musikmesse is the most important outing in the show’s history…

This time last year, rumours were beginning to circulate regarding the future of the Musikmesse Frankfurt show. Speculation over its format for 2016 was rife. Some had heard the show was moving to a later date in the year, others suggested it was set to transform into a domestic consumer show.

Matters weren’t helped by the fact that details of the impedning changes weren’t revealed until the show was underway. Upon arriving on the opening day, each stand I visited appeared to have caught wind of various forms of second-hand information. With each booth came a fresh set of questions. ‘What have you heard’? ‘When is it taking place next year’? ‘Is it going consumer only’?

Now, 12 months on and two days before opening – sister event Prolight+Sound is already underway, of course – we have a far clearer picture of what to expect.
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For those in need of a quick recap as to what exactly the ‘new concept’ entails, this is what you need to know.

The show will now be open to the public for the full duration and takes place from Thursday, April 7th to Sunday, April 10th. It has also relocated to the western section of the Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre. This essentially means that Prolight+Sound has switched locations with Musikmesse and has also shifted its date, overlapping with Musikmesse and taking place from Tuesday, April 5th to Friday, April 8th. That’s about it in a nutshell.

There has also been a couple of internal reshuffles, but the headline news for the trade, and the bit that’s had tongues wagging pretty much non-stop since last year’s outing, is the new public opening hours. Naturally, some have viewed this as a major concern. How can dealers, manufacturers and suppliers get down to business when there’s a gaggle of kids shredding away and doing their best Steve Vai impression on every stand?

Of course, Musikmesse has been keen to quell suggestions that the show is no longer fit for B2B purpose by introducing a raft of new business features, which will be reserved exclusively for trade visitors. These include areas like the ‘Business Meets Business’ area that facilitates business meetings in a quiet and relaxed environment, along with the Musikmesse Insider programme, which offers VIP facilities for MI retailers.

Organisers have also added the new Business Academy, which is ‘aimed specifically at the needs of the musical instrument sector and thus oriented towards subjects of particular relevance to the sector’.

In essence, Messe is hoping to achieve what would be a world-first in the MI industry – a major international show that caters for and meets the needs of trade and consumer visitors alike. It’s a lofty ambition and one that, in all likelihood, will be extremely difficult to achieve in one year.

However, if organisers are able to negotiate this challenging balancing act, the result could potentially pay huge dividends; not just for organisers but for the industry as a whole. If the show can maintain its traditionally high number of international trade visitors and bolster that with a vast domestic consumer audience, we could be looking at a world-beater.

The key for Musikmesse this year is to convince those B2B visitors that it still has significant trade worth. If it can do that, and if the various trade features that have been announced over the past 12 months deliver quality industry facilities and content, then it could be on to a winner.

If not, one wouldn't be surprised to see yet more major changes implemented ahead of Musikmesse 2017.

So, whether you’re getting behind the new concept or are doubtful as to its sustainability, one thing that can’t be argued is that this is the most important and, indeed, pivotal show in Musikmesse’s 36-year history. For now, it’s all eyes on Frankfurt.

Check out our '10 things you need to know' guide to Musikmesse 2016 here.

Tags: musikmesse , Opinion , Musikmesse 2016

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