"1a marketing platform for our products"

There are a number of novelties, changes in the concept and in the programme. Even though SOMM Managing Director Daniel Knöll still sees potential for optimisation, he is convinced: "The course taken by the sister fairs Prolight + Sound and Musikmesse is right." He says: "Europe needs such a platform and stage for the music industry".

Daniel Sebastian Knöll, Geschäftsführer von SOMM – Society Of Music Merchants e.V.

There are a number of innovations at the Frankfurt Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound this year. How do you assess the development?

It was very important for us and the industry to combine the fairs. There were a lot of discussions about this beforehand, but I think it's important that Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound take place in the same period. In the end, what belongs together comes together. It's about focusing on these theme worlds - and that has now been implemented. Now we have to see what we can make of it together and how successfully we will continue the story.

How do you assess the potential of the Musikmesse Plaza on Saturday?

In the association, we have given a lot of thought to an additional fifth day, which will focus on the end consumer. Basically, I think it's a good idea. Because that's what the industry has always called for: more separation between B2B and B2C. This is achieved by saying that everything is B2B until Friday and that the trade fair opens to the consumer on Friday afternoon. This fifth day can be used by companies who, for example, only want to maintain their image with the end consumer. The crux of the whole thing is that it will be an open day. This could be a problem for dealers - especially from the region.

Even though some well-known companies are again holding back as exhibitors - quite a few industry personalities are clearly committed to Musikmesse Frankfurt, they say: "We need the fair and the location".

Exactly the same opinion. We need the European location. Musikmesse / Prolight + Sound continues to be the largest trade fair in Europe. Europe needs such a platform and stage for the music industry. This is enormously important in order to compete worldwide and strengthen the market in Europe. And we have to go back to being able to proudly claim that: This is the largest trade fair in the world. Why did we let them take that away from us?

What is SOMM planning to do at Musikmesse 2019?

We will of course be there again with a stand. We want to continue along the path we took last year of being a central platform for networking and dialogue between industry participants. It is about bringing together manufacturers, distributors and retailers. We clearly see this as our task. We will continue to be the driving force. This is an important aspect for us to point out and offer future opportunities for the industry We will be there for the industry as an information and training partner. And of course we will again be represented with our European School Music Prize ESP and EMIDA. This year we are expanding our "New Generation League" network event for young managers in the industry by organizing it together with the VPLT and thus offering an even larger platform for networking and exchanging experiences. What will be new is that we will offer a career day. We have noticed that the industry lacks junior staff and specialists. That's why we took direct action and set up a Career Day. These are all projects to bring the industry together in Frankfurt.

What are you most looking forward to in Frankfurt?

For me, Frankfurt is always a class reunion, even if unfortunately not so many people come to this meeting. But this is also where I personally see my task: to bring people back to Frankfurt - to convince them that we need this trade fair location. Of course I'm looking forward to our highlight events such as the EMIDA awards ceremony, for which there were more applicants this year than ever before, or our New Generation League. For me, however, the focus is always on the people and the many discussions we have at the fair, the contacts and the cultivation of contacts. We use the fair very much as a communication tool. I'm looking forward to everything that takes place there - whether it's a festival or the business area is not decisive.

What would the MI industry be without the Frankfurt Musikmesse?

That's a good question. Well, the MI industry wouldn't be where it is today if the Frankfurt Musikmesse hadn't existed. That's how you can sum it up. It is a 1 a marketing platform for our products. It is a communicator. Whenever the fair takes place, we always have an increased attention for the topic of music and music making in general. We wouldn't be able to do that from the industry alone. Above all, the fair was a central, international sales platform. It would be desirable to put more focus on this again. But a lot has changed and even more will change in the future. That's why the fair is currently reinventing itself and I think the movers and shakers are on the right track. 

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