Pop Goes The Conference

After a week of rumours about behind-the-scenes disagreements, Popkomm organisers announced this year’s conference has been canceled because of lack of interest.

Popkomm managing director Dr. Ralf Kleinhenz said the economic situation means the event was expecting “a considerable decline” in attendance, but he promised a revamped Popkomm would return in 2010.

Insiders who would only comment on condition of anonymity reckon the event, which had 843 exhibitors from 52 countries and 14,000 trade visitors in 2008, would have seen this year’s traffic drop by about 40 percent.

This year’s MIDEM, the other major conference originally framed around the recorded music and publishing businesses, also saw numbers fall, while the traditionally live music-oriented gatherings such as Holland’s Eurosonic-Noorderslag and the UK’s ILMC and The Great Escape appear to have thrived.

One of the panel topics at this year’s Popkomm was to be aimed at arming small- and medium-sized businesses with “recession-proof ammunition” in the form of data, facts, handouts and practical knowledge.

Even before the June 19 press conference announcing what the organisers are referring to as “a postponement,” there were rumblings about Popkomm’s format and its long-term home.

“I’m confident that Messe Berlin has no intention of selling the event,” said Popkomm director Katja Gross in response to Pollstar questions about rumours that this year’s postponement may be a prelude to the local authority offloading it.

She said the response to the move to the former postal depot situated just around the corner from Potsdamer Platz had been favourable, and said talk of yet another move to the old airport at Tempelhof or another city was nothing more than talk.

She said anyone who wanted to fill the gap that’s been left in the conference calendar would probably experience the same problems as Popkomm.
She confirmed the cancellation of this year’s event won’t result in anyone losing their jobs.