Popkomm 2007 opens its doors in Berlin


BERLIN -- The annual Popkomm music trade fair has kicked off in Berlin.

A panel of German political heavyweights inaugurated the Wednesday-Friday conference, which this year carries the strap-line "plug into success."

One of the buzz topics currently doing the rounds at the ICC venue is the pending unveiling of the awaited Initiative Musik, a private/public project which has been created with an aim to promote culture and creativity across European borders.

The panellists used the platform to whet the delegates' appetite. "Export promotion will be key to the initiative. And it is not a closed shop, but it will be open to further participation," hinted Bernd Neumann, minister of state to the federal chancellor, federal government commissioner for culture and the media.

Initiative Music, which this year is expected to invest €1 million ($1.35 million) in funding toward boosting the profile of German productions abroad, will be unveiled tomorrow.

Noting that CDs are increasingly becoming a tool to market live performances, Klaus Wowereit, governing mayor of Berlin, commented, "There are always challenges in the music industry. There is quite a dynamic to be found. The future of the industry is the focus of the show."

Germany is host country of the 19th annual confab, which is hosting 868 exhibitions from 57 countries, explained Raymund Hosch, CEO of Popkomm parent Messe Berlin. The night program will feature performances from more than 2,000 artists.

Hosch summed up his expectations for Popkomm 2007. "Popkomm shows the changes that are happening in the music world," he said. "And the topic of live music is coming to the fore. I would like to see great music coverage, interesting talks and artists discovered."