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I know I’m late to the party, but all the bleeps and bloops of SUPERBOOTH16 left me in a sort of euphoric, dizzy state for days.
Then came Musikmesse 2016, and that left me even more exhausted!
We will have more about some of the products we’ve seen, but in the meantime, I’d like to share with you a few thoughts about the events (from a music production/electronic music tools point of view, natch).
Were you at SUPERBOOTH and/or Musikmesse? Please leave a comment below.
3 Reasons Why SUPERBOOTH16 Was ‘Better’ Than Musikmesse 2016
- Location: Berlin IS the city when it comes to electronic music and music technology companies in Europe (despite the whole ‘Berlin is over’ spiel). The word scene, once in a while, makes complete sense here. Berlin is (still) a thriving hub of artists, companies, developers, studios, etc. SUPERBOOTH, created and organized by Schneiders Buero’s team (a reference name since years, for the whole electronic music community) is an almost inevitable consequence of all that. Sorry Frankfurt, Berlin wins hands down here.
- Economy: every company told me SUPERBOOTH and Berlin are a much more affordable option. Frankfurt (aka Dallas plus Schnitzel, quoting Chris Randall) and Musikmesse are simply too expensive and (for many) not worth it anymore. This year at Musikmesse there were very few hardware and software synth companies, and even big names like KORG and YAMAHA had a smaller ‘footprint’ compared to their glorious past. Frankfurt’s economy relies heavily on the Messe, but that business model seems obsolete. Adapt or die, right? Don’t get me wrong, there are several companies that still find their presence at Musikmesse worthwhile, but it’s clearly a descending trend.
- Community: I mentioned the word scene already, and that brings us to the feeling expressed by many of the exhibitors and visitors I have talked to. SUPERBOOTH looked more like a community event than a typical trade fair. Very few business suits and fake smiles around, just a group of people that share a passion for electronic music and instruments. One more proof that you don’t need to be at NAMM or Messe to do some healthy business.
3 Small Things That SUPERBOOTH Needs To Improve
- Space: The Funkhaus is a fascinating location, steeped in history. A welcome change from the usual, boring environment associated to trade fairs. That said, next year I would love to see bigger stands and some kind of sound isolation. At times, it was really hard to hear what was going on and talk to the people in the booths. More headphones and lower volumes, please. Needless to say, Musikmesse can count on much more space (actually, too much space, my shoes are worn out!) BUT this year in HALL 9.1 it was literally ‘loudness war’, so regarding noise, I’d say it was a tie.
- Software companies: this year SUPERBOOTH had U-he, Bitwig, Ableton, NI, MusicAppManufaktur and a few others. Considering Schneiders Buero’s hardware-focused background, I wasn’t expecting more than that. But if more software companies join next year, then the whole production/recording area of Musikmesse will be in serious trouble.
- WiFi & Food: there was no WIFi network available to bloggers/journalists (so no live updates for us this year). Also, it may seem irrelevant, but trade fairs are exhausting and SUPERBOOTH included a night program with talks and performances. Fine, except for the fact that after 8 PM or so there were no food ‘n’ drink options available in the building. At some point, I couldn’t help it but leave and whip up some midnight spaghetti at home!
Futurology: The Next 5 Years?
SUPERBOOTH was a success, and it’s clearly going to be bigger and better, with many more companies and possibly new themes/areas. Even if I believe we’re in a sort of ‘Eurorack Bubble’, this event has all the elements to become a staple of the music technology industry in the next years.
NAMM will keep being the main spot for product announcements and new releases (for mid and big-sized companies that can afford it), while I’m afraid that Musikmesse’s slow negative trend will continue.
I also believe that we will see more small-scale music technology events around the world, with a sort of ‘user group meets trade fair’ kind of vibe.
In short, more sustainability, less frills. Exciting times, albeit less ‘spectacular’ than what we were used to. I’m all for that, and you?