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CD sales, piracy hot topics at Popkomm

2.5 mil attend Euro music biz confab in Germany

BERLIN — At Cologne’s 11th annual Popkomm, Europe’s biggest music biz gathering, the focus was on the growing piracy of CDs and dropping sales in Germany.

Industry bigwigs got words of support from leading politicians such as Peer Steinbrueck, finance minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, who reassured attendees that Germany’s music industry could rely on the government.

Steinbrueck said continued dialogue between the industry and politicians would secure a competent political lobby for the music business.

International offensive

Christian Bruhn, head of the performing rights organization GEMA, called for an international offensive against the growing wave of digital bootleggers and called on the European Union and the U.S. to do more to protect copyrights on the Internet.

Echoing the sentiment, Thomas Stein, head of Germany’s phonographic business association (Bundesverband der Phonographischen Wirtschaft) demanded modern legislation that would fit today’s technological innovations.

While German consumers bought nearly 115 million CDs in the first half of the year, sales figures dropped 10% to DM 2 billion ($1.08 million) compared to the same period last year, which puts the blame on the growing number of home pirates.

Around 800 companies from 25 countries in addition to about 2.5 million visitors attended the four-day music fair.

Presentations and attractions at Popkomm ranged from up and coming acts and modern musical trends and styles to radio formats, the increasing role of multimedia and the latest in technological innovation. Some 300 bands also took the opportunity to play gigs around the city over the weekend.

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