Berlin to get new music festival

All2gethernow! to challenge mainstream industry

BERLIN — Following the cancellation of the Popkomm music confab this year, Tim Renner, head of local music label Motor Entertainment and former CEO of Universal Music Germany, along with other local players, is looking to set up an alternative international event to replace the trade fair and music festival, which had been scheduled to take place Sept. 16-18.

The Association of the German Music Industry (BVMI) and other organizers pulled the plug on Popkomm in view of what they said were continuing difficulties within the industry and sinking revenues due to Internet piracy.

Open source consultancy agency Newthinking Communications, one of the initiators of the new event, dubbed all2gethernow! Berlin Music Market, said in a statement: “Enough is enough. A single mother in the U.S. is fined $1.9 million in damages for illegally downloading 24 songs from the Internet. The French parliament approves a law that punishes copyright infringement by cutting off Internet access. Dieter Gorny, head of the Association of the German Music Industry, cancels Popkomm with the reason that ‘many companies cannot afford to attend Popkomm because of Internet piracy.'”

Newthinking added that blaming “the Internet for the cancellation showed little understanding of the situation, which demands new alliances and greater networking.”

A longtime critic of the music industry’s business model and its continuing focus on battling piracy, Renner, in an interview with Welt Online last week, said: “Canceling Popkomm out of protest against Internet piracy sounds to me like calling off Christmas in protest against the Berlin winter. The reasoning shows that the majority of the music industry continues to look for guilty parties rather than solutions.”

Renner has said Europe would benefit from a talent festival similar to Austin’s South By Southwest and having a confab open to the public rather than solely being an industry event.

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