When Dieter Gorny, the head of the German IFPI and German Phonoverband office joined forces with the organizing team from Messe Berlin to cancel the PopKomm event, which was planned for September at the end of July, they bowed down before the mighty powers of the internet common to the music business for more than 10 years now. Gorny said, that they simply had to cancel it because of the illegal downloads that damage the music business that much that no one can afford to come to let alone exhibit at the PopKomm.
To call them illegal downloads was from a rights point of view only possible after the German government changed the German Copyright Act last year. Before that the only illegal thing was to make music available for uploads, i.e., actively distributing something which didn’t belong to you, but now, you face possible prosecution if you download from obvious illegal sources. Within a year and after 10 years of music widely distributed in the net the German music business had to pay its toll to the mismanagement of the members of the German Phonoverband in finding solutions in a joint effort to minimize the damage done through music available even at in the online world.
Just a couple of days later, some forward-thinking people from the business, who are more interested in possible solutions then finding someone to blame for a massive number of mistakes, the music industry obviously made itself, created All2gether Now, a conference aimed at people who work creatively in this special situation. Led by Tim Renner, Motor Music, and Martin Brem amongst a lot of others, they organized a small scale. They managed to get some sponsors on board (German Telekom, AirBerlin, Myspace etc.), discussed what people who work in the music business would like to talk about and started plannings for the All2Gether Now conference or A-2-N which took place from 16. until 18. September at two locations in Berlin, the first 2 days with a small exhibition area and a handful of conference rooms at Alte Münze in Berlin-Mitte and on the 18th at Radialsystem V in Friedrichshain.
The opening party on the 15th was organized by the Berlin Music Commission (BMC) at the Kulturbrauerei in two locations connected to each other, Kessel- and Maschinenhaus. Everyone who ever attended the PopKomm should be familiar with the two concert areas, as they were the main venues for the PopKomm music festival. This night already showed, that the crowd who got in to it was mainly local music people from Berlin with a few who flew in from other parts of Germany and even less from other countries.
After a short opening speech by Dr. Marcus S. Kleiner blaming ignorance as the main factor of the current state of the music business in his keynote „Ignoranz 2.0?“, being itself greeted with a lot of ignorance , it showed that the people who came to party weren’t really interested in getting lectured before the main reasons for being here. T.Raumschmiere, Warren Suicid and Bell Orchestre gave some stunning performances to the punters, but it also showed that the local talent is kept in a loophole borrowing a fair share from the past (i.e. Neu!, New Wave + EBM), mixing it with modern technology, soundscapes and a demanding presence on stage, but at the same time lacking the creativity that made the mentioned influences such musical and cultural driving forces in their heydays.
By Hannes Kraus (TMV Berlin Correspondent)