musikmesse 2014

Musikmesse 2014: Still relevant for DJs?

Musikmesse 2014: Still relevant for DJs? 3

The DJ world has a very strange existence within the city sized Musikmesse complex. While you can go peruse the entire building of Yamaha pianos, or the giant football stadium sized hall of lighting equipment and PA speakers, the DJ industry has taken up a smaller corner of the show every year. There are very few new gear announcements and a general lack of excitement about the show in general from within the industry due to its increasingly close proximity to NAMM.

One of the big selling points of Musikmesse 2014 at Frankfurt was their public day: Friday evening and Saturday anyone could show up to check out the new guitars, try out the new pianos, play with the new DJ and production gear and see what all the fuss is about. For DJ, though, BPM has begun to really present itself as a major player in presenting gear to a large audience both young and old, and is being embraced by the industry in a really big way.

We had a few exciting announcements, and much like NAMM this year, the gear was more retrospective than forward thinking. Pioneer unveiled their turntable under glass, and DJ Tech showed us their new turntable model. Akai rehashed an old, established brand with the APC40s and showed off a throwback to the days of drum synth samplers with the Rhythm Wolf. Cerwin-Vega presented a PA speaker that is really just a drilled down, lighter version of one of their successful models. One of the few exceptions to this was Reloop who showed off some new DJ controllers, and while they didn’t push the envelope they did present us with new low-cost options.

All in all, though, there wasn’t much for us to present to you, or to see ourselves. The level of excitement from the industry, as well, was muted. With NAMM just 6 weeks ago, and the internet being as prevalent as it is for manufacturers to follow their own release cycles and control the news for that sort time, Messe just doesn’t seem to carry the same weight it once did. Messe’s real advantage for us at DJWorx, though, is that we can easily access all of the big-wigs in the industry and not have to worry about covering new and exciting gear.

DJWORX had an extremely successful trip to the show. Thanks to some planning (who knew, right?) we were able to pitch the future of DJWORX to a lot of very interested people. We won’t get into too much detail yet, but after around 2 years after the transition to DJWORX we have decided that it’s time to take our already world class content to the next level, and take advantage of the industry expertise we have cultivated. We are looking forward to making our plans a reality, and dragging all of you along on what promises to be a very exciting ride.

musikmesse 2014
L-R: Old school skratchworx’s ProfessorBX, DJWORX Europe’s Arkaei aka Ray Gabriel, DJWORX USA’s Jared “Devil’s Advocate” Helfer, the DJWORX office senior, and posing as our manservant, butler and concierge is inMusic’s Simon Bangs.

Some opinion from Mark Settle

At Musikmesse 2013, arriving on Tuesday afternoon and sneaking in with a manufacturer saw me done in 90 minutes flat, and resenting the exorbitant travel bill that would trap me there for 3 days. This year however, it would have been 60 minutes. Thankfully, with DJWORX HQ and USA in effect, we’d packed our business heads, and via the process of wall to wall meetings we successfully laid out of our vision of DJWORX future. But had we just been there for gear, we’d have been deeply disappointed.

I do have many fond memories of Musikmesse, but with each passing year the ratio of new gear to financial outlay gets increasingly unfavourable. While it is quite possible to get flights at a decent price, hotels are a completely different matter. It’s crazy to think that financially I can do the NAMM trip for less that the Messe trip, which makes the decision to hop over the Channel to Frankfurt a tougher one each year.

This year has probably seen me relegate Musikmesse to the “maybe” (maybe means flying in and out the same day) pile, and replace it with NAMM as a “must”, especially as the gap between them is just 8 weeks. And as Jared points out, it’s not just us hacks feeling this way, as the overall vibe is that the show is too close to NAMM, and too expensive to take space at the show, and to fly people from all corners of the world and put them in the obscenely expensive hotels in Frankfurt for a week. Small companies are looking at many thousands of euros to show, but a big company is almost certainly staring at hundreds of thousands — that’s a lot of gear to sell to cover itin a tough market. If only there was a way to reach millions of people from all over the world, and present new DJ gear and technologies in a very controlled and measured way every day for a fraction of that price… just saying. 😉

Wrapping up, and paraphrasing Charles Dickens, it was the best of Musikmesses, and the worst of Musikmesses. It was certainly the worst ever for new gear, but the best ever for us as your favourite DJ technology website. The next 6 months are going to be hectic but very worthwhile.