“Now is the time for music and IT to come together, so CeBIT is the perfect venue for the discussions that we envision”
Date: Tue, 01/26/2010 - 20:23
Interview with Henning Wehland, Founding member of the board of trustees of CeBIT Sounds!, "Söhne Mannheims" singer, H-Blockx front man, and CEO of BLX-Music & Entertainment GmbH
Where did you get the idea of creating a completely new concept for CeBIT?
AnswerAs with all good ideas, the first question was, "Why now?" There is a true sense of gold rush fever, yet no one knows where to find the gold. There are many questions, but ultimately the final question is, "What is next?" I do not have the answer, so we decided to invite the music industry and its fans to help develop the path forward. Now is the time for music and IT to come together, so CeBIT is the perfect venue for the discussions, matchmaking, and partnerships that we envision.
Was CeBIT enthusiastic about your concept from the start? How did they react?
They responded right away. It is clear to CeBIT, too, that we must always look at new ways of doing things, so this is a perfect symbiosis. Music is the emotional conduit of business communication. CeBIT understood this immediately so the whole process went relatively fast.
What makes CeBIT Sounds! special in comparison to existing music fairs?
It is no big secret that they all ask, "How do we create this in the shortest time possible?" The fact that we are trying is already special, and it demonstrates that we are not about making a quick Euro but about building long-term impact. I see CeBIT Sounds! as a place where we can invite all existing trade fairs to participate. We can only find a way if we work together, and we open the door, to cooperation with the IT industry.
How is CeBIT Sounds! designed?
The festival nature of the event is very important. I believe a more traditional exhibition concept would not fare well, so there is an advantage to our providing lodges or lounges but not "estates". Participating companies do not want to only exhibit; they want to combine the presentation with the experience. I also speak in the context of "Marketainment" (Marketing and Entertainment), where the focus is the music and the companies that affect the music are clustered around it like satellites. So the architectonics take center stage and the content is the bracket.
As an artist and musician, how do you judge the music industry's development during the past ten years?
If in the coming years we have a viable solution, one that enables music as a product to be produced and paid for, then we will look at the last ten years and think, "The music industry has not collapsed. Rather, it has changed from a linear to a transparent business model heavily influenced by IT and consumer-producer communication."
What do you expect from a partnership between music and IT?
A single solution and one or more new functional business models, so that music in Germany will be preserved.
Will CeBIT Sounds! lead the music industry out of its crisis?
And who is it intended for?
Everyone who is interested in music.
What should music fans expect at CeBIT Sounds! and what should trade visitors expect?
Anyone who has an interest in music is also a fan. That is the beauty. You cannot work in this business if you don't like music; if you do, it is not healthy. The past has proven this.
Where should CeBIT Sounds! stand in five years?
It should work. It should demonstrate that we can bring together fire and water… if not in the entertainment industry, then where? We want to set the example for other industries.
CeBIT 2010, 2 to 6 March, Hannover
Thanks to CeBIT press department