Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound 2018

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • May 2018
  • Show Report
• Created: May 2, 2018

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Opinions differ wildly, depending on who you speak to as to the relative success of this year’s Musikmesse gathering in Frankfurt.

But while it’s inarguable that exhibitor numbers were down, it’s equally inarguable that Messe Frankfurt continues to make admirable efforts to tweak the layout of the Shows in efforts to maximize the experience of attending suppliers, retailers, and visitors.

One very real factor that no doubt had a detrimental effect on this year’s convention were the transportation strikes in Germany that caused the cancellation of over 800 flights towards the beginning of the week-long, dual-show event (my own flight was cancelled and I had to book travel on another airline – what should have been a fairly straightforward seven-hour direct flight wound up being an 16-hour jaunt with a lengthy layover at Heathrow) and further gummed up public transportation during later days of the Show.

Nonetheless, over 90,000 visitors from 152 countries made their way to Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre over five days. As expected, the reintroduction of days reserved for trade visitors resulted in a decline in the number of private visitors from Germany. On the other hand, Messe Frankfurt reports that there was a significant increase in the share of trade visitors (+10 percent) and more visitors from outside Germany.

“The positive echo from the exhibitors of the two fairs and the high visitor standard indicate that we are on the right track,” asserts Detlef Braun, member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt. “The sector honoured the focus on business during the working days. Moreover, we sent out a positive signal for music and events with our multi-faceted music education program for young people and the successful Musikmesse Festival. We aim to build on the strengths of the trade-fair duo in the future, too. Accordingly, we are setting course for a Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound in 2019, which focuses even more on the wishes of our customers for an international meeting place for the music and event-technology sector and exploit synergistic effects between the event to the utmost.”

In line with this, Messe Frankfurt has announced that Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound 2019 will overlap fully on all days and move closer together spatially. Details of the plans and dates for the trade-fair duo in 2019 will be announced shortly. Further information about the events can be found at and

Voices from the Show Floor

“Saga has been exhibiting at the Musikmesse for well close to 40 years and the event always seems to evolve and change, as does the music marketplace in general. This was my 21st year in attendance and clearly there was some obvious decline in exhibitor attendance in several product categories, but thankfully not necessarily in the areas where we currently focus.

That said, our strategy for this years’ Musikmesse from the beginning was to (as always) focus on our core strengths and have a great time doing it. We accomplished this by offering several great products within key brand categories such as: Kentucky Mandolins, Gold Star Banjos, Blueridge Guitars, as well as Diamond Head and Hamano Ukuleles. Fortunately, these brands continue to innovate and remain popular with players at every level, but also seem to parallel growth trends in the overall larger picture of MI sales overall.

While other manufacturers remained absent from the show, our overall message and focus has the opportunity to resonate more loudly with potential prospects, as well as our current and growing dealer base worldwide. So regardless of how the trade halls are shrinking, the MI market might change, or the truth behind the rumors surrounding the financial situation of… ‘You-know-who’ Saga confidently approached the Musikmesse as we have done so for many years: by presenting great products, and a welcoming and open footprint that says to everyone, ‘We are open for business!’”

David Gartland

Saga Musical Instruments


“It was a very positive show for Hal Leonard, both in terms of our sales goals with existing and new customers, but also with our announcement of acquiring the print music publishing and retail divisions of Music Sales Group. We felt B2B traffic was very strong and a bit higher than prior years, while the B2C traffic seemed lower this year, perhaps due to the public transportation labor strikes in Frankfurt at the time. Overall, we had a successful show and we are enthusiastic about the market trends for our business in Europe.”

Larry Morton

Hal Leonard


“We had our usual show with distributor meetings Wednesday to Friday. However, this year our new German distributor, High Tech Distribution, worked from our booth. They were particularly busy with German dealers on Saturday. I had always assumed that dealers only came to the show Wednesday to Friday. In general, Saturday seemed busier than last year and was the busiest for the acoustic hall 8.0. On Saturday I also visited hall 9.0 where the electric guitars and amps were exhibited. However, it was a huge disappointment – very few exhibitors and light traffic. Musikmesse keeps searching for the right formula, but have not found it yet. Next year the show will be Tuesday to Friday and back in 3.1 for the acoustics.”

Harvey Levy

Levy’s Leathers Ltd.


“It’s a really fun show for us. We just opened a warehouse in Europe to better service the dealer base that we have here and expand the dealer base a little bit, and, honestly, to really service the end-users and the musicians out there. We have a great, unique lineup of products and the more we can get them out there to the people, the more they’re going to play them and realize what great brands we have and what great instruments we’re providing.”

Scott Thompson

The Music Link


“You’ve got to be in it to win it. I never miss a Winter NAMM Show, Musikmesse, Summer NAMM, and, of course, the Shanghai Show.”

Hap Kuffner

NS Design/Kuffner International

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