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Facing the Musik: Top pro exhibitors on Prolight + Sound 2019

As Prolight + Sound 2019 gets off to an exciting start, we spoke with top pro audio exhibitors about what's in store for this year's show and what keeps them coming back

The past five years have come with many changes for Messe Frankfurt’s Prolight + Sound and Musikmesse shows. For some this has been problematic, while others have remained loyal to the event. PSNEurope caught up with top pro exhibitors to talk expectations for this year’s show, and what keeps them coming back…

RCF HEAD OF MARKETING & PR, GIOIA MOLINARI:

How important is the show to your brand? 

Prolight + Sound takes on added importance for RCF this year, as it will be our first opportunity to present all four of the brands that now make up the Group, following the recent acquisitions of EAW and DPA. Furthermore, the company has a strong presence in the show’s domestic market, with an office in Germany. Another huge benefit of PL+S is the demo area outside, where we traditionally form part of the sound rota with our latest large-format systems. This continues to prove extremely popular to our customers, and is a great way to provide potential end users with a real world experience of our unique technology at work. 

What are you expecting from this year’s show? 

The fact that all brands will be adjacent to each other in Hall 8 will provide a massive synergy and show of force. Based on past experience, we expect the stands to be crowded from the moment the curtain is raised, as our partners know we will be presenting some new products. We are also optimistic about the impact of the live demos in driving sales. 

What keeps you going back? 

PL+S pulls in our resellers and partners not only from Europe and the Benelux but from around the globe. Although some people are talking this into a domestic show, we still believe PL+S has a relevant global impact.

LAWO PR MANAGER, WOLFGANG HUBER:

How significant is the show to your brand? 

Prolight + Sound has gained a worldwide reputation as the platform for technical innovations for covering the live performance, theatre and opera house markets. Lawo has gained a high reputation worldwide as a manufacturer of high-end, IP-based audio, video, control and network technology for the performing arts sector. Thus, this is a perfect match for Lawo to use this marketplace. For Lawo, it is an indispensable location for contacting the industry. 

What are you expecting from PL+S 2019? 

Recent developments in technology and moves toward IP-based solutions and workflows in the broadcast, live and install markets are sending a clear message to both equipment developers and end users. I expect that manufacturers, service providers and customers gathering in Frankfurt at the show will reflect these developments. We are looking forward to many interesting demos and discussions at our booth (Hall 8, C28). 

What keeps you loyal to the show? 

Despite the ups and downs of PL+S, we count strongly on the self-healing power of this great show and meeting place. PL+S and the parallel Musikmesse attract visitors from over 150 countries every year. Most recently, 43 per cent of visitors and 63 per cent of exhibitors came from outside Germany. Its unique mixture of AV offerings provides many points of contact.

AUDIO-TECHNICA MARKETING MANAGER EMEA, ALEX LEPGES:

What is the significance of PL+S for you? 

Prolight + Sound still has its place in the annual events calendar. Given that around 50 per cent of visitors to PL+S are from the domestic market, the show is still important in reaching Audio-Technica’s German pro audio customers. Historically, of course, the Frankfurt show was hugely influential to the wider European market. The event landscape is somewhat different today, but nevertheless, PL+S still fulfils a useful purpose in connecting us with an important customer base. 

What are you expecting from this year’s show? 

We’re looking forward to meeting face-to-face with distributors and customers in both the pro audio and MI industries. PL+S offers many opportunities with the latter group in a way that doesn’t exist on the same scale elsewhere – as our products cover a huge range, that’s important. This year, for example, we’ll have everything from brand new turntables and DJ cartridges to studio headphones, touring wireless systems, and fixed installation products on the stand. Few events offer quite the same breadth of audience to be appropriate for such a wide variety of products. 

What keeps you going back?

PL+S has traditionally been one of the key European shows in the events calendar, going back many years. That’s been due to its ability to deliver a wide-ranging audience, both in terms of market involvement and geography. 

FUNKTION-ONE MANAGING DIRECTOR, ANN ANDREWS:

How important is the show to your brand? 

If you look back through Funktion-One’s history, Prolight + Sound has played an important role in the company’s progression. It’s where we’ve launched new products, met with new and existing partners, and connected with the industry press. Ever since we started exhibiting in 2002, we’ve used the show for key launches, and we look forward to a significant launch at PL+S 2019. 

What are you expecting from this year’s show? 

We’ll be catching up with many of our partners from all over the world. We’re launching a new system – Vero VX – at the show, which has been in development for the last four years, and will be showcased in the outdoor demo area. Funktion-One founders Tony Andrews and John Newsham are taking part in the Vintage Concert Audio Show at PL+S 2019, and one of the daily panel discussions, which will explore the development of pro sound systems through the decades from the 1960s. 

What makes you a loyal exhibitor? 

PL+S is currently our main trade show of the year. We schedule new launches for the show, we converse with existing partners about their projects and requirements, and we’ve made connections there that have led to long-term partnerships. We like having the opportunity to demo our latest innovations in the Outdoor Live Sound Arena. In our opinion, Prolight + Sound does that as well as, if not better than, any other show we’ve been involved in.

D&B AUDIOTECHNIK CEO, DAVID CLARINGBOLD: 

How important is the show to your brand? 

Prolight + Sound is highly relevant to d&b as it gives us the opportunity to connect with visitors from all over the world who are interested in the latest professional audio technologies. The show also offers the chance for us to provide insight into the d&b brand. Visitors have the opportunity to experience d&b in person and understand the full offer of d&b products, enabling technologies, and solutions. Customers covering all of our mobile segments, such as touring and corporate rental, and from high quality installation venues, are all attracted to PL+S. 

What do you anticipate about this year’s show? 

PL+S 2019 will be the place we will showcase the continuation of the d&b journey, including the applied evolution of the SL-Series with the KSL System. We plan to focus on three main themes for this year’s show; Applied Evolution – Forward compatibility in design, More art. Less noise – the SL-Series and Soundscape both shaping audio environments, and Feel freedom – the choice now possible between MILAN and Dante for audio networking. d&b will also address emerging trends in the audio industry with the d&b Soundscape for immersive audio, NoizCalc for noise emission planning on open air events, BIM/Revit, and MILAN, as well as create new contacts and strengthen our current relationships. 

Why is it still important to you? 

PL+S brings all of the different segments of the audio industry together, and the d&b family feels at home there. Not only is PL+S based in d&b’s home country, but the visitors at the show are highly relevant to our key markets, which makes this event a great opportunity for d&b to reach valuable new customers, network with other exhibitors, and meet up with old friends

OUTBOARD TIMAX DIRECTOR, DAVE HAYDON: 

Why is the show significant to you? 

Frankfurt PL+S holds a special place in our hearts as a show that always surprises. And this is not simply because over recent years its organisers have shuffled pro audio around the venue’s various halls. Out Board and the company’s TiMax spatial audio and showcontrol platforms have always enjoyed consistently good PL+S shows, busy from start to finish, back-to-back meetings, mostly pre-booked, plus a steady flow of interested and commercially valuable walk-ups. Many of our key international distributors show up, allowing us to enthuse them with our latest software updates. This year, we are offering a sneak preview of an all-new TiMax Tracker system, as well as a new HARDCore FPGA processing engine for the TiMax SoundHub platform.

DATA STRATEGY DIRECTOR, IAIN ROCHE: 

How important is PL+S to your business? 

Data Strategy continues to exhibit at Prolight + Sound for one simple reason – exposure to European customers. This, the fourth visit to Frankfurt, allows the company to demonstrate our safety products for the entertainment industry directly to potential clients. Our aim is to understand customers’ business processes and deliver comprehensive solutions that provide real enhancements to those requirements.

MEYER SOUND SENIOR VP OF MARKETING, JOHN MCMAHON:

How important is the show to your brand? 

PL+S is one of the few shows with a dedicated focus on pro audio and this attracts a somewhat unique group of attendees compared to other major trade shows. This gives us a timely opportunity to connect our brand with an incredibly relevant audience, and people we don’t always see at other shows. 

What are you expecting from this year’s show? 

We are expecting tremendous excitement about our new flagship point source loudspeaker, the ULTRA-X40. We premiered it at ISE last month and the response blew us away. At PL+S, we will be demonstrating it live in our demo room for customers to experience it in action. 

What keeps you going back? 

The dedicated focus on the pro audio market keeps us interested in the show. That, plus it’s held in one of the most important markets in Europe – the German marketplace. We have an office in Germany, we have a significant client and customer base there, and we recognise the importance of staying engaged with this region.

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