‘We’re only ever as strong as the industry itself’: Prolight + Sound’s Michael Biwer talks to AMI ahead of the Frankfurt show

While the hall layout of Prolight + Sound remains unchanged, visitors can expect to see a lot of new offerings at this year’s show in Frankfurt.

Being integrated into the trade show for the first time is a professional-development programme organised by A3E (Advanced Audio + Application Exchange). As a result, the ‘Future of Audio + Music Technology’ conference will be held in Room Entende on Level 4c of Hall 4 on Friday, 13 April.

Meanwhile, Astro Spatial Audio (ASA) will host special presentations highlighting the integration between its SARA II Premium Rendering Engine and third-party systems, including TTA’s Stagetracker II, Alcons Audio loudspeakers, and QLab playback automation software.

Also to be held for the first time on Thursday, 12 April during Prolight + Sound is the Immersive Technology Forum, made up of lectures focusing on subjects such as 3D audio, virtual reality, 360° film and holography. Additionally, there will be several special areas where exhibitors can demonstrate immersive hearing experiences.

“In the Immersive Technology Forum we will be showing some big immersive audio projects, with some interesting demo areas from d&b audiotechnik and Audio-Technica,” said Michael Biwer, group show director of Prolight + Sound’s ‘Entertainment Media & Creative Industries’ business unit, speaking to AMI.

“We have two arenas again, where we will showcase concert sound and demo live systems,” Biwer added. “We’ve tried to make every workshop a bit more affordable for everybody and accessible for the industry. Audio is going in a direction where it’s not all about new products, and is a lot about technique.”

While there was reportedly a growth in the number of attendees a couple of years ago, visitor numbers now seem to have stabilised and Biwer is pleased, especially with the number of new exhibitors coming to this year’s show.

“There is a lot of pressure coming from the industry, but we are proud that we have a stable offering,” he said . “There are a lot of people coming back to exhibit including HK Audio and Peavey, while we also have a lot more exhibitors on the staging and lighting technologies side.”

Despite the usual budgeting struggles, Biwer believes that the show is in good shape: “We have a global sales network, and are using this to try and boost the synergies between Prolight + Sound and Musikmesse, because this relationship is very important for us,” he explained. 

“We do not copy our competitors, and we are trying to be really unique in taking the show in a different direction for visitors. I hope that those in the industry understand that this is a great platform and realise how much value we can bring to them.

“While we continue to develop new ideas for the show, I think we could also see a very good Prolight + Sound for the next five to ten years. We try to be forward thinking, but we’re only ever as strong as the industry itself.”