The connections between brands and music are becoming ever closer and creative, the cooperations ever more diverse. Many brands have firmly anchored music sponsoring in their marketing strategies, the use of music and songs in advertising and film is increasing, influencer marketing in the field of music is a natural part of the mix. Agencies create innovative analog and digital formats online and offline, build new platforms and develop new forms of cooperation. In short: the cooperation between the music industry and the advertising industry is more established than ever before. And it is fully accepted by fans - if it is well done and offers added value. In the ideal case, the result is a win-win-win situation - for artists, for brands and for fans.

On Thursday, May 2, 2019, the programming section BRANDS & MUSIC will bring together all those who contribute to the success of such mutually enriching cooperations: advertisers, marketers, media makers, musicians, rights holders, the music industry and the advertising industry. For a whole day, we offer insights into the relevant topics and present cases, discuss with agencies, consultants, companies, managers and music makers about the status quo and the future of the connection between music and brands – artists and advertising.

We will address the question of how music in general and advertising music, in particular, control our emotions. We will examine what interests need to be reconciled, not just business interests, when a song comes together with a clip or a musician with a brand. We will gain insights into the music strategies of major international brands. We will ask why some brands suddenly have their own festivals. And we will investigate how festivals themselves become brands in order to be perceived as tourist events. For the finale, we will listen to the first interactive song with voice-controlled assistant Alexa - and will hear about the story behind it. And we will offer all participants a platform to enter into new cooperations themselves.



Since the beginning of digitalization, the music industry has been a driving force behind key technological developments and trends to establish new business models and revenue opportunities for creative professionals. The DIGITAL MUSIC section of the c/o pop Convention 2019 on May 2 and 3, 2019 will bring together professionals from the music, creative and digital industries to discuss key issues and challenges facing the music industry in the digital age. The latest technological findings, developments and visions will be examined from the perspective of the music industry in various thematic focuses. At the same time, we want to develop guidance for politics that focus on creative people and their interests.

One focus is devoted to the increasingly urgent need for innovation in the music industry. As a stimulus, we will present interesting new ideas and cases from the fields of audio and video, label work, data management and artificial intelligence. In a blockathon, we will be working on bringing a breath of fresh air into the ecosystem of the music industry. We will also talk about new licensing models that are not only driven by new technologies, but also by a new willingness to cooperate.

We will explore how musicians can use digital platforms such as Bandcamp to generate revenue, and show how music streaming could be improved, so there will be something remaining for the creators in the end. We will outline how green technologies can make clubs and festivals more sustainable. And we will offer time and space for the exchange of creative people and digital start-ups, authors and distributors, thinkers, doers and users.


Networks are the main arteries in the globalized field of action and work of the creative and music industries. Be it in the local or transatlantic network of music creators and consumers, of business and politics, of institutions and companies - the exchange of knowledge and information is more important than ever.

Within the EXCHANGE & CONNECT section, we will be presenting examples of how networks occupy and deal with topics, how they are used to articulate and disseminate interests, and how they generate new ideas and at times also add new value.

These are some of the topics that will be discussed on May 2 and 3, 2019: What is the significance of a night economy for cities and regions? Do we need a night policy in addition to cultural policy, and what might this look like? How can we move from a strategy of prevention to one of empowerment? What concepts are there to protect live music venues from the spiral of gentrification? Are live music venues cultural assets and therefore worth protecting? How can networks be used wisely to set the right course?


To bring music successfully into the world, more precisely into the world of media and social networks, to the shops, clubs, and concert halls - that is the job of music managers, bookers, and promoters or label operators. But not every musician and every small label can afford to have all these experts work for them, but they have to take on these jobs themselves. This is not an easy undertaking, especially since most of them only want one thing: to make their music. That's why basic knowledge from and about the music industry can't hurt, and you also need to get in contact with them and maintain it.

On Friday, May 3, 2019, as part of the c/o pop Convention, in the NEW TALENT program section we will once again impart practical industry expertise, establish networks and offer assistance. Experts will share their knowledge and advice with you, and you will learn how you can effectively promote and market your music.


​Premiere: VUT Indie Days Köln
​Premiere: VUT Indie Days Köln

In 2020 the VUT Indie Days will take place for the first time in Cologne, as part of the c/o pop Convention. For the last four years the VUT West has been our co-organizer for the New Talent workshops. Now, for the first time, the entire, nationwide operating VUT – Verband unabhängiger Musikunternehmer*innen e.V. will be taking part as our partner, with the VUT Indie Days Cologne. On Friday, April 24, 2020 there will be diverse panels and on Saturday, April 25, 2020 CUT will present several New Talent workshops and expert sessions.

The first confirmed speakers of the VUT Indie Days are Kerri Pollard (Patreon, USA), Frank Spilker (Die Sterne), David Möllerstedt (teenage engineering, SE), Mag. DI Dr. Christine Bauer (Johannes Kepler University Linz, AT), Volker Rieck (FDS File Defense Service UG) and Ronny Krieger (VUT e.V.).

The following topics will be part of the program of the VUT Indie Days Cologne:

The Power of Creative Communities – „Gemeinsam sind wir stark!“ (Together We are Strong!) The creative community and its connection to the individual creativity and the social purpose of a creative network.

Forever Young – We pursue the question how artists remain creative, fit and relevant lifelong.

Gender biases and discrimination in AI – Artificial intelligence can not be objective since it is based on the traditional patterns of regulation. How can we rectify discrimination with AI?

Where‘s the revolution? – New instruments and technological achievements have contributed to the development of new musical genres in the last decades. We will analyze which equipment will create new forms of music today and in the future.

Practical check of the new copyright – The panel takes a look at the former practice of licensing music as well as the chances and risks that will result from the new EU copyright directive, especially in article 17.

Music Industry Women presents: Intersectionality and music business – If you look closely you can tell that not only women are under-represented in the music business and that well-established music industry practices unearth racism, trans- and homophobia as well as other isms. How important is intersectionality in the popular culture?

Jörg Heidemann the managing director of VUT says about the premiere in Cologne:

"The music industry is constantly changing and requires from our members to stay up-to-date on current problems, solution approaches and innovative developments. To further strengthen the exchange with one another we are expanding our yearly industry meeting during Reeperbahn Festival on the c/o pop Convention and are happy to also be in Cologne with the Indie Days next year!"

Ralph H. Christoph, Head of the c/o pop Convention, adds:

"It has always been a central objective of the c/o pop Convention to strengthen the independent music scene as a talent pool and driver of innovations, thanks to the cooperation with the VUT we are able to offer even more concrete input and chances to network at the VUT Indie Days Köln for people who work in the independent music business, so they can strengthen the position of the musicians in a changing market."

Quality on the Web: Grimme Online Award
Quality on the Web: Grimme Online Award

Music often also contributes to the journalistic quality on the Internet. We are therefore delighted that the nominations for the Grimme Online Award 2020 will once again be presented at the c/o pop Convention. And this in the year of the anniversary - as the Grimme Online Award will be presented for the 20th time in summer of 2020 by the Grimme Institute. The Grimme Online Award is a perfect addition to our DIGITAL MUSIC program. Since the beginning of digitalization, music has been a driver of central technological developments and trends on the Internet, which is also reflected in the Grimme Online Award. Proposals can be submitted starting January 15, 2020.

Premiere of TINCON in Cologne
Premiere of TINCON in Cologne

The conference for digital youth culture is coming to Cologne for the very first time - in cooperation and at the same time with c/o pop Convention. The TINCON takes place in the Pattenhalle on Friday, April 24, 2020. The Pattenhalle is in the immediate vicinity of our location Herbrand's in Cologne-Ehrenfeld.

As an interdisciplinary event for digital youth culture, TINCON imparts media competence and social participation in a broad spectrum of topics that reaches the entire young, digitally raised generation of 13- to 25-year-olds. On stage, young speakers also stand on an equal footing with well-known professionals. With talks, Q&As, workshops and discussions, the conference will focus on culture, technology and games, on education and science, on YouTube & Lifestyle as well as on coding, politics, the environment and society.

Participation is free, you can register here.

AI & music production @ New Talent
AI & music production @ New Talent

Holly Herndon uses it, Grimes and Zola Jesus have a Twitter debate about it: artificial intelligence has long since found its way into musical composition and production. AI (Artificial Intelligence) will also play a role at the c/o pop Convention - for example at NEW TALENT on Saturday, April 25, 2020.

Under the title "brAIncandy: Is this still AI, or can this already do music?" Jovanka v. Wilsdorf, musician, artist profiler and songwriter at BMG Rights Management, will present some of the state-of-the-art AIs used today. It will show how AI, VR and AR could change our creativity and the entire music industry forever.

Afterwards we will dive into the practical application with musician and installation artist Portrait XO. As the first artist in residence at Factory Berlin, Portrait XO explores where we can go with AI, sound and new media. In her workshop, she presents these creative possibilities in the production of songs.

Booker and coach Corinna Jacke from leuchtfeuer booking will give an expert session on the NEW TALENT Saturday and will give you tips for more effective booking and more visibility in music projects.

"Steps Ahead" Listening Session

To hear your own song on the radio, on a label or in advertising: At the "Steps Ahead" Listening Session held as part of NEW TALENT on Saturday, April 25, 2020, "new talents" can come a couple of steps closer to this goal. Young musicians have the chance to present their music to decision makers from the industry and the media, who will give direct feedback and perhaps also add the track to their programs.

If you want to be a part of it, you can apply: Simply send a song as an MP3 file with accompanying information (band name or artist name, song title, social media details, brief description of the project – max. 500 characters, contact details) to schulz@vut.de by March 1, 2020.

The high-class jury will be announced shortly. The format "Steps Ahead" was developed by Tim Thaler and Robert Lingnau at the SRH Hochschule der populären Künste (Berlin) and is a cooperation with them.

Pop Summit 2020
Pop Summit 2020

Every pop career starts at the base – in clubs, rehearsal spaces, studios. That's why it's all the more important to start here with a targeted promotion. But how up-to-date and sustainable are the promotional structures in this country, and what needs to be done better by who and where? In cooperation with the Initiative Musik GmbH, the Bundesverband Popularmusik e.V. (Federal Association for Popular Music) is organizing a federal conference on pop promotion that will find answers to these questions: the Pop Summit 2020 on January 21 and 22, 2020 at the IHK Cologne.

As partners, we co-organise the conference and, together with actors from politics and administration, associations and institutions, companies in the music industry as well as artists and independent pop promoters, we want to depict the status quo of pop music promotion in Germany, as well as to develop scenarios on how promotion should be organized under the current conditions.

Further information can be found at www.popsummit.de. If you are interested in participating, please send an e-mail to kontakt@popsummit.de.

First speakers confirmed
First speakers confirmed

The first speakers of c/o pop Convention 2020 are confirmed! Participants will include Bernhard Mogk from the Electronic Sports League (ESL), which is now joining the music market with its own label, Nilgün Öz, Managing Director of the non-profit Musik Bewegt Foundation, and Jesper Skibsby, founder of the worldwide radio tracking service WARM. Music publisher Nuno Saraiva (Lusitanian Music Publishing, Lisbon), Nis Bøgvad (Copenhagen Film Music) and Markus Linde (thag's agent, Hamburg) will present the project "Europe in Synch", which brings together the audiovisual sector and the music sector to raise the curtains and reveal the actual processes in which music is synchronized to moving images.


The Electronic Sports League (ESL) is the largest league for gamers in Europe. With more than ten million visits per month and more than two million registered members, the league portal is one of the largest web presences in Germany today. Additionally, there are numerous events and the IPTV channel ESL TV. Now, ESL is entering the music market with its own label Enter Records: According to the motto "Soundtracking the gaming experience", the label wants to build up the stars whose music will be played in games and at the accompanying live events in the future. This opens up new possibilities for musicians to reach an audience of millions worldwide. Bernhard Mogk will reveal more about the strategies and plans at the c/o pop Convention 2020. He is Senior Vice President Global Sales & Business Development at ESL Gaming GmbH, a subsidiary of the Cologne-based Turtle Entertainment GmbH and operator of the Electronic Sports League.


A lot of musicians are committed to social projects beyond their purely artistic activities. They seek support for their matters close to their hearts. However, this commitment competes with classical marketing activities on their official channels. The non-profit foundation Musik Bewegt, which is run by the four partners Till Behnke, Josefine Cox, Herbert Grönemeyer and Jörg A. Hoppe, offers artists a shared communication platform. At the same time, it is the place to go for fans and music lovers to get involved and help in association with "their" artist. In order to maximize reach, the social media channels of the artists and supporters can be linked together as desired. So far, more than 700,000 euros have been raised through more than 3,100 donations for almost 100 projects – 100 percent of which are forwarded. Music Bewegt follows strict transparency rules when selecting projects. At the moment, Balbina (who will perform at the c/o pop Festival), Samy Deluxe, Die höchste Eisenbahn, Die Fantastischen Vier and Die Ärzte are represented at Musik Bewegt with projects close to their hearts. Managing Director Nilgün Öz will present the project at the c/o pop Convention 2020.


WARM (World Airplay Radio Monitor) is the first major radio tracking service aimed at individual players in the music industry. WARM provides insight and real-time data on when and where songs are played on radio stations around the world. All you need to do is upload the MP3 files of the songs you want to monitor. According to WARM, 87 per cent of their users discover radio uses of which they had no prior knowledge. Monitoring can not only lead to more royalty income, it can also help to target promotion, marketing and touring strategies more precisely. Jesper Skibsby, CEO and founder of WARM, will explain the service in an expert session at New Talent on Saturday, April 25, 2020.


The synchronization of music and moving images is a complex process. What could a new EU sponsorship program do to facilitate this for all involved? This is what the "Europe in Synch" project tries to find out. "Europe in Synch" is a preparatory action under the EU's Music Moves Europe initiative, which aims to provide the groundwork for the successor to the European cultural program Creative Europe between 2021 and 2027. The project brings together the audiovisual sector (film and advertising companies, creative agencies, advertising agencies and other players) and the music sector, labels, music publishers and composers: Its goal is to raise the curtains and reveal the actual processes in which music is synchronized to moving images. Music supervisors play an important role in this. Music publisher Nuno Saraiva (Lusitanian Music Publishing, Lisbon) initiated the project as president of the Portuguese Independent Music Trade Association (AMAEI) with the experienced music supervisors Markus Linde (thag's agent, Hamburg) and Nis Bøgvad (Copenhagen Film Music). At the c/o pop Convention, they will present the results of the "Europe in Synch" preparatory action, under the Music Moves Europe banner.

Start signal for the c/o pop Convention 2020
Start signal for the c/o pop Convention 2020

New date, new location, new programming and ticket structure: There's a whole lot of news to announce! The next c/o pop Convention will take place from April 23 to 25, 2020, and thus for the first time also on the Saturday! With our new location at Herbrand's in the Cologne district of Ehrenfeld, we will also be getting even closer to the c/o pop Festival. Seven indoor and outdoor spaces offer new possibilities for new formats. Next year, one of the focal points will be the interaction between technology, creativity and business - for instance in the new thematic thread CREATIVE TECH. Further information can be found below. Ticket sales for the c/o pop Convention 2020 has started - you can get your tickets here.


In 2020, the c/o pop Convention will once again be the year's first industry meeting for the music industry and cooperating sectors such as the digital economy and games. Over three days, the c/o pop Convention 2020 will focus entirely on how the music industry can utilize future prospects - and which role new technologies can play for the entire value chain.

The programming sectors CREATIVE TECH and DIGITAL MUSIC will bring together professionals from the music industry, the creative industry and the digital economy on Friday, April 24 to examine the interactions between technological developments and the music industry - the creative side will be discussed just as much as business aspects.

On Saturday, April 25, NEW TALENT will provide practical industry knowledge for tomorrow's musical pros. In addition, there will be further program items in connection with c/o Ehrenfeld.

EXCHANGE & CONNECT invites participants on all days to cross-disciplinary and international networking activities.The opening will take place on Thursday, April 23.


While this year's c/o pop Festival has already taken place mainly in Ehrenfeld we will follow suit next year. The c/o pop Convention will take place in the perfectly suited premises of Herbrand's - and thus right in the midst of the action. We thank the IHK Cologne for their generous hospitality over the past years and are looking forward to the new cooperation with Herbrand's. "Since its opening in May 1993, Herbrand's has been a constant fixture in Ehrenfeld and an important meeting place for business people and individuals," says Metin Izman, Managing Director of Herbrand's. "On an area of 5,000 square metres with restaurant, club, event hall, conference rooms and beer garden, we offer a varied culinary, musical and cultural program, which the c/o pop will further enrich starting in 2020," continues Izman, "and we are therefore looking forward to a very exciting project!"


The c/o pop Convention 2020 will start with a new and simpler ticket structure. The c/o pop Convention Professional ticket for 85.00 euros opens the doors to all c/o pop Convention events on Friday, April 24 and Saturday, April 25, 2020 ( exept for "invitation only" events), the music showcases which are part of the c/o pop Festival on all days and the opening of the c/o pop Convention 2020 on Thursday, April 23, 2020. The c/o pop Convention NEW TALENT ticket for 35 euros allows the ticket holder access to the correspondingly marked events of the c/o pop Convention on Saturday, April 25, 2020.

Both tickets give you priority access to concerts at c/o Ehrenfeld on April 25 and 26, 2020 in selected locations - up to 15 minutes before admission.

The c/o pop Festival, which will take place from April 22 to 26, 2020, primarily in Ehrenfeld, Cologne, has announced the first three highlights: Nura, Mia Morgan and GoGo Penguin. Here, too, the ticket sale has already started.

In 2020, there are also combination tickets for both events together. Click here to get to the ticket shop.

Recap video #copopcon19
Recap video #copopcon19

In mid-July we will be at Sónar Festival and at Sónar+D in Barcelona and will be contributing some programming items as part of We Are Europe. In this newsletter you will find more information on this, plus the recap video for the c/o pop Convention 2019 with many great impressions of the hustle and bustle in and around the IHK Cologne!

Did you already save the date for 2020? We will see you at the c/o pop Convention on the 23rd and 24th of April 2020 and at the c/o pop Festival from the 22nd to the 26th of April 2020 in Cologne - more information will follow soon! In the meantime, we are wishing you a great summer!


On May 2 and 3, 2019, around 1.000 trade visitors from 25 countries met over two full days at the c/o pop Convention to have an exchange in the programming sections DIGITAL MUSIC, BRANDS & MUSIC, EXCHANGE & CONNECT and NEW TALENT. More than 100 top-class speakers provided practical input in keynotes, panels and workshops on current topics from the music industry, the advertising industry, the digital economy and cooperating fields. Our Recap video shows a couple of the highlights and gives some of our guests such as Susan Rogers, Vanessa Reed, Mavi Phoenix, Laura Aha and Jördis Hagemeier the opportunity to speak. Have fun watching!


In the middle of July we will be in Barcelona at the Sónar Festival (July 18th to 20th) and at the accompanying Convention Sónar+D (July 17th to 20th) as part of We Are Europe. At the festival we will be co-curating the concerts of Fennesz, Hauschka and Francesco Donadello. At Sónar+D we will present the following topics: On Thursday, July 18 from 10:30 to 11:10 a.m. Heiko Hoffmann (Beatport), Jack Bridges (Soundcloud) and Ronny Krieger will discuss how streaming and other digital technologies are changing DJ culture in the panel „Creative tools for future dj culture“. The second panel presented by us („Making Iconic Music Gear“) will take place on Thursday, 18 July from 5:30 to 6:20 p.m.. David Möllerstedt (Head of Audio, Teenage Engineering) and Mate Galic (CTO, Native Instruments) will talk to Peter Kirn (founder of CDM and a music technology wise man) about the way certain electronic instruments shape entire genres.

c/o pop Convention Director Ralph Christoph will be present and is looking forward to meeting you.

Convention goes Instagram
Convention goes Instagram

We are on Instagram now – follow us at @copopconvention and use the hashtag #copopcon20 diligently.

Cologne Music Conference 2019
Cologne Music Conference 2019

Around 190 protagonists of the cultural scene, politics and administration of Cologne came to Cologne's Stadtgarten on October 21 to discuss the situation of Cologne's culture and especially of music in the context of the new cultural development strategy.

Katja Hermes of Sound Diplomacy introduced the Music City Manual, which gathers strategies for the development of a music city. In her opinion, Cologne is already on the right track in several areas – in the future, a special focus should be placed on securing spaces for artists and creative people. In addition to clubs, this also includes rehearsal spaces and studios, where artists careers begin. In the subsequent panel "We built this city on music", Hans Nieswandt (Institute for Pop Music), Suzie Kerstgens (Klee), Keshav Purushotham (Keshavara) and Oliver Minkh (MINKH) declared that as artists they have found a home in Cologne in which they have private roots and a good professional network. "We cannot complain about Cologne as a place," Hans Nieswandt put it in a nutshell. He also suggested establishing an artistically oriented pop institute in Cologne with the potential to develop attraction and radiance.

In his keynote speech, Thore Debor of Clubkombinat Hamburg explained the Hamburg Club Cadastre, which is intended, among other things, to serve as an early warning system to identify future developments in urban planning that might be relevant for music clubs – such a cadastre has already been commissioned for Cologne.

During the second panel "Develop, plan, protect", Susanne Laugwitz-Aulbach (Assistant Head of the Department of Art and Culture of the City of Cologne) and Markus Greitemann (Assistant Head of the Department of Urban Development, Planning and Construction of the City of Cologne) assured that they would support the protection of cultural spaces. In the future, suitable measures should be taken in advance to prevent cultural sites from being endangered by impending residential developments – the safeguarding of cultural areas is then one of the basic conditions with which an investor must and can plan.

The third panel was opened with a keynote lecture by Melike Öztürk, who presented the manifold activities of the Musicboard Berlin, especially those directly for musicians. In the following panel discussion on "Networks and their Significance" it became clear that creative people should make their interests clear to politicians, together with a strong voice, in order to gain more attention. Lorenz Deutsch, member of the Landtag, spoke about "kicking in doors". Norbert Oberhaus, Managing Director of cologne on pop GmbH, agreed that on the creative side there was sometimes a lack of networking and coordination. On the political side, offers for the music industry are often not well enough coordinated because they are connected to various ministries and institutions and there is a lack of a clear-cut course. He explained that he was discussing the establishment of a MusicOfficeNRW with state politics and other institutions, which could play a coordinating role in and for North Rhine-Westphalia.
c/o pop joins Keychange
c/o pop joins Keychange

The c/o pop Festival and the c/o pop Convention have joined the Keychange Initiative - with this we set ourselves the goal of achieving a balanced gender ratio both on the festival stages and at the convention by 2022.

The Keychange Initiative, launched by the British PRS For Music Foundation in 2017, initially only focused on music festivals - more than 180 international festivals have so far joined the initiative. As of September 2019, this declaration of intent on gender equality will be extended to related areas in the music industry such as recorded music, publishing and music radio. Until 2023, the EU Commission has allocated 1.4 million euros to the programme which is now under the direction of the Reeperbahn Festival. "We have been discussing the under-representation of women in a pop cultural context for years in protected spaces. There are so many women who make fantastic music or have a keen sense of business. However, this is not only reflected in their successes. Men still dominate art and its market. The Keychange initiative now harbors the tremendous opportunity to eliminate this imbalance," says the newly appointed Keychange ambassador Joy Denalane. We are striving even more than in previous years for a high share of women among our speakers at the c/o pop Convention 2020 - we want to achieve the 50:50 quota by 2020 at the latest, in accordance with our agreement with Keychange.