While Ringling Brothers may have "The Greatest Show On Earth," virtually no manufacturer can dispute that attending one of the January shows in Las Vegas is mandatory. Sadly, consumers can not, or at least legally should not, attend the Las Vegas CES. While The Show is open to the public, the other side of the proverbial circus is a closed-door affair to the general public. So where is the best public show to attend in the spring? After attending nearly 100 shows for well over a decade, to me the answer is easy. The High End Society's show in Munich, Germany. This show not only provides the public with a great event plus a staggering array of products not seen at any other springtime exhibition, manufacturers can greatly benefit as hundreds of members of the press plus European and Asian retailers and manufacturers seek to expand their product lines.
So what makes this my easy #1 pick? Having continuously expanded over the past 20 years, this show now resides in the largest venue i can ever recall other than CES. Founded in 1982, this European association consisting of a wide variety of manufacturers and distributors are involved in the education and expansion of high-end audio and video. To give you an idea just how big this show is, the total floor space expanded from 15,500 m² in 2007 to a staggering 18,373 m² (197,772 ft²) in 2008. That is roughly 4.5 acres of floor space! Bring your walking shoes!
So what can enthusiasts see at the show? Last year somewhere around 200 brands filled approximately 20 percent less space than will be seen at the 2008 event. Of note is that these are real rooms with good manufacturer count, not one of the 'filler' product count model employed by other shows where if ABA manufacturer brought a single set of cables by his close buddy super small manufacturer YZY then the show promoters would count YZY as being part of the show even though YZY never paid to have their product there. Attending nearly 100 shows has taught me to see the truth in press releases from the fiction some show promoters sometimes appear to claim. Fortunately, the High End Society seem to not play these tricks. You can click here to view a listing of manufacturers and distributors who attended High End 2007.
What attendees can see are many live bands performing throughout the show each day. There are various seminars for educational purposes. And yes, you can visit many rooms setup with some truly mind-boggling gear from the value-priced to the cost-no-object variety. Vinyl lovers will be amazed at the variety of hardware manufacturers and there will be software vendors who sell audiophile pressings both on the vinyl and digital disc format. Technophiles may be amazed at German and Swiss engineering, with ultra-high precise digital processors and disc players. After all, this is Germany, well known for their ultra-high demands on achieving perfection. This is where many new products are launched. American and Canadian visitors will be able to enjoy many products they have never seen at any show in North America. And this last point is precisely why it is a must-attend for Yours Truly.
As of this writing, an amazing 225 confirmed registrations have been received to date, with 24 countries represented. A grand total of around 700 brands from all over the globe will be seen during this event, so bring those walking shoes!
The number of conference rooms, already at huge proportions in 2007, for 2008 has increase by 21 rooms to a total of 83. These are just the conference rooms mind you; it does not include the main show halls (plural). Those who have been at the NYC Jacob Jarvis Center or CES' Sands or LVCC venues understand how large a single exhibition hall can be. To quote one of the recent High End Society press releases concerning High End 2008:
Did i mention bring your walking shoes?
On an industry side of things, with the very weak United States dollar being a bargain to Europeans (both Euro and Pound Sterling not to mention Asian monetary denominations), North American manufacturers have a great price advantage of their products. Therefore, exporting to Europe and Asia allows for final pricing being very competitive to their European and Asian counterparts. During these times of worldwide financial situations, expanding your business could bring about greatly enhanced sales and income as compared to those who only have North American representation. This is no time to be penny wise and pound foolish! Between the hundreds of press members and quality Asian plus European retailers and manufacturers, High End 2008 is a great place to expand into these markets.
While the upcoming Montreal Festival Son & Image show should be discussed, the size and capabilities of that show are different. Add to the fact the possible controversy about to ensue due to the Montreal folks choosing Noel Lee of Monster Cable being a keynote speaker (see this link)... It is not my place to comment any further other than to say there is plenty of information online within websites and discussion boards concerning Monster Cable. Rest assured Enjoy the Music.com is planning to have a photojournalist in Montreal so manufacturers and distributors will receive excellent coverage just as we have done every year for the past nine years.
As a side note, my lovely and amazingly sexy partner loves to join me at the Munich show, as we travel throughout Europe with their excellent bus and train system. Of course being an SCCA licensed road course open wheel Formula 2000 race car driver (see my other passion here), i enjoy the autobahn and driving the legendary Nürenburgring / Norschleife. My partner and i take pleasure in the splendid countryside and castles. So attending the High End Society show in Munich makes perfect sense from both a business and personal sense.
For disclosure, Enjoy the Music.com has zero financial interest in promoting the High End 2008 show as we do not sponsor the show nor get any special favors over what is normal for us attending most shows. It is simply the best springtime event for both consumers and for manufacturers, in my opinion, and why i gave them (without their knowledge) a free advertising space within our mid-March newsletter. The show is that good! i look forward to seeing many of you in Germany in April! As always, in the end what really matters is that you...
Location: M,O,C, Munich, Lilienthalallee 40