Lukewarm London Shows

January 31, 2009 by

DATELINE: London

I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to dash off a quick post from the City of London. I’ve been over here attending the ATEI at Earl’s Court exhibition center and the new IGX show happening at nearby Ibis Hotel and sponsored by InterGame magazine.
earls-court-london-exterior

ATEI 2009 at Earl’s Court in London

Attendance was respectable at these shows, given the challenging economic climate that all countries are dealing with right now. ATEI was the more lively affair. Not surprising, what with more booths and some glow thrown off by the considerably more robust ICE gaming show also taking place at Earl’s Court. But ICE has eaten ATEI alive and is slowly digesting it. Our industry looks somewhat cheesy and irrelevant next to the big-spending glamour of ICE.

IGX, for its part, faired better than expected. Sound Leisure, the UK jukebox company, was clearly the headliner. Alan Black, the main man at SL, reported that he was hosting just as much traffic as he had in recent years at ATEI. But this show was small and could be experienced in about 10 minutes. If this show made enough money for its organizers to have another go next year, I’m sure it will build some momentum.

There was very little new on offer at either show. If you’ve been a regular attender at our industry trade fairs, you’ve seen all this stuff before. I’m obviously most interested in music and was disappointed that there wasn’t more on offer in the jukebox category. (I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, since the registration form didn’t even provide a check box for “music” or “jukebox.”)

A quick rundown of the interesting bits, some of which I will expand upon when I’m back Stateside:

>NSM’s new large-format touchscreen jukebox with YouTube capability

>Sound Leisure’s new “Milestones in Music” service that includes over 2.5 million tracks

>Ireland-based Almotech’s juke running the Rowe ami platform

>JayBox, a recent addition to the UK landscape with a slightly different take on music library theory and search features

>The conspicuous absence of the myriad independent digital jukebox companies that we’ve seen at the London show in the recent past.

And… (drumroll please) No CD jukeboxes. Again, no surprise as the UK and Europe have lead the way full-bore into the digital realm. Sound Leisure still offer a CD nostalgia, but that’s not much support for the beleaguered CD.

I’ll be back in a couple days and will begin posting my thoughts on the London events and how it relates to the States. I just couldn’t resist bellying up at this Internet cafe, wafting the scent of clove cigarettes and patchouli-oiled backpackers and giving you a quick synopsis.
chris-bisha-playing-stern-pinball

Chris Bisha rocking some Stern pinball

Categories: Blog, Jukebox