Around the corner and down the street from the ATEI amusement trade show at Earl’s Court exhibition center in London, InterGame magazine sponsored a competing event at the Hotel Ibis. Dubbed IGX, it fared rather better than I had expected of a lower-cost show in a smallish hotel ball room. Sound Leisure, the UK-based jukebox company, was clearly the headliner. Alan Black, the affable chairman of Sound Leisure, reported that he was hosting as much traffic as he had in recent years at ATEI.
Still, IGX was quite small and could be experienced in about 10 minutes. (It reminded me of the last tiny EXIME show that I attended in Mexico City in 2006.) Despite its small size, IGX was a spirited gathering. There was even an amusing moment in which IGX organizer and InterGame editor Phil Clegg was briefly denied entry into the ATEI exhibition hall. Provided InterGame made enough money to have another go next year – this event may indeed build momentum.
Sound Leisure’s defection from ATEI was definitely IGX’s gain. It seemed like most of the visitors to the Hotel Ibis were there to see the boys from Leeds. Alan Black was, as always, a gracious host and was justifiably proud that the company was celebrating the sale of its 12,000th digital jukebox. However, aside from adding location-controlled advertising capability to add via a USB port to its jukeboxes, Sound Leisure wasn’t featuring much that was new. Company veteran Rob Navarre did point out that they are now offering more back catalog and more new tracks than ever. Their “Milestones in Music” service includes over 2.5 million licensed tracks.
In comparison, AMI Entertainment offers 500,000+ licensed tracks and eCast 250,000+, according to their Web sites. TouchTunes’s site claims, “With hundreds of thousands of songs available on our catalog and over 2 million licensed tracks in our music library…” I’m not exactly sure what that means.
“Milestones in Music” inspired some discussion about the differences between the UK and the U.S. regarding music licensing. Black and Navarre described a much different system for the UK. With only one licensing organization to deal with, the UK system seems more streamlined than ours in the States. I’ll take an in-depth look at the differences in an upcoming post.