Ralph Christoph

  • Head of c/o pop Convention © Axel Schulten
    Head of c/o pop Convention © Axel Schulten

Ralph Christoph, Head of programme c/o pop Convention, tells us why Cologne and the c/o pop Festival make such a good fit, what the c/o pop Convention brings to Cologne and where he goes to listen to music.

CCB: The c/o pop Festival is the summer highlight for music fans. Every year thousands of visitors meet at label parties, in galleries, churches, clothes shops, parks, on the street and in concert halls... but why Cologne exactly?

Christoph: Despite its size, it is simple to get around Cologne. This makes it easy for visitors to take in the various different venues. This also impacts how people go out. Taking advantage of this, we’ve organised the c/o pop Festival accordingly – all the venues, clubs, bars, shops or outside locations are easy to get to. c/o pop is an urban music festival

The c/o pop Convention runs parallel to the Festival. Who goes to these events and what topics get discussed at them?

The c/o pop Convention is one of Germany’s leading conferences and platforms for the music business. In the face of digitisation, the key issue is how to make money from music and how to ensure that the revenue finds its way to the artists behind it. This is not easy given that digitalisation is completely redefining the industry.

Why the emphasis on brands and music?

Music sales are giving way to streaming and this, in turn, is having a huge impact on the revenues going to artists. Some people are able to compensate by doing live gigs, but there are many that can’t. For this group, the question arises of whether another form of remuneration exists. If you consider films or serials on TV, at the cinema or online, one thing is clear – music almost always constitutes an essential element. The same things apply to games and advertising. In this regard, we play the role of a moderator and multiplier.

Why is Cologne so attractive for the creative scene, for musicians, for the young and the young at heart?

Cologne combines the advantages of a big city with the intimacy of a neighbourhood. The combination is unique and makes up for the architectural indiscretions of the post-war period. The atmosphere is essentially liberal and open, and nearly every niche is represented. There’s a healthy independent scene and a strong culture of discourse. It’s easy to meet people and projects often have their inception at the bar. The phrase “Cologne is a feeling” is a little hackneyed but is, nevertheless, rooted in the truth.

You met our photographer in Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld, adjacent to its new offshoot, YUCA or Your Urban Club of Arts, which was crowd-funded.

Yes, although scoffed at first, this shows just how big a role the crowd can play in planning a project! It’s about fans, not just consumers. It proves that in times when things need to be fast, cheap or free, people are prepared to invest in quality. I’m delighted that YUCA worked out so well. It’s a fantastic venue. Cologne has got one wonderful venue more for great concerts and large-scale parties!

What are your plans for this evening? Where are the best gigs in Cologne?

The Cologne Music Week is on. It’s a festival for up and coming talents and it’s part of c/o pop. The festival was consciously organised to coincide with the Passagen and imm events. There are a lot of people in town and we want to show them the awesome bands and artists that are in the city year after year. To that extent, it’s good to drift between festival locations, Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld, Stadtgarten or Zum scheuen Reh. There is always something to discover.

More information about c/o pop Festival