Sex, Drugs And Rock ‘N’ Roll

“Guests copulated in locked offices, used cocaine in the toilets, smoked weed in the foyer, and made out wherever they had the inclination,” was how Die Welt described the scenes at a wild record label bash held in Bertelsmann’s Berlin offices.

Bertelsmann’s executive board is now reported to be checking into how the party got so out of hand that police were called, but more embarrassing for Europe’s largest media company is the rash of stories that have spread through the German media.

Apart from the raucous scenes described in Die Welt, a story in Der Spiegel claimed couples were “caught in the act in Conference Room 2a” and Berliner Zeitung quoted company spokesman Oliver Hergesell as saying, “We don’t know how it happened but we are looking into this. What is clear is that the real purpose of the celebration has been surpassed.”

The police reportedly showed up after neighbours had called to complain about loud music on the roof of the building.

There’s some confusion over who was hosting the June jamboree. The New York Post quoted “a source” as saying the party was thrown by German record label It-Sounds – which is distributed, but not owned, by Sony BMG.

It had been held to honour local band 2raumwohnung’s latest album going gold.

Earlier reports in the German media said it was music giant Sony BMG – partly owned by Bertelsmann – that organised the orgy of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.

In any case, it seems it’s the Bertelsmann executive board that’s having to clear up the mess. The Post claims to have a leaked memo that reads, “As the owner of the building, Bertelsmann will pursue a full clarification of the facts with the event’s host, Sony BMG.

“Measures have been taken to ensure that incidents like the ones described in the protocol cannot occur in the future.”

Some of the German papers said Sony BMG European chief Martin Steinkampf was the top exec to attend, but it seems he missed out on the fun as the reports have him leaving between “9 p.m. and 10 p.m.”

Maybe he wasn’t in the mood to party. The latest reports say the German recorded music market’s first half figures are down to 64.7 million units, 10.2 percent lower than the same period last year.

Steinkamp has said digital revenues aren’t rising as fast as physical sales are falling.

— John Gammon