Schwenkow Goes For Grey Gold

Having successfully teamed with Sony to create DEAG Classics, Peter Schwenkow is looking to extend the partnership with the major music company and hit the “middle of the road” market.

The news of DEAG’s new joint venture, its immediate purchase of two-thirds of leading promoter Manfred Hertlein Veranstaltungs, and classical violinist and DEAG Classic artist David Garrett buying 3 percent of the stock has seen Schwenkow’s company’s share price soar 45 percent from euro 1.60 to euro 2.30 in the last two weeks.

The joint venture will be called Gold Entertainment.

Hertlein will continue to be managing director of his company for another five years. Last year the 30-year-old company’s revenues topped euro 12 million ($15.7 million). Its roster includes Yvonne Catterfeld, Peter Hofmann and Modern Talking.

“It’s a very popular market and a highly profitable one,” Schwenkow told Pollstar, acknowledging that he’s targeting the “grey gold” or German schlager market.

“It’s more volksmusik, which translates as people’s music, than it is traditional folk music,” he added. “On German TV there are over a dozen shows a week for this sort of middle-of-the-road pop music, and Gold Entertainment will enable us to take the TV format out on tour.”

The new joint venture, a 50-50 partnership, will be based in DEAG’s Berlin headquarters and be led by co-managing directors Joe Hugger and Christian Diekmann.

Hugger is Sony’s senior vice president for entertainment and new business in the GAS territories. Diekmann is DEAG’s chief operating officer.

“We want to start a cooperation with a full-service package for all our artists of the local product with special marketing concepts, consumer promotion and effective merchandising campaigns, as we know it from the rock and pop business,” Berger said in a statement. “It offers us the opportunity to build up newcomers and also to organize tours with already established artists.”

Schwenkow says the new venture was born on the back of the success of DEAG Classics, in which his company has a 51 percent stake.

It currently looks after A-list classical acts including Garrett, top Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang, Russian-born soprano Anna Netrebko, and – Schwenkow’s own tip for worldwide stardom – Italian opera singer Vittorio Grigolo.