Celebrations But No Wedding

Germany’s major promoters’ association IDKV celebrated its 25th anniversary with a slap-up dinner at Hamburg’s Hotel Empire Riverside Sept. 22, but its marriage to the country’s other major promoters’ group seems to have been put on the backburner.

The IDKV (Der Bundesverband der Veranstaltungswirtschaft) has at least marked its anniversary by changing the shortened form of its name to DBV, which is more in keeping with the full German version.

The full name was changed in 2003 but the shortened form was so well known its board was reluctant to change it. At the time it also thought the re-branding process would be too huge an operation.

The proposed union with Der Verband Der Deutschen Konzertdirektionen (VDKD), an older but similar-sized operation, has been in the cards for a couple of years.

Their courtship has included joining forces to take on issues such as GEMA – the copyright collection society – trying to hike fees.
By January both promoters’ associations managed to thrash out a compromise that was largely based on what the German arbitrary court advised at the end of November 2009.

The reason the newly monikered DBV and the VDKD aren’t walking up the aisle comes down to the latter’s classical music promoters fearing their interests may be compromised within a larger setup.

The VDKD was founded in 1946 and has 240 members that work mainly in the classical music field, which means the sector can always make its voice heard within its own association.

What’s now the DBV has about 300 members, with the vast majority working with contemporary music. That would be enough to make the classical promoters a minority group within a new merged association.

DBV chief Jens Michow said merger negotiations went on for a long time but both sides eventually decided to put things on ice and take another look at the situation later.

“The classical promoters wanted some special terms for their group but we felt that went against the idea of one united association,” Michow told Pollstar. “If the IDKV promoters who work in cabaret or put on musicals also wanted their own special terms, then it could be less like creating one body than splintering off into several smaller ones.”

Apart from its celebratory dinner, the IDKV is also in Hamburg Sept. 23-26 to support and attend panels at the city’s annual Reeperbahn Festival and Conference.