$170M For Music: German Businesses Battle For Budget

Wincent Weiss concert at Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany, June 22.
Ying Tang/NurPhoto via Getty Images
– Wincent Weiss concert at Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany, June 22.
Fans sit apart from each other in order to keep the mandated distance.

The German government has announced a €130 billion ($150 billion) economic stimulus package in June for the country’s countless struggling businesses affected by COVID-19 shutdowns, including €1 billion allocated for the cultural industries – but this amount must be put into perspective with how many individual sectors the term “cultural industries” includes.

Small and medium-sized, privately-owned venues; the entire recorded music sector, including producers, labels, publishers; the entire live sector, including promoters, clubs and agencies; the instrument trade; other performing arts including theater and dance; the movie and book industries, art galleries, as well as socio-cultural centers – they all are hoping to get a piece of the pie.
Of that €1 billion figure, €150 million ($171 million) have been allocated to the music sector, which employs some 120,000 people in Germany, plus another 30,000 suppliers directly dependent on the music economy.
Prof. Jens Michow, president of Germany’s promoters association BDKV, told Pollstar there was “a fierce battle for a share of the budget.”
The enforced occupational break for Germany’s live sector will extend until the end of October, at least, at which point the sector will have been idle for eight months.
BDKV president and CEO Prof. Jens Michow
Klaus Westermann
– BDKV president and CEO Prof. Jens Michow

However, according to Michow “every promoter is proceeding under the assumption that no more events will take place this year.”

He said, “The negotiations on the €150 million are proceeding satisfactorily. It’s also being made sure that the funds are reaching who they should be reaching, namely the affected businesses, at least as far as the music sector is concerned.
“But it has to be clear that €150 million aren’t nearly enough to get the entire music economy fit for a restart,” Michow emphasized.
According to BDKV data, the sector will have lost more than €5.7 billion ($6.5 billion) in revenue by the end of August. €150 million represents not even 3% of that.
Still, Michow said, “We’re grateful for this help for the cultural sector. It’s existential for promoters.”
He added that it was also important for the country’s cultural ministers to acknowledge the economic importance of the music sector, whose infrastructure would only survive if the government compensated businesses for losses that have occurred over these past months in addition to a fund for a restart.