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Munich music venues file lawsuit against Bavaria

Seven Munich music venues have teamed up to sue the Free State of Bavaria for allegedly violating the law when it forced the venues to close at the end of March, due to coronavirus.

One of the club owners, Alexander Spierer of Sweet Club, told Süddeutsche Zeitung that the venues do not dispute the state’s decision to force closure in a bid to control the virus, but are frustrated that the operators have largely abandoned by the government.

Spierer went on to say that club operators are not interested in reopening any time soon but would like to hold the state liable for damages, saying the help offered was inadequate.

After teaming up with the other clubs, Spierer’s lawyer submitted a standard control application to the Bavarian Administrative Court, claiming that the Bavarian government violated applicable law and the Basic Law when, by decree, on 27 March, it banned the operation of clubs, among other things.

“Munich music venue operators are frustrated that they have largely been left alone by politics and feel the help offered was inadequate”

Bavaria, Germany’s biggest state, was the first to implement a full lockdown, which started from 4 March. The state premier Markus Söder began to relax measures in mid-May.

Concert spaces in Bavaria were permitted to reopen on 22 June, with a maximum of 100 guests indoors and up to 200 guests outdoors, and adhering to social distancing measures. Major events remain prohibited at least until 31 August.

Elsewhere in Germany, major events remain banned until the start of November unless organisers can prove that social distancing measures and hygiene protocol can be met.

Bayreuth-based promoter Semmel Concerts is planning to host the biggest event the country has seen post-coronavirus, inviting 5,000 fans to open-air concerts at the Waldbühne amphitheatre in Berlin, in September.

A custom-designed hygiene protocol will be in place at the event, which will also respect all distancing regulations.


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Viagogo reprimanded over “misleading” marketing

German consumer protection agency Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (VZ) has criticised Viagogo for “deceiving” consumers by allegedly masquerading as a primary ticket seller.

The Bavarian (Bayern) branch of VZ says it has, along with its counterparts in seven other German states, received numerous complaints from customers that Viagogo seeks to disguise the fact it is a secondary ticketing site, posing instead as as “an official ticket sales portal”.

“In this way,” says the agency’s Susanne Baumer, “the company deceives users about the essential characteristics of its service.”

“Consumers are particularly critical of the fact that the company appears to be an official ticket sales portal”

VZ Bayern also blasts Zurich-based Viagogo’s guarantee as “useless”, noting that by “guaranteeing the receipt of tickets, [Viagogo] reinforces the impression that consumers are dealing with a direct ticket seller. In fact, this guarantee does not include any more than the statutory rights of the buyer.”

The agency has, therefore, sent a letter demanding the secondary ticketing site “make its status as a ticket exchange clear” and cease all advertising using the “misleading” term Viagogo Guarantee (Viagogo-Garantie).

Verbraucherzentrale in North Rhine-Westphalia won a court case in September forcing CTS Eventim to stop charging service fees on print-at-home tickets.


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