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DreamHaus hires three to festival team

Berlin-based promoter DreamHaus is strengthening its festival team with three new hires: Jana Posth, Marlene Ryba and Johanna Neuber.

All three executives will work on the Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals, which DreamHaus has been responsible for since 2022 after it was acquired by CTS Eventim.

Jana Posth takes over the position as head of festival operations/festival director Rock am Ring. She has held roles in the events sector for 10 years, including managing the Lollapalooza Festival in Berlin.

“With fresh ideas and their great know-how in the field of festivals, Jana, Marlene and Johanna enrich our team enormously”

Marlene Ryba assumes the role of senior communications & PR manager of festivals, having previously worked in the PR department at Lollapalooza.

And Johanna Neuber, who has been active in the music industry for five years, joins the team as a junior project and event manager.

“With fresh ideas and their great know-how in the field of festivals, Jana, Marlene and Johanna enrich our team enormously and contribute to the future-oriented development of Rock am Ring/Rock im Park,” says Marc Seemann, director of strategy & business development.

 


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CTS Eventim ‘significantly’ exceeds 2023 forecast

CTS Eventim “significantly exceeded” its forecast for 2023 thanks to a “very strong” Q4, according to the company’s latest financial results.

The pan-European giant enjoyed a record year, attaining consolidated revenue of €2.359 billion for the 12-month period – a 22.5% increase on the previous year’s €1.926bn. CTS had previously projected group revenue in excess of €2bn for 2023 as a whole last October.

In the preliminary figures, the group also reported normalised EBITDA of €501.4 million, up 31.9% from €380.1m in the previous year. CTS’ full annual report for 2023 will be published on 26 March.

The growth was powered by the German-headquartered firm’s ticketing and live entertainment segments. Ticketing revenue rose 32.5% to €717m (2022: €541m), with normalised EBITDA leaping 46.6% to €382.4m.

For the live entertainment strand, revenue jumped 18.9% year-on-year to €1.677bn (2022: €1.410bn), with normalised EBITDA almost flat at €119.1m, compared to €119.2m in 2022.

The group figures include income of €37.4m to which CTS group companies are directly entitled, resulting from compensation paid by the German government to the joint venture autoTicket GmbH, Berlin.

“The year-on-year growth rates shown here reflect the success of the operating business”

“As the prior-year figures contained a similar volume of income that had been received under pandemic-related economic aid programmes, the year-on-year growth rates shown here reflect the success of the operating business,” adds a company statement.

According to Pollstar’s 2023 global rankings, the Eventim Group is the world’s second-biggest promoter. The firm’s portfolio includes festivals such as Rock am Ring, Rock im Park, Hurricane, Southside,and Lucca Summer.

It also operates venues, such as the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, the K.B. Hallen in Copenhagen, the Waldbühne in Berlin and the Eventim Apollo in London.

Visions reports that more than 90,000 tickets have already been sold for Germany’s Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, which take place from 7-9 June at Nürburgring race track and Zeppelin Field, respectively.

Operated by CTS’ Dreamhaus subsidiary, the twin festivals will be headlined by Die Ärzte, Måneskin and Green Day. The events’ new premium camping offers are said to be almost sold out, while tickets for the Backstage Camp, Seaside Backstage Camp and Caravan Camping are already sold out.

“The demand for tickets is strong and the fans’ anticipation is huge,” says Dreamhaus CEO Matt Schwarz.

 


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Global Promoters Report 2023: Germany

In the memorable assessment he provided to IQ last year, Rammstein and Robbie Williams promoter Scumeck Sabottka of MCT Agentur gave the German market short shrift.

“It’s shit,” he said. “The really big and hot things still sell, but the middle bit is really struggling. And that is the important bit, because we don’t just live on cake, we live on bread. And all the bread is gone.”

This year, Sabottka hasn’t drastically revised his view. “It seems that major stadium and arena tours are selling well, while club and mid-size-venue acts are not performing as well as before the pandemic – but that’s just my personal observation,” he says. “Overall, I would say business is stalling and not healthy. Let’s hope for 2024 to do better.”

Other promoters have reported similar challenges in a market characterised by rising costs, extreme saturation, and unpredictable demand for all but the most star-powered events. While more Germans are attending shows than ever before, the sheer quantity of those shows has led to weak sales in many instances. So, while plenty of blockbuster events have managed to buck that trend, the general sense is of a packed market that can’t quite be trusted.

“Compared to pre-pandemic, I think it’s busier,” says Sina Hall, head of the international booking department at Semmel Concerts. “And it’s gotten a little bit rougher because everybody is back out now.

“It’s a little bit more mystifying and harder to tell what are going to be the hard ticket sales for an act”

“Because their markets reopened much earlier, the US acts are now willing and ready to put focus on Europe again, so there’s a lot of content going through, and the markets are tricky now. We are all coming to terms with the fact that everything has got so much more expensive, and it’s a little bit more mystifying and harder to tell what are going to be the hard ticket sales for an act. You can’t necessarily compare it to pre-pandemic conditions.”

But though all is not entirely well, Germany remains the largest live music market in Europe and the third biggest in the world. In addition to heavy gig-going cities such as Berlin, Cologne, Munich, Hamburg, and Frankfurt, it has a further 35 cities with populations of around 200,000-plus and plenty of shows and local events in most of them.

Local giant CTS Eventim has significant strength in the German market, with stakes in promoters FKP Scorpio, Semmel, DreamHaus, Peter Rieger Konzertagentur and a number of regional promoters, as well as venues such as Cologne’s Lanxess Arena and the Waldbühne Berlin. The group reported a milestone €1.02bn in revenues for the first half of this year, and noted that Germany, along with Italy and Austria, was among the major drivers.

FKP Scorpio makes its home in Hamburg and presides over more than 25 festivals across Europe. The company has tours this year with acts including The National and Queens of the Stone Age and will also promote Taylor Swift’s Eras stadium dates in Germany next year.

FKP’s German festival portfolio is a strong one. This year’s twin Southside and Hurricane events – respectively in the southern town of Neuhausen ob Eck and at the Eichenring motorcycle speedway in Scheeßel in the north – came close to selling out this year, with 78,000 attendees at Hurricane and 60,000 at Southside, and Muse, Die Ärzte, Placebo, Queens of the Stone Age, The 1975, and Loyle Carner at the top of the bills.

“Rising costs for virtually everything continue to take their toll”

To hammer home their ongoing health, the festivals promptly sold 50,000 tickets for the 2024 editions on the first day of presale. “As we have not yet released any acts for the coming year, this result is also an enormous vote of confidence, which is perhaps even more valuable than any economic success,” said FKP founder and CEO Folkert Koopmans.

Other German festivals for FKP include Highfield, M’era Luna, Rolling Stone Beach, Metal Hammer Paradise, A Summer’s Tale, Plage Noire, and Deichbrand. Berlin’s open-air festival Tempelhof Sounds, produced with DreamHaus and Loft Concerts, took a break this year after its 2022 debut, as its Tempelhof Airport site is home to a growing number of refugee shelters.

“Rising costs for virtually everything continue to take their toll,” FKP MD Stephan Thanscheidt told IQ in July. “Because of this, less demand, and purchasing power, a lot of festivals are struggling, and we suspect their number to further decrease in the future.”

M’era Luna, took place before 25,000 fans in Hildesheim in August, featuring artists including Within Temptation and Ville Valo. The Highfield Festival, organised with Semmel Concerts, attracted 35,000 fans in August, while the 60,000-cap Deichbrand Festival, in Cuxhaven on Germany’s North Sea coast, sold out in July.

Semmel is another German titan, regularly ranking among the leading promoters worldwide. It handles a heavy schedule of major shows and exhibitions, adding up to more than 1,500 events a year for over 5m visitors, with Hans Zimmer, Schlager great Roland Kaiser and Elton John arena blockbuster Rocketman In Concert among the stars, to add to many big shows and a booming exhibitions business.

“We need to take care of the acts now that will make our life and our industry possible tomorrow”

But alongside the larger shows, Sina Hall is passionate about the notion of developing newer talent, and she notes that while many bigger artists and productions are keen to make up for lost time, younger ones are seeking to tour for different reasons.
“There’s a lot of different models for going out there,” she says. “Some artists understandably just want to play again, and then there are artists that really need it as a crucial part of their career development.”

In that spirit, for the first time, Semmel launched a Reeperbahn showcase this year, with eight acts on the bill, including German and US acts across a range of genres. “I think that’s showing how important we find this development of younger artists,” says Hall. “We need to take care of the acts now that will make our life and our industry possible tomorrow.”

Of the other Eventim-affiliated promoters, DreamHaus, founded by Matt Schwarz, former MD and COO of Live Nation GSA, handles the Eventim-owned twin Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals – which bring a combined attendance of 150,000 to Nuremberg in June, this year with Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon, and Die Toten Hosen as headliners – in addition to numerous artist shows.

Live Nation has been big news in Germany for eight years, since its acquisition of the powerful MLK operation. The ensuing years have been predictably muscular ones, and Live Nation GSA staged more than 50 open-air events for over 3m visitors in summer 2023.

A first edition of Rolling Loud Germany drew 60,000 to Munich’s Messe München fairgrounds in July for a hip-hop extravaganza spearheaded by Wizkid, Kendrick Lamar, and Travis Scott. Superbloom, staged in Munich in early September by Live Nation-owned Goodlive for the second time, sold 50,000 tickets on each of its two days, and Superbloom director Fruzsina Szép pronounced the event “almost perfect.”

“There’s a lot of different models for going out there”

“It was an absolutely beautiful and calm atmosphere throughout those two days,” she told IQ days after the festival. “I’ve never experienced a festival like this, that I’ve been involved with.”

Live Nation’s Lollapalooza Berlin in April became the first festival in Germany to be awarded the DIN ISO 20121 sustainability accreditation. However, its 111,000-cap Download Germany at the Hockenheimring was cancelled due to production issues resulting from this year’s busy summer season.

Among its many artist shows, Live Nation GSA also sold out eight stadium concerts for honorary Germans Depeche Mode this summer – two in Berlin, Frankfurt, and Düsseldorf; one each in Munich and Leipzig – and the band return for eight arena shows early in 2024.

Careful but prosperous and acquisitive throughout the post-Covid period, German-headquartered live entertainment group DEAG in August laid bare its expansion plans for 2023, with a revenue goal of more than €300m, ticket sales of 10m – up from 9m in 2022 – and an expectation of 6,000 events across its key European markets. The company also revealed in its H1 financial results that it has “several acquisitions in advanced stages of negotiation.”

The company had a strong festival summer, welcoming more than 800,000 visitors to its festivals between late June and early September. A new acquisition, German electronic dance festival Airbeat One, attracted 70,000 people to its 20th anniversary. Other major acquisitions in 2022 included the summer psytrance Indian Spirit event in Eldena, and Classic Open Air in Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt – to add to a portfolio that includes the Ruhr-in-Love, Nature One and Kessel festivals.

“If you look at their audience, they have almost four generations there now”

DEAG-owned Wizard Promotions has plenty of success stories to throw into the pot, including Scorpions, the KISS farewell tour, and a notably storming Iron Maiden arena run. “They know what they are doing, and they can go to market very well,” says Wizard managing director Oliver Hoppe of the British heavy metal heroes. “Every show was a sell-out – one of the best Maiden tours I have ever seen. If you look at their audience, they have almost four generations there now. For a lot of the younger kids, 18 or even less, that whole metal and rock thing is starting to come back a little now.”

All the same, Hoppe echoes the sense of a market still trying to regain its feeling for what works. “Pre-Covid, there was a certain formula and understanding of things: if you do this, then that will happen,” he says. “Post-Covid, a lot has changed. Anything that has a brand name does well, to a certain degree, and often regardless of the ticket price. When people know what they are getting for their money, they don’t really care how much they spend on it. But if they are paying €100 for a big show, maybe they don’t go to the smaller shows, the bands they haven’t seen before – they save up for a couple of months for the bigger ticket.”

Among Germany’s other notable national promoters, Hamburg-based Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion organises about 1,300 concerts a year – 900 of them its own tours in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, and around 400 as a local partner in Hamburg for other promoters. Forthcoming shows include a stake in two Hamburg dates on Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour with AEG Presents and a wealth of other events from Björk to BABYMETAL.

On the festival side, its events include the Stadtpark Open Air concert series in Hamburg’s City Park, launched by Jahnke in 1975, as well as JazzNights, Elbjazz, and Überjazz festivals, plus Way Back When and Campus Spring Break in the Ruhr region.

Other independents in the German market include Berlin-based booker and national promoter Z|ART, whose shows currently include Boy & Bear, Jockstrap, and Johnny Jewel; Hamburg’s a.s.s. concerts & promotion, which promotes and books up to 1,200 concerts a year for German and international artists, with branch offices in Berlin, Hamburg, and Düsseldorf; Hamburg-based indie Neuland Concerts, whose shows for next year include Jason Derulo; and another Hamburg native, Music Minds Productions, which this year has been involved with shows by both Till Lindemann and – in person at Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena but not singing – former president Barack Obama.

“When people know what they are getting for their money, they don’t really care how much they spend on it”

Of the market’s other key festival promoters, Cosmopop is responsible for the 29-year-old Time Warp electronic festival in Mannheim and further afield; Opus produces the renowned Jazzopen Stuttgart; while ICS (International Concert Service) controls the legendary Wacken Open Air in Schleswig- Holstein, one of the world’s biggest rock festivals.

From a geographical and promoting point of view, Germany is a huge market and a highly regionalised one, in which the 16 states have significant local differences. Traditionally, national promoters have partnered with local promoters for shows in specific cities, though these days the boundaries are often less defined.

National promoters often run their own shows in cities where they have a presence and some cultivate local specialists in-house. For instance, Wizard Promotions and sister company Handwerker Promotion formed a local joint venture in 2018 called Rhein-Main Concerts in Frankfurt to produce events in the south-west region of the country.

Nonetheless, the old system remains broadly in place, with powerful local promoters including Eventim’s Dirk Becker Entertainment, which operates in the Rhine-Ruhr region of western Germany encompassing Cologne; DEAG’s Munich- based Global Concerts; Hannover Concerts in the northern city of the same name; and Undercover, based in Braunschweig and operating in northern Germany and beyond.

German recording giant BMG acquired Undercover in 2020. It has booked Berlin’s 1,600-seat Theater des Westens until the end of 2024 for a series of residencies by domestic and international recording artists, as well as stage musical productions, and curated the live programme of the Hessentag, Germany’s largest state festival, in Pfungstadt, Hesse.

Global Promoters Report 2023 is out now.

 


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Global Promoters Report 2022: Germany

The Global Promoters Report, a first-of-its-kind resource that highlights the world’s leading promoters and the 40 top markets they operate in, is now available to subscribers of IQ.

In an excerpt from the guide, IQ delves into the biggest touring market in Europe and the third-biggest in the world: Germany.

 


Germany is the biggest market in Europe and the third-biggest in the world, after the US and Japan. It generated revenues of around €5bn a year in pre-Covid times, though things are significantly tougher since the return of unrestricted shows in spring 2022, as energy prices and economic concerns squeeze sections of the market.

The German promoting business remains muscular and is largely steered by powerful consolidated groups – from local giants CTS Eventim, FKP Scorpio, and DEAG, to Live Nation – though there remain a number of hardworking independents.

Between them, the big groups account for a significant chunk of the nation’s national promoters. CTS Eventim, for instance, holds stakes in FKP Scorpio, Semmel Concerts, DreamHaus, and Peter Rieger Konzertagentur, accounting collectively for recent tours by Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran, Muse, Måneskin, and others, as well as major festivals including Rock am Ring and Rock im Park and Hurricane/Southside.

Live Nation GSA entered the market in 2015 through its acquisition of Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur (MLK). It brings all the expected superstar tours you would expect – Bruce
Springsteen, for one, arrives next July for four German stadium shows and another in Austria, while Sting, Lil Nas X, Bryan Adams, and Rosalía did the rounds before Christmas.

Live Nation bulked up further in September, adding longstanding independent Goodlive to its holdings. The festival, booking, and services agency brings events including Munich debutante Superbloom, electronic fest Melt!, and hip-hop and reggae event Splash! in Ferropolis; metal and punk festival Full Force in Löbnitz; and hip-hop event Heroes in Geiselwind.

“The majority of acts – especially those not in the top range or having a buzz right now – are struggling to sell tickets”

The Eventim-affiliated, Hamburg-based FKP Scorpio is, of course, a group in its own right, operating across the Nordics, Austria, Benelux, the UK, and Poland. In Germany, it has lately promoted stadium shows for Sheeran and the Stones, as well as a heavy slate of festivals – from the twin Hurricane and Southside indie events to M’era Luna in Hildesheim, Highfield in Großpösna, and Berlin’s Tempelhof Sounds.

Broadly speaking, festivals and blockbuster headline shows have remained strong in Germany this year. Cities like Berlin, Cologne, and Munich remain busy, affluent markets for live shows, with Hamburg not far behind.

But in a time of economic uncertainty fuelled by the war in Ukraine – combined with a perfect storm of post-Covid factors that have put a premium on material and staffing of all kinds – the softness of the everyday touring market is a major challenge for the German business. While the biggest acts sail on undaunted, all promoters have tales of smaller shows either half-filled or cancelled due to weak demand.

“Looking at this demographically, the younger people are going to shows more in comparison to older people, but in general it’s challenging,” says FKP Scorpio CEO Stephan Thanscheidt.

“Of course, there are some acts that sell all the time, but the majority of acts – especially those not in the top range or having a buzz right now – are struggling to sell tickets. A lot of acts are cancelling at the moment, and not for logistical or other non-transparent reasons. They are just saying, very openly: we can’t make this tour financially work with the ticket sales and the costs we have. They are potentially playing to half the people, with double or triple the cost.”

“You put great acts on, you put great support acts on, you really think about pricing, and still ticket sales are running at 50%”

All promoters have been forced to reckon with a very different market in 2022, even as they have scrambled to honour the previous two years’ worth of Covid-era tickets.

“You put great acts on, you put great support acts on, you really think about pricing, and still ticket sales are running at 50%,” says Scumeck Sabottka, founder of independent Berlin-based Robbie Williams and Rammstein promoter MCT Agentur, who, again, notes that his flagship shows have done very well.

“Maybe next year it gets better, but I think the new normal could easily be 70%, so we need to gauge our costings and offers on that. At the moment, I think we, as promoters, are carrying a lot of pressure on our shoulders.”

German promoters in the DEAG stable include Frankfurt veteran Wizard Promotions – now under the stewardship of Oliver Hoppe, son of legendary founder Ossy – which leans in a rock direction, with Iron Maiden, Def Leppard/Mötley Crüe, and Scorpions all on the schedule for 2023. Hoppe junior, (who in September added the title of DEAG executive vice president, product and innovation to his Wizard responsibilities), shares the mixed outlook, “All in all we managed to entertain over a half a million visitors in the summer, and that was tough work but also an exciting exercise. But it’s a struggle. Nobody knows where inflation, labour shortages, energy costs, and the ongoing pandemic will take us.

“There seems to be a pattern that high-demand shows are still high in demand, but I am very concerned about club shows and emerging artists. I am expecting every day for some grand-scale tour to hit the wall, but so far, from what we are hearing and seeing from the market, that isn’t happening – so I think there is hope.”

“We see strong sales on A+ talent and established festivals but soft ticket sales on everything else”

Also in the DEAG family – along with UK promoter Kilimanjaro Live, whose Stuart Galbraith recently ascended to the group role of executive vice president international touring – are Christian Doll’s Stuttgart-based C2 Concerts and the German arm of I-Motion. The former’s 2022 tours include German dates for the Harlem Globetrotters; the latter, part-acquired in 2019 from US promoter Randy Phillips’s LiveStyle, operates several long-established electronic music festivals including Mayday, Nature One, and Ruhr in Love.

Sina Hall, Semmel Concerts senior project manager, entertainment, says dialogue with agents and other stakeholders is ongoing, as the market adapts to a new set of conditions. “If you look at the situation for promoters or clubs that are not necessarily part of a group of companies, most of them most likely used their money to make it through the pandemic, so they have to be more risk-conscious when making decisions now,” says Hall.

Relatively few promoters have launched during Covid times, for obvious reasons, but one exception is DreamHaus, the CTS-Eventim-backed venture helmed by former Live Nation GSA managing director and COO Matt Schwarz, which landed in early 2021 with one significant advantage over the wider market. “The beauty of being a start-up during Covid times is that we didn’t have to deal with any aftermath of cancelled or multiple-postponed events,” Schwarz noted in IQ’s recent German market report.

In other respects, DreamHaus – which operates the blockbuster Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals, as well as Tempelhof Sounds and arena shows this year for Lewis Capaldi, Yungblud, Muse, Måneskin, and others – sounds a familiar note of caution.

“We see strong sales on A+ talent and established festivals but soft ticket sales on everything else,” says Schwarz. “Pushing down the increased costs of touring and local production to the customers via higher ticket prices is not a sustainable solution. The worst is yet to come, so we are more selective in our bookings and the M.O. is ‘less is more’ for now.”

“The worst is yet to come, so we are more selective in our bookings and the M.O. is ‘less is more’ for now”

In its structure, Germany is a unique market. Under its distinctive regionalised system, local promoters with strong local knowledge typically co-promote with national promoters in any given city.

The local promoting business these days also betrays a strong corporate interest. Eventim owns a number of such promoters, including Bavaria’s ARGO Konzerte, Cologne’s Dirk Becker Entertainment, Promoters Group Munich, and Vaddi Concerts in south-west Germany.

Other prominent local operators include DEAG companies ACT (Berlin), River Concerts (Hamburg), Rhein Main Concerts (Frankfurt), Global Concerts and KBK (both Munich) and Handwerker, based in Unna; Hannover Concerts, in the northern German city of the same name; and Undercover, based in Braunschweig and operating in northern Germany and beyond, which was acquired by BMG in 2020 to lay the foundations for a new live music and events unit.

Some local promoters have expanded well beyond their original regions: Semmel Concerts, now a major national player, focused on Bavaria and Eastern Germany when it first launched more than 30 years ago.

These days, its shows span Germany and Austria and its calendar includes three postponed Berlin dates on Elton John’s farewell tour next May, as well as concerts by Hans Zimmer, Céline Dion, John Cale, and others next year.

“It makes the business kind of boring if there are only three or four big corporates fighting each other”

In a globalised era where scale and network clout count more than ever, Germany is hardly the only market in which independent promoters have inexorably been absorbed into international groups. Ben Mitha, managing director of Hamburg-based Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion, the persistently independent promoter founded by his grandfather, doesn’t condemn any other company for doing so, though he maintains that the market needs indies for its all-round health.

“I totally understand those people, especially in these last two challenging years, who are seeking shelter under a corporate umbrella,” says Mitha. “At the same time, it makes the business kind of boring if there are only three or four big corporates fighting each other. I think you also need those independents out there doing it for the passion or investing in some niche that might not be interesting for the big companies.”

Karsten Jahnke’s forthcoming shows include a Hamburg appearance for Robbie Williams as well as dates for Avril Lavigne, Arctic Monkeys, Wolf Alice, Elton John, and numerous smaller acts. This year’s successes have included The Cure and 49 nights at Hamburg’s Stadtpark for the Open Air series, with Deep Purple, Sting, Joe Jackson, Michael Kiwanuka, and Olivia Rodrigo among those collectively selling 170,000 tickets.

Among the market’s other nationally focused indies, is Berlin-based booker and national promoter Z|ART, founded in 2014 by Max Wentzler and Hauke Steinhof. Wentzler says there are enthusiastic audiences out there for fresh talent but suggests spiraling costs can easily have a brutal effect on promoters, even when a show is an apparent success.

“We are used to suffering in the live business, but it is haemorrhaging a little bit,” says Wentzler. “Margins have been decimated, basically, and it feels like all the income is being eaten up by security, ticketing, and stagehand companies, and also venues, who have increased their rates in response to energy prices because they are going to get hit with a huge bill.”

“Margins have been decimated, basically, and it feels like all the income is being eaten up”

Other independents include Hamburg’s a.s.s. concerts & promotion. Part of the Mehr-BB Entertainment Company, a.s.s. has operated as a booking agency and tour promoter for German and international rock, pop, folk, jazz, and world music artists since 1979, presenting up to 1,200 concerts a year.

A Covid-era consolidation saw two more Hamburg-based concert promoters, Funke Media and Neuland Concerts, merge to form what the company describes as “one of the largest owner-managed concert agencies in Germany.”

Operating as Neuland Concerts and working as both promoter and agency, Neuland’s current schedule includes dates for German stars Ina Müller and Max Mutzke. In Munich, Astrid Messerschmitt’s United Promoters has a superstar pedigree, having worked shows for Eric Clapton, AC/DC, and others, as well as maintaining a longstanding relationship with legendary veteran Marcel Avram.

Hamburg’s Music Minds Productions has also seen it all and has recently staged shows for 50 Cent at Cologne’s Lanxess Arena and The Police’s Andy Summers in Hamburg and Berlin. Of the market’s standalone festival promoters, Cosmopop is responsible for the 28-year-old Time Warp electronic festival in Mannheim and its international editions in Brazil, Chile, and the US; Opus produces the renowned Jazzopen Stuttgart; while ICS (International Concert Service) controls Wacken Open Air in Schleswig-Holstein, which remains one of the world’s biggest and most-esteemed rock festivals.

“I would wish that in many cases solution-oriented thinking could come forward instead of ego-driven thinking”

The market is competitive and tough, with even the winners licking their wounds after a bruising year. Superbloom managing director Fruzsina Szép – recently profiled in the German editions of Rolling Stone and Vogue as the one and only woman in charge of a German festival – believes more collaboration would benefit all.

“I don’t see any other festivals as competitors,” she says. “I’m really happy to have many great festivals in Germany, in Europe, in the UK. And if we have to tackle the same problems, then why not learn from each other to make it better?

“I’m very much in balance with my own ego, and I would wish that in many cases solution-oriented thinking could come forward instead of ego-driven thinking. People shouldn’t be afraid to say, ‘Well, we had problems, we had challenges.’”

 


The Global Promoters Report is published in print, digitally, and all content is also available as a year-round resource on the IQ site. The Global Promoters Report includes key summaries of the major promoters working across 40+ markets, unique interviews and editorial on key trends and developments across the global live music business.

To access all content from the current Global Promoters Report, please click here.

FKP Scorpio postpones Tempelhof Sounds to 2024

FKP Scorpio has postponed the second edition of Tempelhof Sounds to 2024, as the disused airport in which it takes place is “urgently needed” for refugee housing.

The Berlin-based festival launched last June in collaboration with German promoters Loft Concerts and Dreamhaus and was headlined by Muse, The Strokes and Florence and the Machine.

“Despite its successful premiere, Tempelhof Sounds will take a break in 2023 before taking place again in 2024,” says FKP Scorpio in a statement.

“Tempelhof Airport provided a great stage and impressive backdrop for us and our guests this year. Now, in the face of the ongoing inhumane war in Ukraine, it is once again providing much-needed shelter for refugees.

“In the face of the ongoing inhumane war in Ukraine, [Tempelhof] is once again providing much-needed shelter for refugees”

“The recent decision by the Berlin Senate to increase the number of emergency shelters means that, in addition to a change in the spatial layout for the placement and design of the festival grounds, there are also new requirements for noise protection, which of course applies to these people just as it does to all other residents. For us, this means that a successful approval process for our festival is unfortunately impossible under these new circumstances.

“Apart from that, we also consider it humanly imperative to show consideration in this exceptional situation to ensure that people who need refuge are not adversely affected under any circumstances. Instead, we wish that in 2024 we will come together under better circumstances to celebrate music and peace together. We look forward to starting planning for this very soon.”

In lieu of Tempelhof Sounds 2023, FKP Scorpio and Loft Concerts have organised a concert that will bring “the unique atmosphere” of the festival to Waldbühne (Woodland Stage), the 22,000-capacity open-air theatre at Olympiapark Berlin.

Bon Iver, Fever Ray and Holly Humberstone will perform at Tempelhof Sounds Presents on 2 June, with tickets starting from €75.

 


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Federal reserve: Germany market report

As the biggest live music market in Europe, Germany suffered more than most when it came to two years without international tours. But while the return to business has been welcomed, the post-Covid ‘new normal’ is delivering a new set of challenges, making an already cautious market even more wary. Adam Woods reports.

Every year for more than three decades, German insurance company R+V Versicherung has been asking Germans about their worries. And this year’s survey, published in October, revealed that they have a lot of them, from the rising cost of living to unaffordable housing to the fear of rising taxes and the worsening economic situation.

“Overall,” said study leader Grischa Brower-Rabinowitsch, “people are significantly more worried than they were a year ago.”

None of this will surprise German promoters, who, even in this jam-packed catch-up year, have been well aware that something was up.

Scarred by Covid, hammered by inflation, and gloomy about the imminent future, Germans are increasingly inclined to stay at home and keep their money in their pockets – maybe coming out for a big show or a festival but otherwise seemingly directing their leisure budgets towards Netflix and heating bills.

The business is therefore feeling discomfort on several fronts. Jens Michow, president of the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry (BDKV), recently called for more government aid to cover increased energy costs, as venues reported huge increases in their own bills.

“We don’t just live on cake, we live on bread. And all the bread is gone”

Saddled with galloping costs, supply shortages, perilously variable demand and the persistent spectre of fresh winter Covid restrictions, many promoters are beginning to wonder whether the business is sustainable at this level for long.

“It’s shit,” says MCT Agentur’s Scumeck Sabottka. “I mean, in the pandemic, we couldn’t work, and of course there was no business. But speaking for myself, we would never have thought the market would be so disastrous when we returned. And that goes equally for small clubs that should sell out but don’t, to venues that ought to sell 4,000 and end up selling 1,200. My guesstimate is that we are running at lower than 50%.

“The really big and hot things still sell,” adds the Rammstein and Robbie Williams promoter, “but the middle bit is really struggling. And that is the important bit because we don’t just live on cake, we live on bread. And all the bread is gone.”

The pattern is one familiar to many markets: big shows guzzle consumer spending, giving a very tangible impression of a market in rude health, but the greater mass of shows – those that form the fabric of the business, not to mention the pipeline of future stars – are often troublingly hard to make a success of.

“It’s weird because, on the one hand, if you only look at all the sold-out shows, it feels like everything is okay”

“All the stadiums in Germany are super-busy in all the available windows. Everything is booked up,” says Ben Mitha, managing director at veteran Hamburg-based indie Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion. “It’s weird because, on the one hand, if you only look at all the sold-out shows, it feels like everything is okay. But then, for every big sell-out, you might have ten or 20 smaller shows that are not doing very well.”

But, though all is not entirely well, Germany remains the largest live music market in Europe and the third biggest in the world. In addition to heavy gig-going cities such as Berlin, Cologne, Munich, Hamburg, and Frankfurt, it has a further 35 cities with populations of around 200,000-plus and plenty of shows and local events in most of them.

To some extent, the post-pandemic months have been a success. The bigger domestic and international shows have broadly performed well, and most of the larger festivals have made a fairly safe landing in the new era. Groups such as CTS Eventim and DEAG, meanwhile, have reported H1 2022 revenues higher than those of the same period in 2019. But in the short- to medium-term, the overall pot seems likely to shrink even as the cost of staging shows increases and profitability declines.

Under such challenging circumstances, says Sina Hall, Semmel Concerts senior project manager, entertainment, it is critical that the international industry adopts a policy of honesty and understanding when deals are being done.

“We all need each other in the future, and it is the responsibility of everyone in the industry to understand the position everyone else is in”

“I think it is about being transparent and aligning our expectations with everyone involved,” says Hall. “It can’t be that domestic promoters are taking on the increased costs of touring on top of everything. And I feel like a lot of conversations with agents have changed in that way. We all need each other in the future, and it is the responsibility of everyone in the industry to understand the position everyone else is in.”

Already, the shape of next year’s calendar appears to be shifting. “It used to be you did a regular indoor tour in the spring, then a strong festival summer and then maybe a second tour in the autumn,” says Mitha. “Now a lot of artists are skipping the indoor touring and just trying to squeeze as much as they can into the summer because it’s the safest period in terms of infections.”

There is no doubt that aspects of the German industry will still draw a crowd in 2023. The question is what proportion of shows will struggle and whether there will be much of a profit to be made in even the successful ones.

“Will it be a fantastic year?” ponders FKP Scorpio CEO Stephan Thanscheidt. “I have my doubts. It surely won’t kill us, but it won’t be the best year. And then again, maybe the war ends, everything normalises and the people’s pur- chasing power rises again. It’s all just completely out of our control.”

Promoters
International operators including CTS Eventim, FKP Scorpio, and DEAG all call Germany home. And at the top of the market, concern for the immediate future mixes with bullishness, as big players make the most of the demand unleashed by the unrestricted reopening of the market in May while acknowledging that treacherous times lie ahead.

“I think Germany might be one of the weaker European markets because the energy crisis is particularly severe here,” says DEAG COO/CDO Christian Diekmann. “But we are in a good mood because we are in the middle of a very strong year. In the first half of 2022, we increased our revenues by 110%, from €63.9m to €133.4m. And that’s not compared to ’21 or ’20 but compared to the last regular year of 2019.”

After Germany’s May restart, DEAG sold more than 3m tickets between June and August 2022, while Diekmann attributes a successful Christmas last year to DEAG’s Christmas Garden series of events, which sold 1.9m tickets as 2021 drew to an end.

“That was a very good start to ’22,” he says. “Like all of our competitors, we have the problem of the lack of material, the lack of staff, the increasing costs. But the strength of our group structure means all of our subsidiaries can combine purchases in every segment, and we have been in a position to get everything we need for every concert and every open-air this year.”

“What we are seeing is that artists are already going on sale as early as they can”

DEAG, which includes promoters including Frankfurt’s Wizard Promotions and the UK’s Kilimanjaro Live among its stable, isn’t pretending to be immune from market turbulence.

“For 2023, we are very, very careful,” says Diekmann. “Of course, we have exploding expenditure in every field of the business. We have the energy crisis, we have the inflation, and the majority of economic forecasters expect a very strong economic dip. That is the situation. What we are seeing is that artists are already going on sale as early as they can.”

CTS Eventim experienced a group-wide bounce of its own, with revenues of €734.4m from January to June 2022 – up from €696.6m in the first half of 2019. Those are international numbers, but Eventim’s strength in the German market is profound, with stakes in FKP Scorpio, Semmel Concerts, new Matt Schwarz-helmed, Berlin-based promoter DreamHaus, Peter Rieger Konzertagentur and a number of regional promoters, as well as venues such as Cologne’s Lanxess Arena and the Waldbühne Berlin.

DreamHaus has made an auspicious start, launching in early 2021 and assuming responsibility for Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, as well as building its own touring and festival business.

“2022 has been difficult, challenging and felt long, when I was hoping for it to be a transition year”

“The beauty of being a startup during Covid times is that we didn’t have to deal with any aftermath of cancelled or multiple-postponed events,” says Schwarz. “We could focus on Rock am Ring and Rock im Park and had enough lead time to set these up.

“We also have multiple domestic and international arena and stadium tours cooking right now,” he adds, listing Muse, Måneskin, Sam Smith, Lewis Capaldi, Yungblud, and domestic arena star Apache 207, among others.

“2022 has been difficult, challenging and felt long, when I was hoping for it to be a transition year,” says Schwarz. “But I am proud of what we’ve achieved.”

Live Nation GSA is also powerful, having built on the acquisition of local giant MLK since 2015. As well as a heavy schedule of international tours, in September the corporate brought Berlin-based festivals, booking, and services agency Goodlive into the fold.

Across the wider market, while there is little doubt that many shows that once would have delivered guaranteed returns are now falling well short of expectations, there are those who point to encouraging signs at grassroots level and suggest that the market simply needs refreshing.

“If all you’re doing is putting up posters for shows the market has seen many times before, things aren’t going to sell”

“Young, exciting talent is absolutely selling tickets and selling out,” says Max Wentzler at Berlin-based national promoter Z|ART Agency, citing recent German shows by Jockstrap, Pip Millett, Lola Young, and Jordan Rakei. “We had Remi Wolf over and people were hyped. Rachel Sermanni, too – she has never been to Germany, she has had a couple of releases, and she deserves that attention.”

Market pressures aside, Wentzler has a mischievous but serious theory that many established promoters and artists have been caught napping by the changing expectations of the market.

“I think established artists need to bring something new to their show, and not just rely on their ‘established-ness,’ for want of a better word,” he says. “Also, the traditional mechanism of how to get fans to buy tickets has completely shifted.

“Don’t get me wrong, we are all having to work hard. But it is about being present and engaged with your audience and bringing more value to a show. We are experiencing a shift in the live industry. If all you’re doing is putting up posters for shows the market has seen many times before, things aren’t going to sell.”

“People are possibly going to spend less money next year, and we as an industry influence what they spend their money on”

If there is a recurrent characterisation of the German market, however, it is an aversion to risk and an attraction to proven formulas.

“It is a very slow-moving market in the way that things progress,” says Jack Summers of London-based promoter The Culture Collective, which promotes UK dance acts in Germany. “That is true of the music industry as a whole, but the German attitude, where live music is concerned, is if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

Whether something is truly broken or not, it is clear the market needs support if today’s developing and mid-level artists are to survive the current crisis and become viable in the longer term – and some promoters recognise the urgency.

“People are possibly going to spend less money next year, and we as an industry influence what they spend their money on,” says Hall. “So I think it is really important that we don’t just focus on the big shows but that we keep supporting new artists, who have already had it tough during the pandemic.”

Local promoters
From a geographical and promoting point of view, Germany is clearly a huge market and a federated one, in which the 16 states have significant local differences. Traditionally, national promoters have partnered with local promoters for shows in specific cities, though these days the boundaries are often less defined.

National promoters often run their own shows in cities where they have a presence, and some cultivate local specialists in-house. For instance, DEAG’s Wizard Promotions and sister company, handwerker promotion, formed a Frankfurt-based joint venture in 2018 called Rhein Main Concerts to produce events in the south-west region of the country.

Some local promoters have expanded well beyond their original regions: Semmel Concerts, these days a major national player, initially focused on Bavaria and Eastern Germany, before broadening its network across the country and into Austria.

Nonetheless, the old system remains broadly in place, with powerful local promoters including Eventim’s Dirk Becker Entertainment, which operates in the Rhine- Ruhr region of western Germany encompassing Cologne; DEAG’s Munich-based Global Concerts; Hannover Concerts in the northern German city of the same name; and Undercover, based in Braunschweig and operating in northern Germany and beyond.

German recording giant BMG has lately taken decisive steps into the market through this channel, acquiring Undercover in 2020 in order to lay the foundations for a new live music and events unit. In September, BMG announced that it had booked Berlin’s 1,600-seat Theater des Westens until the end of 2024 for a series of residencies by domestic and international recording artists, as well as stage musical productions.

Festivals
Germany boasts a giant festival scene that encompasses rock monoliths such as Wacken Open Air, Rock am Ring, and Rock im Park; electronic institutions such as Time Warp, Mayday, Love Family Park, and Nature One; and indie all-rounders including the Berlin Lollapalooza and twin FKP festivals Hurricane and Southside; not to mention vigorous newcomers such as Berlin’s Tempelhof Sounds and Munich’s Superbloom.

When Live Nation snapped up seasoned indie Goodlive in September, it took ownership of Superbloom, as well as festivals including Melt! and Splash! in Ferropolis; metal and punk festival Full Force in Löbnitz; and hip-hop event Heroes in Geiselwind.

The two-day Superbloom launched in Munich’s Olympic Park on 3–4 September after two Covid-related postponements in 2020 and 2021, with Calvin Harris, Macklemore, Megan Thee Stallion, Rita Ora, Skepta, and David Guetta among the acts that performed, alongside 12 ‘experience areas’ focusing on themes from fashion to science to sustainability.

“This is my craziness, that I want to do things like this, because I’m a strong believer that festivals can give young people examples that can change their views and their lives for good,” says Superbloom managing director Fruzsina Szép, who has previously worked on Lollapalooza Berlin and Sziget.

“There were so many festivals, even very well-established ones, that were not sold out”

It drew 50,000 visitors and ultimately sold out, for which Szép is grateful, if not entirely surprised. “There were so many festivals, even very well-established ones, that were not sold out,” she adds. “But I had this good feeling that we were doing it right, and we worked so hard to create this brand and this concept.”

She echoes the prevailing view that the biggest challenge in German festivals this year was human resources and suggests the weakening of vital functions such as security could yet be the most serious consequence of Covid.

“Everybody is keen to have a great line-up and booking and programming, but security is so essential, and we have such a responsibility to the fans and artists to get it right.”

FKP Scorpio toughed out a busy summer, reintroducing its Hurricane and Southside festivals, which brought 80,000 and 70,000 a day over three days, as well as drawing 25,000 to M’era Luna in Hildesheim and 40,000 to Highfield in Großpösna, while launching a new Berlin festival, Tempelhof Sounds, with local Berlin promoter Loft Concerts and Eventim stable-mate DreamHaus.

“All our festivals in Germany, besides Deichbrand, were sold out this summer, and this was not the case for a lot of other festivals in this market”

“It was a challenge this year, but in the end we had fantastic festivals, with no Covid-related cancellations on the artist side,” says Thanscheidt. “And we had Ed Sheeran and Rolling Stones stadium shows and our Tempelhof Sounds, which we announced four weeks before Omicron kicked in, but still we had 40,000 a day, so we can’t complain.

“That doesn’t mean we made a lot of money on festivals, because the margins were not really there with ticket prices from 2019 and exploding costs. But all our festivals in Germany, besides Deichbrand, were sold out this summer, and this was not the case for a lot of other festivals in this market.”

Elsewhere, eventimpresents/DreamHaus’s Rock am Ring sold a record 90,000 weekend tickets for its 2022 edition, which took place at the Nürburgring racetrack in June. The concurrent Rock im Park, at Zeppelin Field in Nüremberg, like-wise put in a strong year.

“Rock am Ring and Rock im Park underlined their position as Germany’s leading festivals,” says Schwarz.

“We had record-breaking attendance as well as streaming numbers, with the full festival being broadcast live in its entirety for the first time, so that felt great. We are currently finalising the programming for next year’s edition of the Rocks where we just announced approximately 50 acts.”

“We have been able to improve our sponsorship income by about 20%, which is remarkable because sponsorship is not getting easier these days”

Karsten Jahnke’s successes this year include shows by The Cure and 170,000 tickets sold for 49 shows in its Stadtpark Open Air series, in Hamburg’s park of the same name. “That was a really good season for us,” says Mitha. “Lots of legends – Deep Purple, Sting, Joe Jackson – and some really interesting up-and-coming artists like Michael Kiwanuka and Olivia Rodrigo.”

In October, DEAG acquired a majority stake in the renowned Psytrance/Goa Festival Indian Spirit, which has been held in Eldena, near Ludwigslust in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, since 1999.

Among its portfolio of more than 30 European multiday and one-day festivals, the group already owns German electronic events Nature One, Mayday, Ruhr-in-Love and Airbeat One. The last of these – the largest electronic music festival in Northern Germany, with 60,000 visitors – DEAG acquired in July.

In a different corner of the market, Opus’s Stuttgart Jazzopen, which fits 58 shows into 11 days in July, sold 44,000 tickets this year for acts including Sting, Van Morrison, and John Legend – some of whom had been booked for the cancelled 2020 event.
Next year, says festival head Jürgen Schlensog, the aim is 50,000, and there is reason to be optimistic on the commercial front.

“We have been able to improve our sponsorship income by about 20%, which is remarkable because sponsorship is not getting easier these days,” he says.

The Jazzopen, which is both cashless and carbon-neutral, ploughs its own furrow in the German market. “In Germany, we are quite lonely because the format we run is quite unique – we run an 11- day festival, which is obviously very different from weekend festivals.”

Venues
The upside of Germany’s top-heavy market is that bigger venues played out of their skin this summer. The Waldstadion, currently known as the Deutsche Bank Park, home of German football club Eintracht Frankfurt, had its best summer ever with 18 concerts – more than any other stadium in Europe, and including shows by Coldplay (two), Ed Sheeran (three), Iron Maiden, and Elton John – drawing combined crowds of 800,000.

“Summer 2022 benefited from postponed shows from 2020 and 2021, which finally happened this year,” explains Eintracht Frankfurt Stadion managing director Patrik Meyer. “We were able to add quite a lot of new shows as well, and we are very proud that we were part of the development of the first KPOP.FLEX Festival in a European stadium.”

Looking ahead, Meyer adds, “2023 looks even better than 2022. The bookings for next year are very good, and we will continue projects like KPOP, World Club Dome and Monster Jam. In 2023, we will also act as promoter for three shows, and we will be hosting an NFL game in November – a project we won through a tough tender process and are very delighted about.”

Germany’s busiest arenas include Munich’s Olympiahalle, the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Hamburg’s Barclays Arena, Quarterback Immobilien Arena in Leipzig, and Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin.

“There’s a lot of really interesting concepts and new open-air venues that came out of the pandemic”

Bavaria-based developer SWMunich Real Estate continues to plan the 20,000-cap, €300m MUCcc Arena in Munich – optionally Germany’s first climate-neutral arena – which is expected to open within the next five years.

“In the Munich region, there is neither an arena specially designed for concerts and live shows, nor an indoor location with a capacity of up to 20,000 guests,” SWMunich managing director Lorenz Schmid told IQ in the summer. “We are closing this gap… at a time of increasing demand.”

There is movement elsewhere in the market, too. Berlin’s 4,350-cap Verti Music Hall, which launched in AEG’s mixed-use entertainment district Mercedes Platz barely a year before the pandemic kicked in, is once again up and running, with shows this summer from Jack White, Deftones, Lukas Graham, Franz Ferdinand, and Bastille.

Meanwhile, another modest silver lining of the pandemic has been the emergence of a new generation of outdoor venues, some of which live on in (more or less) post-pandemic times.

“There’s a lot of really interesting concepts and new open-air venues that came out of the pandemic,” says Hall. “I like the Seebühne in Bremen. It’s a lovely setting right by the harbour, and when you look at the stage, you have the sunset and the water in the background.”

 


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Matt Schwarz on DreamHaus’s first festival season

DreamHaus CEO Matt Schwarz has spoken to IQ about the company’s “hugely successful and record-breaking” festival summer.

Having launched in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Berlin-based promoter waited almost two years to clock in for its first festival summer and even then, it wasn’t business as usual in Germany.

“Rock am Ring and Rock im Park were the first two major festivals of the season in central Europe after two years of Covid-19 related cancellations,” explains Schwarz.

“By March we still didn’t know if we could host the festivals due to Covid-19. Almost everything happened at the last minute, including the introduction and implementation of new features such as cashless payment for both editions, new festival apps and much more.”

In addition to the time crunch, the promoter had to deal with a slate of prevailing challenges including “lack of specialised personnel, increased production costs, and inflation and recession due to the geopolitical situation and the world being upside down”.

Despite the numerous hurdles, Rock am Ring and Rock im Park went ahead between the 3–5 June at Nürburgring race track and Zeppelin Field and sold a record 90,000 and 70,000 tickets respectively.

“[Rock am Ring] was the most successful festival stream ever in Germany”

“We were all the more relieved that the festivals turned out to be a huge success with record-breaking attendances and Rock am Ring being broadcast live/live in its entirety,” says Schwarz. “Streaming numbers exceeded any expectations making it the most successful festival stream ever in Germany.”

The festival was livestreamed via German streaming service RTL+, with fans around the world able to watch performances from the likes of Green Day, Muse, Volbeat, Placebo and Måneskin – free of charge.

In addition, the festival partnered with TikTok to bring the ‘Rock am Ring experience’ to the worldwide community through hashtag campaigns, live programmes, official playlists and backstage content with popular creators.

This year marks the first time DreamHaus has organised and programmed the twin festivals (along with eventimpresents) and for Schwarz, it’s a full-circle moment.

Rock am Ring was founded by Marcel Avram and Marek Lieberberg’s Mama Concerts in 1985, while Rock im Park took place for the first time in 1995 under Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur (MLK).

Schwarz was formerly VP of touring and festivals at MLK, before becoming MD and COO of Live Nation GSA when Lieberberg sold MLK to Eventim’s live music subsidiary Medusa Group in 2015. From 2016, the CTS-owned festivals were co-promoted with Lieberberg, now CEO of Live Nation GSA.

“I pondered a lot about what it would be like to work on The Rocks again”

Schwarz resigned his position at Live Nation GSA in February 2020 and in October of the same year, DreamHaus was launched with scant details and the ominous message “If you know you know”.

At the same time, it was announced that Schwarz would return to work on Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, but this time as head of eventimpresents (the company formerly known as MLK).

In February 2021, CTS Eventim acquired DreamHaus and it was announced that, under the Eventim Live umbrella, the promoter would be responsible for organising and programming the festivals from 2022, along with eventimpresents.

“Beforehand, I pondered a lot about what it would be like to work on The Rocks again,” Schwarz tells IQ. “Honestly, it felt like getting back on the bike – you never forget how to do it.”

While the DreamHaus CEO says that working on the marquee festivals was his highlight of 2022, the promoter has plenty of milestones to pick from.

This year also saw DreamHaus join forces with FKP Scorpio and Loft Concerts for a brand new Berlin-based festival, Tempelhof Sounds.

“Our new heavyweight domestic act Apache 207 sold over 60,000 tickets in seconds blowing out five arenas”

Touted as “an inclusive and cosmopolitan festival,” the three-day event saw the likes of Muse, The Strokes and Florence and the Machine perform on the grounds of Tempelhof Airport between 10–12 June.

On the touring side of the business, Schwarz says DreamHaus has promoted hundreds of concerts this year – mainly on the club and theatre level – and sold approximately 750,000 tickets in 2022.

“Our new heavyweight domestic act Apache 207 [German rapper] sold over 60,000 tickets in seconds blowing out five arenas,” says Schwarz. “We’re also very pleased with the ticket sales for Måneskin, Kid Cudi, Muse, Sam Smith, Lewis Capaldi and Tenacious D.”

Among Schwarz’s personal highlights for 2022 was a rescheduled concert from German superstar Marteria at the open-air concert venue Berlin Waldbühne (cap. 22,290).

“It got cancelled just minutes before doors due to a massive thunderstorm,” he says. “Luckily, we were able to return to the venue a few days later when Marteria caught up on the show and delivered a terrific concert.

“Another highlight was the beautiful James Blake show at Verti Music Hall, booked by Pana [Ioannis Panagopoulo] from our team. He is one of my favourite artists and it was such a special night.”

DreamHaus’ touring numbers are all the more impressive given Germany’s fractured and sluggish reopening, which has seen the market trail behind its European counterparts.

“2023 is going to be an uphill battle; the worst is yet to come”

“There was a lot of uncertainty around the varying Covid restrictions in the individual federal states,” says Schwarz. “And when a lot of the western world opened up, we still had to deal with these restrictions. This certainly had an impact on the potential ticket buyers who are still wary.

“People tend to wait and buy their ticket much later in the campaign and closer to the show date for most of the tours unless it’s blockbuster content. Outdoor shows are getting more popular.”

Schwarz expects that consumer trepidation will continue next year, prolonging the business’ full recovery.

“Everyone thought 2022 to be the transition year after the pandemic,” he says. “Now it turns out that 2023 will be the transition year. We will have to face inflation and recession which have an impact on how and what people will spend their money on. It’s going to be an uphill battle; the worst is yet to come. Our modus operandi, therefore, is “less is more” in regard to show count and risks.”

 


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The New Bosses 2022: Benji Fritzenschaft, DreamHaus

The 15th edition of IQ Magazine’s New Bosses was published in IQ 114 this month, revealing 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2022’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous New Bosess 2022 interview with Agustina Cabo from Move Concerts here. The series continues with Benji Fritzenschaft, a talent buyer at Dreamhaus in Germany.

Whilst studying sports journalism in Hamburg, Fritzenschaft began a hip-hop podcast that opened a door for him into the music industry. He started working as a social media creator at Sony in 2019, and shortly after applied for a job at Goodlive, where he landed a job as part of the splash! Festival booking team, which resulted in his move to Berlin. He also helped promote the German tours of Goodlive’s hip-hop artists such as Stormzy, Skepta, Dave, and Trippie Redd & Suicideboys, and the company used his expertise for booking its domestic hip-hop festivals (Heroes).

In May 2022, Fritzenschaft was hired by DreamHaus as a talent buyer, working on tours for 070 Shake, Aitch, Kid Cudi, and Jack Harlow. He also books talent for DreamHaus’s festivals and helps develop new events.


You studied sports journalism at university. Are there any lessons from your studies that have been useful in your career?
I feel like my time at university helped me prepare for this job – especially the journalism part. For example, I learned how marketing works, how to get the information you need, and how important a good network is. In addition to that, there is lots of competition in sports and journalism, as well as the music business, so in hindsight, I feel like this prepared me.

Your podcast opened doors for you. What advice would you give to anyone trying to find a job in live music?
If you are passionate about music and want to work in live music but cannot seem to find an entrance, go the extra mile: Start your own project (podcast, blog, etc.) and invest your time. Show the world you have expertise and why you would be a good addition to any team.

As a new boss, what one thing would you change to make the live music industry a better place?
I feel like, for my generation, sustainability is more important than ever before – mental health, diversity in festival line-ups, as well as in the office, and taking care of the environment… We all know there will be competition in the live music industry, but I have a feeling that sometimes people take it too far. I believe it should never be taken personally, as business is never personal.

“If you are passionate about music and want to work in live music but cannot seem to find an entrance, go the extra mile”

What has been the biggest challenge for you and the DreamHaus team as the business has emerged from the pandemic restrictions?
You probably know Germany’s way of handling the situation with loads of restrictions, so finally being able to have shows again was great. There is uncertainty about the upcoming winter, so hopefully we can continue having regular concerts throughout the colder times. Let me be fully honest: after months in my home office, it took a while for me to get used to the regular office workflow again.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
I got into the industry three years ago and just moved from Goodlive to DreamHaus. With that move, I also got promoted from assistant to promoter, so I just want to keep my momentum going and build my roster. In general, my goal is to continue to do my work, learn, and evolve – personally as well as career-wise – and then who knows what the future will bring.

What has been the highlight of your career, so far?
There have been a couple: After years of attending splash! as a fan, the moment I was backstage at the festival as an official was pretty cool. The first big shows were nice as well: Stormzy before Covid, Dave on the first day after restrictions were gone, and selling out our Kid Cudi show within a couple of days. In addition to that, LUIS – the first domestic act I signed – just started his first tour, which is basically sold out.

“My goal is to continue to do my work, learn, and evolve – personally as well as career-wise”

Where is your favourite venue?
The splash! Festival site at Ferropolis will always have a special place in my heart. For concert venues, there is of course Berghain in Berlin where we had great shows with Little Simz and Bas. A concert at Berghain is always special. Uebel & Gefährlich in Hamburg and Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld in Cologne are also among my favourites.

The hip-hop world is a tight community. Who are your best friends or allies at other companies in your day-to-day work?
I am still friends with a lot of people at Goodlive and Bomber Der Herzen. I am also constantly speaking to Cedric Icaasain who manages artists and runs a club in Cologne. I also want to mention Malte von der Lanken and Andrej Malogajski from Mainland Music. Regarding domestic acts, Greg from ARKTIK Management and Steph from Atlantic Germany are my guys. Special shout-out to Thomas ‘The Don’ Schlett as well.


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The New Bosses: Introducing the class of 2022

The 15th edition of IQ Magazine‘s New Bosses can now be revealed, highlighting 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.

New Bosses 2022 inspired the most engaged voting process to date, with hundreds of people taking the time to submit nominations. The final 20 comprises executives working across agencies, promoters, ticketing companies, charities and venues in 12 different countries.

In no particular order, the New Bosses 2022 are:

Benji Fritzenschaft, DreamHaus (DE).
Clara Cullen, Music Venue Trust (UK).
Dan Rais, CAA (CO).
David Nguyen, Rock The People (CZ).
Daytona Häusermann, Gadget ABC (CH).
Grant Hall, ASM Global (US).
James Craigie, Goldenvoice (UK).
Kathryn Dryburgh, ATC Live (UK).
Resi Scheurmann, Konzertbüro Schoneberg (DE).
Seny Kassaye, Fort Agency (CA).
Agustina Cabo, Move Concerts (AR).
Sönke Schal, Karsten Janke Konzertdirektion (DE).
Steel Hanf, Proxy Agency (US).
Steff James, Live Nation (UK).
Stella Scocco, Södra Teatern (SE).
Vegard Storaas, Live Nation (NO).
Lewis Wilde, DICE (UK).
Zoe Williamson, UTA (US).
Jonathan Hou, Live Nation (US).
Maciej Korczak, Follow The Step (PL).

Subscribers can read shortened profiles of each of the 2022 New Bosses in issue 114 of IQ Magazine, which is out now. Full-length Q&As will appear on IQ in the coming days and weeks.

Click here to subscribe to IQ for just £7.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 


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Festival heads talk costs: “There is trouble ahead”

European festival heads discussed the impact of spiralling costs on the 2022 and 2023 festival seasons at last week’s Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, Germany.

Stephan Thanscheidt (FKP Scorpio, DE), Catharine Krämer (DreamHaus, DE), and Codruța Vulcu (ARTmania, RO) were among the pros discussing higher expenses during the Festival Season 22/23 panel.

Thanscheidt told the panel that while Hamburg-headquartered FKP Scorpio sold out 27 of its 28 festivals, the margins were “complete shit” due to higher expenses.

“Production costs are up 25–30%,” he said. “It depends on the department because some [costs] are up just 10% but others were like 120%. This year we were put into a corner where we could either say yes [to the increase] or just not do the festival.”

The company’s festival portfolio includes Hurricane (DE), Southside (DE), Provinssi (FI), Sideways (FI), Greenfield (CH), Best Kept Secret (NL) and new festival Tempelhof Sounds (DE) – some of which were €30 to €50 more expensive to attend this year.

While FKP Scorpio sold out 27 of its 28 festivals, the margins were “complete shit” due to higher expenses

“We’re trying to [increase ticket prices] in a very smooth way,” said Thanscheidt. “If we get to €400–500 for normal festival tickets, we’ll have a problem. We’re trying to be very sensible in setting the prices. So we’re very happy that the audience was fine with that and we sold all the tickets without getting a shitstorm on socials or something.”

In Romania, rising costs are only exacerbated by the country’s close proximity to the war in Ukraine.

“The inflation rate is 15.5% which is extremely high so everything from production to personnel was completely out of proportion,” said Vulcu, CEO of ARTmania, Romania’s longest-running rock festival.

Vulcu told the panel that many of the festival’s partners backed out of supporting the 2022 event but the main sponsor, German hypermarket chain Kaufland, offered to make up the slack.

“They said ‘Okay, let’s give you some more money to survive. Can we take extra costs from you that we can put on our budgets?’ So it was a positive and totally unexpected turn but apparently, they were they are wanting to be the saviours of festivals,” she said.

“The inflation rate [in Romania] is 15.5% so everything from production to personnel was completely out of proportion”

Looking towards next year’s ARTmania, which is already on sale, Vulcu says it’s hard to see how the festival can spread skyrocketing costs.

“We book mainly internationally and the prices that I’m getting from some artists are not low but we can’t put the ticket prices so high that the young people can’t come,” she explained.

DreamHaus’ Krämer says the Berlin-based agency is facing a similar stalemate situation for next year’s festival season after their production costs increased 25–30%.

“No supplier will ever say ‘We’re going back to the prices that we had in 2019’,” she said. “So we could lower the cost of the whole festival experience but this would have a significant impact on the whole quality of it.”

CTS Eventim-backed DreamHaus is jointly responsible for organising and programming the Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals, which have a combined attendance of 150,000, among other events.

“We could lower the cost of the whole festival experience but this would have a significant impact on the quality”

Referencing Thanscheidt’s earlier point, Krämer added: “There are not that many suppliers that can supply festivals of our size so we’re also in a corner, where we can take it or leave it.”

Thanscheidt says the crisis will only get worse ahead of next year’s season, though he’s bullish about the industry’s ability to come up with solutions.

“Costs will not go down next year,” said Thanscheidt. “Gas and electricity prices are doubled now and they will be tripled in a few weeks. Inflation might go up again.

“There are some months of trouble coming up and the result is yet to be seen. But of course, we will all stay very positive because that’s what we always do in an industry in which most of us have a DIY background. So let’s see how we solve this but it will not be easy.”

 


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