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The New Bosses 2023: Niklas Magedanz, Goodlive

The 16th edition of IQ Magazine’s New Bosses was published in IQ 121 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 2023’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous interview with Michael Christidis, co-founder of Untitled Group (AU) here. The series continues with Niklas Magedanz, promoter at Goodlive (DE).

In his early teens, Niklas spent all his money and time on CDs and concert tickets. After he guest-listed his entire school for an open-air concert, where he also lost a shoe in a mosh pit, the only thing on his mind was how to get a foot in the door of the music industry. Niklas organised his first festival when he was only 15, prioritising the booking, stage management, catering, marketing and ticketing over school lessons.

Voluntary work during summer vacations at indie labels, radio stations and festivals led him to pursue a career in live music and consequently a degree in music business. During his college years, he spent his time studying just as much as being on tour with bands and booking shows.

In 2018 Niklas moved to Berlin and joined Goodlive Artists as a promoter/booker. With his understanding for sub- and pop-cultural trends and developments, he grew his network and roster and is now working with a diverse range of international and domestic artists from small club stages to arena levels.

Stylistically Niklas focuses on (off-)pop, indie as well as neo-Soul and jazz artists such as Moses Sumney, Sudan Archives, Robert Glasper, Biig Piig, Nation of Language, Billy Nomates and Marc Rebillet.

Besides his involvement in the touring department and being part of the Goodlive festival booking committee, he also works in the development of new event concepts like the most recent reissue of the “Introducing” showcase – a live format for artists on the rise, in partnership with Spotify.

You organised your first festival at the age of 15. What can you remember about that experience – and how did you persuade people to trust a teenager?
Looking back at it, it was quite adventurous, since all of a sudden I had a lot of responsibility for several fields I had hardly any experience in. Being very passionate and enthusiastic about the project helped getting support from all people necessary. Only the liquor license was revoked after authorities became aware of my age by then.

Where did you grow up? And as Germany has a number of music cities to choose from, what made you select Berlin as your new home?
I grew up around Cologne, which was a fortunate place to grow up in. Thanks to it’s size and location within Europe a lot of international tours stopped there and in addition to this I genuinely enjoy the optimistic and open mentality of the area. The move to Berlin was done after I got the offer to join Melt! Booking, which was worth re-locating to, given Berlin’s status as Germany’s music capital.

What did you study at college – and have these studies helped you in your career to date?
I did a degree in Music Business, which was basically economic classes with a focus on the music industry, where the focus was e.g. on licensing, marketing plans, accounting, artist development and pop music history. The biggest gain was the network I got through it, working on my own projects on the side and since a lot of alumni from this school are well established in the German music industry by now.

The ‘Introducing’ showcase with Spotify sounds interesting. Can you tell us more about it?
The showcase has been around quite successful in the past and artists such as Little Simz, Alt-J, Years&Years, Chvrches or Omar Apollo played some of their first German shows there. Already back then the aim was to introduce the most exciting new artists to a tastemaking audience in Germany upon a free entry base.

The pandemic forced a break from the showcase and gave us time to re-think the entire concept. As people’s approach to discovering new music has changed over the last years, we were able to bring it back with a more contemporary approach, creating an even more valuable asset for our artists to debut in Germany.

“I am very lucky to be working with a bunch of amazing young artists, that have a lot of potential for the years to come”

You’re now working as a promoter at a big company. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
It’s always rewarding to see the development of artists and help them take the next career step within the German market. Out of the many amazing moments and stories one standing out is probably Marc Rebillet’s 2022 Berlin show I promoted, where he sold out Max Schmeling Halle with 9,000 tickets. It is also always special to take my parents to shows I book in Cologne, especially to venues they brought me to when I was little.

Which artist that you work with should we all be looking out for in the year ahead?
I am very lucky to be working with a bunch of amazing young artists, that have a lot of potential for the years to come. But UCHE YARA and ORBIT are two talented artists. I joined their teams early on and both artists are currently making their first steps on a continental level, with exciting perspectives for 2024.

What is your favourite venue, and why?
I have a soft spot for old venues that provide a unique charm to any show. In Berlin, there is the Delphi Theater, an old silent movie theatre from the 1920s, which is a stunning place. Less of a venue but a festival ground is Ferropolis, where Goodlive promotes Melt, Splash and Full Force Festival. A peninsula in a lake with old industrial charm and a little forest makes it one of the nicest festival sides I’ve been to.

As a new boss, what would you like to change to make the live entertainment industry a better place?
There is still a lot of potential to change things for the better all across the industry. I hope that my generation is able to leave a footprint behind by improving the lack of diversity, inclusivity and sustainability both across the stages, playlists but also in the offices of agencies and labels.

What advice would you give to anyone who is trying to find a job in live music?
Follow the dynamics of pop and subcultural developments and get an overview of players in the field you aspire to be part of. Be a team player, and open to innovation and mostly passionate about music. In the end, it’s a business focused on emotions and people rather than a manufactured product.

As a promoter, are there any particular events, forums or platforms that you visit to try to discover the next big act?
I try to attend several showcase festivals throughout the year. Eurosonic and Great Escape are the ones I visit most frequently.


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