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Music business to descend on Reeperbahn 2022

Reeperbahn Festival – the biggest club festival in Europe and the largest European platform for international pop culture and the music industry – returns to Hamburg from 21-24 September.

Since 2006, for four days each September, the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, Germany has become the centre of the international music world, and a sustainable interface between artists, the public, industry representatives and society.

While the cream of emerging music talent will finally be back on stage, the conference programme at Reeperbahn Festival is aimed at professional visitors from all segments of the music industry from around the world.

On Thursday 22 and Friday 23 September 2022, around 130 sessions split into 12 themes will look at current challenges and issues in live entertainment, recorded music, the sync business, marketing, media and journalism, to name but a few.

Another focus will be on social and political issues, such as the effects of the Ukraine war and the climate crisis. Among the 350 speakers are Canadian producer and musician Daniel Lanois (U2, Neil Young), Ukrainian rapper and ANCHOR 2019 winner Alyona Alyona, Gudrun Schweppe (Head of Musik, YouTube Germany), the political activist collective Pussy Riot, Mando Diao front man Björn Dixgård, plus legendary German concert organiser Karsten Jahnke.


Hamburg, Germany, 21-24 September 2022
Conference tickets on sale now!


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74 participants chosen for Keychange programme

Seventy-four artists and music industry professionals from across 12 countries have been selected from over 650 applicants to take part in the 2020 Keychange development programme.

Launching with a full network meet-up in Stockholm on 13 February, the programme aims to give the 74 female and gender minority participants the skills and opportunities needed to advance in their career.

The programme, part of the new-look Keychange 2.0 led by Reeperbahn Festival in partnership with PRS Foundation and Musikcentrum Öst, will benefit three cohorts of participants over four years. Keychange announced the initiative following a €1.4 million funding boost from the European Union’s Creative Europe programme in August.

Among the first group of participants are Estonian singer and violinist Marrja Nuut, Berlin-based lo-fi pop artist DENA and London alt-soul singer Anaïs.

Alongside meet-ups and mentoring sessions, participants will take part in ‘Creative Labs’ at one the 13 Keychange partner festivals, including Iceland Airwaves, BIME and Way Out West. The labs will offer showcase opportunities to artists, as well as workshops, seminars, studio sessions and masterclasses. Polish consulting company Chimes will oversee all training.

“We are pleased that a more inclusive approach to recruitment has resulted in a very diverse and exciting group of participants for 2020”

In accordance with feedback from the 2018 edition of the programme – which consisted of 60 participants – a percentage of Keychange funding will go towards participants’ childcare arrangements.

The announcement comes as the number of signatories to the Keychange pledge of achieving a gender-balanced line-up by 2022 surpasses 300. Norwegian organisations Talent Norge and Norsk Tipping, as well as the UK’s Musicians’ Union have recently joined the movement as sponsors.

“The Keychange talent development programme lies at the core of the initiative,” says Christina Schäfers, Keychange lead and head of Reeperbahn Festival’s programmes in arts, word and film. “While the pledge encourages organisations to book diverse talent, we’re helping the talent get to their stages.”

“We are particularly pleased that a more inclusive approach to recruitment has resulted in a very diverse and exciting group of participants for 2020,” says Schäfers, noting that the programme represents “many more gender minority participants and a diverse range of ethnicities, genres and career levels” this year.

“We can’t wait to host this incredible cohort at the full network meet-ups in Stockholm and at Reeperbahn Festival.”


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Pitchfork Music Festival goes to Berlin

US-based magazine Pitchfork is launching the first-ever Berlin edition of its music festival, the publication’s editor announced at Reeperbahn Festival, Germany, yesterday (19 September).

The festival is set to take place from 8 to 9 May 2020 at Berlin’s 3,500-capacity Tempodrom, featuring a mix of established artists and emerging musicians.

The event will be promoted by Scumeck Sabottka’s MCT Agentur, the longtime promoter of German metal band Rammstein.

The Pitchfork Music Festival launched in 2006 in Union Park, Chicago. The 20,000-capacity 2019 festival, which took place from 19 to 21 July, featured headliners Robyn, Haim and the Isley Brothers.

In 2011, the festival’s first spin-off event took place in Paris at the 15,000-capacity Grande Halle de la Villette. The 2019 edition, which takes place from 31 October to 2 November, will see performances from Skepta, Chromatics and Belle and Sebastian. Pitchfork Music Festival Paris is promoted by Parisian booking and events agency Super!.

Tickets for the upcoming Pitchfork Paris, priced at €50 for a one-day ticket and €120 for a three-day pass, are available here.

More updates on the upcoming Berlin festival can be found on Pitchfork Berlin’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages.


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Reeperbahn Festival gears up for 14th edition

European conference and showcase festival Reeperbahn kicks off on Wednesday (18 September), with more than 300 panels, networking events and showcases taking place over four days in Hamburg, Germany.

Sessions in the conference’s live strand include ‘30 Years of Wacken’, an interview between the metal festival’s founders Holger Hübner and Thomas Jensen, moderated by IQ’s Jon Chapple and German journalist Birgit Reuther. The panel will celebrate the event’s 30th year and explore what the future holds for the popular metal gathering.

The festival season 2019 /2020 sees Stefan Thanscheidt (FKP Scorpio), Roel Coppen (Friendly Fire) and James Wright (UTA) among those asking whether 2019’s slow festival season was a one-off, or the beginning of a worrying trend. And Live Nation GSA managing director and chief operating officer Matt Schwarz discusses the company’s goals in the region and worldwide, as well as the wider music ecosystem in a keynote interview led by ILMC MD Greg Parmley.

In more festival-related content, former MTV news editor Steve Blame will interview Woodstock festival co-creator Joel Rosenman about the event’s inception and legacy, with new documentary Creating Woodstock aired later in the day.

‘Agents Agenda: The New Food Chain’ will see Jake Leighton-Pope of 10 Thousand Steps Management, Paradigm Agency’s Lily Oram, Toutpartout managing director Steven Thomassen and more discuss the effect of external investment on the industry, in a panel moderated by IQ’s Gordon Masson.

The festival season 2019 /2020 will see panellists asking whether 2019’s slow festival season was a one-off, or the beginning of a worrying trend

A secondary ticketing panel, also led by Masson, will examine the EU’s new legislation against ticket bots, asking how to grant consumers greater protection.

Talk will also turn to Brexit as tax advisor Kevin Offer discusses the potential impact of post-Brexit taxation, permits and customs clearance on the European live music industry.

EU funding will be the topic of conversation in ‘Europe Calling’, a panel featuring Olaf Furniss of Wide Days and Exit Festival managing director Ivan Milivojev, among others.

Members of German promoters’ association BDKV will gather for the yearly Live Entertainment Summit to present their report on the situation of the national and international live entertainment market.

Other topics of conversation include festival sponsorship, music export, country music, food at live events, the Caucasus music market, electronic music and digital media.

Foals, the Subways, Alfie Templeman, Hatari, Inhaler, Sorcha Richardson, Sports Team and Squid are among acts playing at Reeperbahn 2019.

A full Reeperbahn conference programme can be viewed here, with remaining tickets for the event available here.


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Good news for Keychange as EU pledges €1.4m

Gender balance initiative Keychange has received €1.4 million in funding from the European Union’s Creative Europe programme.

Launched in 2017 by music charity PRS Foundation, over 250 music organisations and festivals have signed up to the Keychange pledge to achieve gender-balanced line-ups by 2022.

With the new funding, the programme is ready to enter into its second phase, which will span from September 2019 to 2023.

Details of ‘Keychange 2.0’ will be presented at Reeperbahn festival by the event’s chief executive and Keychange co-founder Alexander Schultz, along with programme ambassadors Kate Nash and Barbara Gessler of the European Commission on Thursday 19 September.

Reeperbahn, which takes place form 18 to 21 September in Hamburg, Germany, will lead the next phase of Keychange, working closely with PRS Foundation, Sweden’s Musikcentrum Öst, Iceland Airwaves, Tallinn Music Week / Shiftworks in Estonia and BIME Festival in Spain.

“The transformative power of Keychange is visible and increasing”

New partners include Oslo World festival in Norway and the Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music (SACEM) in France.

Christina Schäfers, head of programming at Reeperbahn and project lead for Keychange, comments: “The transformative power of Keychange is visible and increasing. Within the next four years we will focus on concrete aims and measures to keep on creating a better, more inclusive music industry.

“Since culture has always been a source of inspiration for necessary change, we look forward to inspiring and be part of the future of our society.”

In November 2018, Keychange released its manifesto for change at the European Parliament in Brussels, with the aim of increasing the representation of marginalised genders in the music industry.

Primavera Sound and Iceland Airwaves are among the music festivals to have already fulfilled their Keychange pledge.


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20% increase in delegates at 12th Reeperbahn Festival

The number of delegates at Reeperbahn Festival 2017 increased almost 20% year on year, from 3,700 to 4,400, organisers have announced, following another successful year for the German conference and showcase festival.

The total number of guests, both industry and consumer, topped 40,000 – a new record – with attendees from 57 nations making the pilgrimage to Hamburg on 20–23 September.

The music programme comprised more than 600 concerts by 420 artist/bands, including the German solo debut for former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher and a show by ex-Gossip singer Beth Ditto.

“We have experienced a Reeperbahn Festival of the highest quality,” says Alexander Schulz, the event’s director and founder, “offering a programme of an unprecedented level in terms of concerts as well as film, art and the conference.

“We have experienced a Reeperbahn Festival of the highest quality”

“I do not only refer to the increased number of options for all sectors to do international business. We have also experienced the strongest Reeperbahn Festival in terms of social policy. The goal we set ourselves yesterday, to close the gender gap at our own event by 2022, is only one example.”

The focus country for Reeperbahn 2017 was Canada, with France set to follow in 2018. Marc Thonon, CEO of French Music Export, comments:  “In 2006, at the very first edition of Reeperbahn Festival, Le Bureau Export was one of the first export offices to partner with the event. Over the past 12 years, this partnership has made possible numerous showcases, networking events and conferences where the artistic variety of music made in France has had the chance to shine through.

“[Next year] will be the height of this longstanding cross-cultural collaboration with even more sessions, meetings and opportunities for French music industry professionals to share their work and experiences. The timing could not be better, as Le Bureau Export celebrates its 25th anniversary of helping French and international music professionals work together to promote artists ‘made in France’ around the world.”

Reeperbahn will return from 19 to 22 September 2018.


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Lieberberg on growth plans (and bribing the weather god)

Live Nation GSA president and managing director Andre Lieberberg has said the company is pursuing a strategy of “aggressive but organic growth” two years after its effective acquisition of Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur (MLK).

MLK, said Lieberberg – the son of MLK founder Marek, who is now Live Nation GSA’s CEO – had a “conservative approach to growth” throughout the 13 years he worked there. “Marek always said, ‘We only do our own events,’” he told IQ editor Gordon Masson at Reeperbahn Festival today. “It wasn’t like we had a clear strategic path of having to grow for growth’s sake, or post increasing numbers every year. On the one hand that was a good thing, but also hindered you, to some degree, in being more aggressive and ballsy in what you can do.”

Both Lieberbergs left MLK in August to form new company Live Nation Concerts Germany, although the MLK name, assets and Rock am Ring/Rock im Park festivals stayed with CTS Eventim.

Lieberberg told Masson being part of an “American company listed on the stock exchange” is “of course very different to what we were used to” – but that Live Nation GSA (Germany, Switzerland and Austria) is a “more rounded company” than MLK: “We’re still a promoter but we’re also a media company – for example, we’ve just set up a sponsorship and brand partnerships division

He said the company also has different attitude towards hiring. “All three MDs all Live Nation GSA agree on growth by staffing,” he explained. “Everyone had to be approved by Marek before, which has obviously changed.”

As for acquisitions, Lieberberg insisted LN GSA is “not going to buy up every festival in Germany” – “we wouldn’t have the money even if we wanted to,” he joked – “but certainly there are going to be more partnerships over the next five years.” The company made its first acquisition, of Openair Frauenfeld, in July, although, as is standard for Live Nation, founder Rene Götz will continue to run the festival.

He added that he “understands the concern from independents” (promoters) about Live Nation’s entry into the German market, “but I don’t see that we’re a threat to them. […] Since we became Live Nation we haven’t done anything to shrink anyone else’s output, or marginalise them in any way.”

Masson also asked about the Lieberbergs’ Rock am Ring festival, which was once again partially cancelled this summer, this time over after a terrorism scare, later revealed to be the result of a spelling error. In 2015 and 2016 festivalgoers were injured by lightning strikes, with the final day of the 2016 event called off altogether.

“We’re still looking for a way to bribe the weather god,” joked Lieberberg. “We’ve had four years of Murphy’s law” (the festival was forced to move in 2014 after a falling out between MLK and the Nürburgring racetrack), “so I’m hoping next year will be better!”


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INES showcase fest network to launch at Reeperbahn

The Innovation Network of European Showcases (INES), a new association of showcase festivals backed by €2​ million in EU funding, is set to launch at Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg later this month.

According to Marcus Rüssel, INES project manager and CEO of German booking start-up Gigmit, which is supporting the initiative, INES will “sustainably link the European music market through digital innovations and human relationships and strengthen them for the future. The aim is to empower the existing ties between showcase festivals in Europe and to establish new connections between musicians, music professionals and institutions in the industry.”

In addition to providing a funding and exchange programme for artists and industry professionals, the four-year project hopes to also contribute to the “digitalisation of the music industry” by recording and cataloguing all showcase performances in an online library.

Member festivals are Liverpool Sound City, Waves Vienna, Sonic Visions, Live at Heart, Spring Break, Monkey Week, Westway LAB and MENT Ljubljana (pictured), along with Gigmit.

“Working together in this way is only going to become more important in years to come”

Rebecca Ayres of Liverpool Sound City – the sole UK event – comments: “Sound City has always been about giving local artists and businesses more opportunities, both at home and abroad. Industry executives have gathered under the Sound City banner across the globe to see the best in upcoming talent, and we’ve taken artists to showcases all over the world.

“As a result, we have great relationships with our international colleagues – but this initiative will help bolster our efforts and create even more cooperation between music markets in different territories. Working together in this way is only going to become more important in years to come.”

Reeperbahn last month finalised its festival and conference agendas for 2017, announcing the dates, times and venues for all events, as well as a special conference strand – Raise Your Voice – focusing on music and political engagement ahead of the German general election on 24 September.

Reeperbahn 2017 takes place in Hamburg from 20 to 23 September.


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Raise Your Voice: Pre-election Reeperbahn gets political

Reeperbahn Festival has finalised its festival and conference agendas for 2017, announcing the dates, times and venues for all events, as well as a special conference strand – Raise Your Voice – focusing on music and political engagement ahead of the German general election on 24 September.

“Pop is (and always has been) political,” reads a statement from the popular music industry event, which returns to Hamburg from 20 to 23 September. “Bands and artists have addressed important sociopolitical issues in their songs, and since the 1960s pop music has provided the soundtrack, as well as support, for major social transformations.

“Nevertheless, when those in the entertainment world – including musicians and businesses in the music industry – stand up for what they believe in, they are often subject to public criticism. Why that is, and what the music world can do to raise its voice and take a stand without coming across as inauthentic – this is something that will be explored in several panel discussions.”

Said panel discussions include Musik Bewegt – Wie geht Haltung?, in which artists Herbert Grönemeyer (pictured) Ingo Pohlmann and Fetsum will join representatives from Sea Watch, Doctors Without Borders and Viva con Agua to discuss the impact of social and political engagement; and Pop Goes Politics, with Fetsum (who came to Germany as a refugee), Büro für Offensivkultur founder Heinz Ratz and Global Citizen Festival Hamburg organiser Carolin Albrecht, which covers protest and political engagement in the pop world.

Music in the Middle East, meanwhile, will focus on the influence of music in a region afflicted by crises and war, with artists Shahin Najafi and Yasmine Hamdan and Cooking Vinyl/Palestine Music Expo founder Martin Goldschmidt.

All festival and conference events can be found on the Reeperbahn Festival website or the iOS and Android apps.


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The internet of things: The future of event tech

Speaking at Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg last month, Eventbrite’s Elsita Sanya outlined the ticketing company’s take on the future of festival tech. Holograms like the one of Dio at Wacken, drones and VR helmets are all interesting and headline-grabbing technologies, she said – yet the future of live experiences could be changed much more profoundly by the advent of the internet of things (IoT).

Her case in point: the magical wristband at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Based on advanced sensor reader technology, this allows visitors to check into the park in seconds, skip queues at rides by pre-booking them and pay cashlessly throughout the park. This technology massively improves the attendee experience, and at the same time is providing the operators with invaluable real-time data on visitors’ movements in the park and their preferences. This helps optimise visitor flow, capacity-planning and marketing.

The technology, Sanya said, is also applicable to festivals, where a wristband/sensor combination would allow for much faster and seamless entry, cashless payments, on-site localisation and navigation (eg. for food delivery or emergency services), real-time crowd heatmaps and the easy implementation and control of separate/VIP areas.

IoT is an example of technology unobtrusively delivering real benefits to both fans and festival promoters

Sanya said IoT at events is an example of technology unobtrusively delivering real benefits to both fans and festival organisers. “Too often we are stuck with technology, when what we really want is just stuff that works,” she said, referencing Douglas Adams.

According to Sanya, Eventbrite is working on bringing this technology to event promoters around the world, concentrating its attention in four areas: access control, attendee presence, payments and identity. All four, she said, increase revenue per ticket, increase revenue streams or save money for organisers, as well as providing greater freedom and capabilities for fans.

The internet of things, integrated into a ticketing/registration system and mobile at-event support apps, Sanya said, will transform the attendee experience. For promoters, “enabling IoT is an important way to make their event better to grow sales, and for attendees these innovations will bring the bespoke experience every organiser strives to create,” she concluded.


Elsita Sanya is Eventbrite’s general manager for Germany. The company has successfully trialled its IoT wireless wristbands at several US events, including Okee, Maker Faire New York and SnowGlobe.