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Business in Germany: Live sound resurgent

for the international touring business. Compared to some of our European neighbours, Germany has very few labour regulations – therefore more and more neighbours are using skilled German labour for their productions. Combined with our excellent three-year apprentice programmes for technicians and our fairly good language skills, German companies are becoming a real alternative to the ‘usual suspects’ in the international live music and touring business.”

BEERY TRENDS Another noticeable development in Germany over the past few years is a move towards smaller live events on a local level. “In Germany and in other European countries, there is a trend towards small but high-quality gigs, for example with unplugged music or small combos in little pubs and restaurants,” says HK Audio marketing communications manager Andreas Marx. Marx believes the German

fondness for beer and heritage may also be behind this evolution. “In Germany, particularly, the ‘beer trend’ tradition is finding itself in something of a renaissance,” he says. “Nearly every small town has its own Oktoberfest, and open stages in marketplaces in cities and villages are getting more popular.” On a national level, there’s

still room for huge stadium acts – the likes of classic staples such as Peter Maffay and Herbert Grönemeyer. As in

The HK Audio LUCAS Nano – coming to an Oktoberfest near you

the UK, live German comedy is also booming, as Thomas Adapoe, managing director of the eponymous adapoe event firm, confirms. “Take a look at German comedy artists,” he says. “10 years ago it was almost impossible to sell out a 500-capacity club. Today, you can fill a stadium with an audience of about 15,000 people with almost the same artistic content.” And Adapoe is keen for his

firm, which was founded in 1994 as a two-person venture, to move up to work on larger musical events in future. “As a medium- sized company, we have our main focus on medium-sized events,” he says. “But, of course, we always grow with challenges, and at the moment we are also extending our capabilities in the direction of bigger live music events.”

HEY, BIG SPENDERS! Of course, for events like this to continue, it’s imperative that the German public is out in force, spending their hard-earned cash on live musical entertainment. So, while the average gig may

united-b’s Wolfgang Garçon is cautiously optimistic about the future: “I know people who are very satisfied with the German market, but some others are not. In general, [it] is … without doubt the strongest in Europe”

have become smaller in terms of pure size, everyone involved in putting on a performance has had to up their game to keep the punters interested. Satis&fy’s Nico Ubenauf agrees

that standards have improved, and he believes that constant declines in physical music sales over the past 15 years have not had an effect on concertgoers. “The decline in the music market in general did not have a strong impact on

Sennheiser is “currently at the beginning of a technology switchover from analogue to digital, like ... with mixing desks and amplifiers before”

the live industry,” he says. “The touring business actually picked up over the years and became more professional, especially with the growing expectation among guests to be well entertained for their ticket price.” Sennheiser’s Thomas Holz

agrees, and puts the success largely down to the financial crisis being less severe than feared – and the devotion of German music fans. “Germany was not

hit as hard by the financial crisis as other countries, and while people may have saved money in this area, the live music business was not affected much,” he says. “The German live music industry has always been a solid source of revenue for artists, especially in times when album sales went down. German music fans are known to be incredibly true to their favourite artists, and this includes concert visits, too.”


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Photo: Petra Schramböhmer

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