Berlin club scene could "change dramatically" under new fees

Image for Berlin club scene could "change dramatically" under new fees

Hefty licence fees are something the Australian club scene has long been familiar with, and now the world’s most vital destination for electronic music is facing its own fight. As reported by Billboard, a fleet of German club owners are protesting a planned tariff structure from the German collections society GEMA, which could see tariffs rise up to 1,000 percent. The changes are due to be implemented in 2013. They will be charged as a percentage of the ticket price and size of the venue, with a 50-percent surcharge for events that last longer than five hours – in other words, just about every dance party in Germany.

German paper Spiegel gives this hypothetical: “For an average Berlin club with 410 square meters of space, charging €8 entrance and running two events per week from 10 p.m. until 5. a.m, the price paid to GEMA will rise from the current €14,500 to some €95,000.”

Over 5,000 people demonstrated in Berlin on Monday, with several prominent scene identities in attendance. Norbert Thormann and Michael Teufele, the directors of hallowed techno temple Berghain, voiced their concerns to Billboard. “The new tariffs mean that we discotheques would have to pay more than 1,400 percent to GEMA, which would put the very existence of many clubs at risk. If this change in the tariff actually becomes reality in 2013, the club landscape will change dramatically. There will be a huge increase in admission charges with an end result that many guests will no longer be able to afford to go clubbing.”

Naturally, the people at GEMA have a different take. “The way I see it, they’ve been paying far too little in the past,” GEMA regional manager Lorenz Schmid argues. “I see no problem for a club manager if he has to pay €1.20 out of €12.”

An online petition against the tariffs is climbing towards 200,000 signees.

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mlirosi

mlirosi said on the 28th Jun, 2012

basically everyone trying to get their slice of an industry financially running well

edmundpw

edmundpw said on the 28th Jun, 2012

And what is a "signee"? Is it the Australian for "signatory"?

I think there will be a lot of events that run for 4 hours and 59 minutes.

JackT

JackT said on the 28th Jun, 2012

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/signees

MikeG

MikeG said on the 28th Jun, 2012

This sucks, the best thing about Berlin is that everything is still affordable especially going out, I'd hate for this to change.

Paul Chillage

Paul Chillage said on the 28th Jun, 2012

Currently all clubs are paying royalties to the Top 40 and what is playlisted on radio in their countries. Whoever controls the radio stations controls who gets royalties. GEMA and other collection agencies around the world know there's no way in hell djs, clubs and producers can get their act together to record all acts playlists so the relevant writers/producers can be paid a performance royalty. Obviously, this would mean all writers/producers/djs would have to sign up with a collection agency so they could be paid these royalties.

As an aside, in the future - Richie Hawtin's twitter.dj app might be just one tool in the fight against all monies collected going to the Top40/radio playlisted artists.

pomrocks

pomrocks said on the 28th Jun, 2012

these licenses are utter crap, we pay fees to APRA to be able to have dj's play music in a club...yet none of the money from these fees goes to the artist that make any of the music that gets played in the club....

mighty toy

mighty toy said on the 28th Jun, 2012

If only the world didn't revolve around money !!!!

baseade

baseade said on the 28th Jun, 2012

@pomrocks - dont the artists get money from their production? vinyl, cd and mp3? I dont know, im speculating. Then the artists in turn get money from their respective labels?

Its not as if club prices havent gone up in the last decade or so anyway, and add the bar licences to that, they are making a killing.

pomrocks

pomrocks said on the 28th Jun, 2012

@pomrocks - dont the artists get money from their production? vinyl, cd and mp3? I dont know, im speculating. Then the artists in turn get money from their respective labels?

Its not as if club prices havent gone up in the last decade or so anyway, and add the bar licences to that, they are making a killing.

yeah the artist receive money sometimes from their productions, thought its rarely very much

they you have these licensing agencies who collect fees that are supposed to go to the artists.....however

Amosse

Amosse said on the 28th Jun, 2012

Wow, this is actually quite saddening.

angy

angy said on the 28th Jun, 2012

Paul and Pomrocks are on the money, none of this money gets redistributed to the artists who make the music played in the clubs, and organisations like GEMA and APRA are woefully out of touch with underground music cultures. The clubs are the places where underground music is cultivated and supported...

angy

angy said on the 28th Jun, 2012

PS. Organisations like APRA, GEMA and RIAA all have the agenda of supporting the major labels and other big business interests, and there's a complete disconnect with independent music culture, which in many ways has been allowed to take off in the digital era. They need to be challenged every step of the way.

Alistair

Alistair said on the 29th Jun, 2012

I actually have no idea how these protection rackets like APRA, PPCA, assumedly GEMA are allowed to exist. Surely I could also set up my own one and start charging money under the threat of suing you for not paying your fees too. I really dont understand how the PPCA can have a board made up of reps from the majors and noone else. Such a joke.

jessbingham

jessbingham said on the 29th Jun, 2012

its all good drugs are still way cheaper than oz.