• capital city: Berlin
  • population: 81,083,600
  • area: 357,168 sq. km.
  • languages spoken: German
  • annual music sales: $1,404,800,000 (USD 2014)
  • rank: 3rd largest worldwide
  • currency: Euro € (EUR)
  • Germans are the world’s second largest beer-drinkers per capita

The German music consumer remains a dedicated physical product buyer, representing about 70% of sales. Even so, digital downloads and to a lesser extent streaming market channels are growing. The live music market is very strong with an abundance of festivals and events.

Who’s who in the German music market

Rock Am Ring daytime

Federal Music Industry Association (Bundesverband Musikindustrie)

The BMVI represents the interests of nearly 280 labels and music industry related enterprises, which comprise 90% of the music industry.
Reinhardtstraße 29, 10117 Berlin
P: + 49 (30) 59 00 38-0
Head of Market Research & Development: Britta Luerßen
Head of Press and Publics Relations: Sigrid Herrenbruck


German Association of Independent Music Companies (VUT)

The VUT (Verband unabhängiger Musikunternehmen e.V.), represents 1,300 German music companies – labels, publishers, distributors, aggregators, self-marketing artists etc. Our members produce 35 % of the recorded music used in Germany.
Fidicinstr. 3, 10965 Berlin
P: +49 (30) 530658-56
P: +49 (30) 530658-57


German Music Publishers’ Association (DMV)
The DMV (Deutscher Musikverleger-Verband e.V.) is an association representing the interests of music publishers throughout the German Federal Republic.

GEMA, (Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte) collects musical performing and mechanical reproduction rights on behalf of composers, lyricists, and music publishers.

The IMUC (Interessenverband Musikmanager & Consultants e.V.) IMUC and its members are committed to fair competition, professionalism and reliability of music managers and consultants in Germany.


Initiative Musik

Initiative Musik is the federal government’s funding agency and supports the music industry for rock, pop, and jazz in Germany. Initiative Musik also acts as Germany’s music export office.
Friedrichstraße 122, 22, 10117 Berlin, Germany
P: +49 (30) 531 475 45 – 0
Managing Director: Ina Keßler


German Music Council (Deutscher Musikrat)

The German Music Council and its partners campaign for Germany’s vibrant existence as a land of music in all areas of life that are connected to music. Its goal is to enable every citizen, regardless of social or ethnic background, access to the world of music.
Weberstraße 59, 53113 Bonn
P: +49 (228) 2091-0
Commercial Director: Norbert Pietrangeli
Artistic Director: Dr. Benedict Holt Bernd


Embassy of Canada to Germany

Leipziger Platz 17, D – 10117 Berlin, Germany
P: +49 (30) 20 312 – 0
Trade Commissioner, Arts and Cultural Industries: Claudia Seeber

Touring in Germany

Drei Konigs Keller Frankfurt

With a population of over 80 million, Germany is the largest consumer market in the EU. The German market for events and live concerts is a multi-billion dollar industry and includes everything from grungy basement ‘keller’ to mega-sized festivals.

The good news is that Canadians performing in Germany don’t necessarily require a visa – the not-so-good news is that performers must pay withholding taxes:

  • No permits are required for Canadian musicians and crew who will be temporarily working in Germany for no more than 90 days.
  • Canadian artists earning more than 250 Euro for a single performance will be subject to a 15% withholding tax, a 5.5% solidarity tax (on artist tax) and a 5.2% social insurance tax.
  • Corporate entities will expect to pay 15% artist tax, a 5.5% solidarity tax (on artist tax) plus 5.2% social security insurance tax per show, regardless of the amount of income.

For up-to-date information on how withholding taxes will affect your net income check with your local agent or promoter.

For more detailed information on Visa requirements, please download German Work Permits for Musicians Overview.

Even though Germany is now unified, it is made up of several distinct regions. For more information on each region, please see the Regions in Germany descriptions below.

Germany’s annual festivals are amongst the biggest in the world. For more information please see the Germany’s Major Festivals tab below.

The 2014 Report on Germany (German Music Market Report) was prepared by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Music and the Arts, and by Canadian Music Week (CMW) one of the premier music conferences and festivals in North America.

Rock Am Ring nightfall

Touring Artists
Touring Artists is an online information portal for visual and performing artists working internationally – for foreign artists who work temporarily in Germany and for German artists who work abroad for a limited time.

Goethe-Institut: Music
Music in Germany: articles about trends in classical, early and electronic music, jazz, new music and pop by the Goethe-Institut, the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany whose purpose is to promote knowledge of the German language abroad and foster international cultural cooperation.

German Music Market Report
This 2014 Report on Germany was prepared by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Music and the Arts, and by Canadian Music Week (CMW) one of the premier music conferences and festivals in North America.

German-language music publications
Musik Express (Berlin)

Spex Magazin (Berlin)

Intro (Cologne)


Key Regions in Germany

Rhine-Ruhr population 11,000,000

The biggest key region according to its size – over 11 million inhabitants – is the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region including big cities like Cologne, Düsseldorf, Dortmund and Essen.

Key Venues/Clubs: Kolner Philharmonie Cologne, Gloria Cologne, Live Music Hall Cologne, Lanxess Arena Cologne, Musical Dome Cologne, Halls of Westphalia Dortmund, FZW Dortmund, djäzz Duisburg, Matrix Bochum Bochum

Colleges and Universities: Cologne Business School Cologne, Cologne University of Applied Sciences Cologne, German Sport University Cologne, Hochschule fur Musik und Tanz Koln Cologne, University of Cologne

Berlin-Brandenburg population 6,000,000

The second largest key region with nearly 6 million inhabitants is the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region. The area around the German capital has a music scene made up of artists from a variety of genres.

Key venues/clubs: S036, Lido, Urban Spree, White Trash, Quasimodo, Huxleys Neue Welt, International Jazz-Club A-Trane, Yorckschlösschen Jazz and Blues, Rickenbackers, Junction Bar, FluxBau

Key Radio Stations: FM 87.9 Rockstar, FM 88.8 Berlin 88, FM 89.8 Deutschland, FM 91.4 Berliner Rundfunk, FM 92.4 Radio Kultur, FM 93.6 Berlin Aktuell, FM 95.8 Radio Eins, FM 96.3 Radio Drei, FM 100.6 FluxFM

Colleges and Universities: Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences, Berlin, Free University of Berlin, Hambodlt University of Berlin, Technical University of Berlin, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Berlin University of Arts

Hamburg population 1,700,000

Hamburg, the 2nd largest city in Germany, is situated on the Elbe River which flows into the North Sea. Check out the district of St. Pauli and the notorious Reeperbahn, with their legendary clubs ranging from alternative/indie rock, to Hip-Hop and R’n’B, to 60’s funk and soul, to House/Techno.

Key venues/clubs: Fabrik, Prinzenbar, Markthalle, Hafenklang, Grosse Freiheit 36/ Kaiserkeller, Gruenspan, Knust, Laeiszhelle, Waagenbau,

Key Radio Stations: ByteFM, Radio Hamburg 103.6FM, Radio Energy 97.1, Vibes FM, Xfm 91.7

Colleges and Universities: Helmut Schmidt University, Hocshschule fur Musik and Theater Hamburg, Technical University of Hamburg, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, University of Hamburg

Frankfurt/Rhine-Main population 5,500,000

The Frankfurt/Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region is the third largest in Germany and is home to Germany’s largest airport. Like Berlin, the region boasts a diverse music community that includes a thriving dance and techno scene. For jazz afficianados, the best venues are around Kleine Bockenheimer Strasse, otherwise known as Jazzgasse (Jazz Alley).

Key venues/clubs: Frankfurter Jazzkeller, Batschkapp, Dreikönigskeller, Brotfabrik, Feinstub, Elfer Music Club, Alte Oper Frankfurt,

Key radio: RadioX, Hit Radio FFM 91.8 FM, Antenne Frankfurt 95.1 FM, You FM 90.4

Colleges and Universities: Frankfurt University of Music, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Frankfurt University of Applied Science, Goethe University Frankfurt, Hoch Conservatory

Munich population 1,370,000

Key Venues: Backstage, Muffatwerk, Kilians Irish Pub, Circus Krone, Feierwerk, The Atomic Café, Jazzclub Unterfahrt,

Key Radio Stations: Bayern 3 FM 97.3, Radio Feierwerk FM 92.4, ENERGY Munchen FM 93.3, Radio Deluxe FM 105.15, Antenne Bayern 101.3

Colleges and Universities: Academy of Fine Arts Munich, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Munich Business School, Munich University of Applied Science, University of Film and Television Munich

Germany’s major festivals

C/O Pop Festival & Convention

The c/o pop Festival brings international stars and acclaimed newcomers onto the Cologne music stage at over 30 different venues throughout the city – from the Cologne Philharmonic Hall to the YUCA Club.

Parallel to the festival, the c/o pop Convention is a two-day conference covering topics like Content Creation, Brands & Music and Sync. c/o pop Convention is the business platform for anyone working at the interface between brands and music & entertainment content.


jazzahead! is an exhibition and meeting point for the international jazz scene. Since its premiere in 2006, the event has enriched the regional and national cultural scene with its high quality and diverse jazz as well as with international flair.

The festival attracts over 16,000 visitors each year, including over 3,000 professional participants, and more than 100 concerts over the four-day period.

With its unique concept combining showcase festival, conference, exhibition and the clubnight – all revolving around the central topic “jazz” – the event has become the must-go networking event for the global jazz scene.


Another mix of trade fair and festival, the Reeperbahn Festival is Germany’s largest club festival and is one of the three most important meeting places for the music and digital creative industries in Europe.

Since its launch in 2006 the Reeperbahn Festival has developed into a must-attend event for national and international music fans and music industry professionals.

The festival offers around 600 wide-ranging events in more than 70 venues on and around Hamburg’s Reeperbahn – including concerts by international newcomers, an extensive arts program and a conference for companies and organizations.

Rock im Park

Launched in 1995 and still going strong, Rock im Park takes place at the Zeppelinfeld in Nuremberg, in the south of Germany. The festival attracts nearly 100,000 hard-rocking fans each year.

Festival alumni include: Bon Jovi, Megadeth, Van Halen, Aerosmith, Tragically Hip, Kiss, Metallica, Linkin Park, Radiohead, Iron Maiden, R.E.M., Billy Idol, Korn, Billy Talent, The Smashing Pumpkins, Kings of Leon, Coldplay, Green Day, and Foo Fighters.

Rock am Ring

Similar in many ways to its younger sister Rock im Park, Rock am Ring began in 1985. The two events share an almost identical line-up and together draw more than 150,000 people each year.

Wacken Open Air

Wacken Open Air (W:O:A) takes place annually in the small town of Wacken in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany. With 75,000 festival visitors, it attracts all kinds of metal music fans, such as fans of black metal, death metal, power metal, thrash metal, gothic metal and also folk metal, from around the world.

The festival was first held in 1990 as a small event for local German bands. By 1998 the event had become the major festival on the European metal calendar and one of the most important in the world and included over 70 bands from all over Europe, North America and Australia. W:O:A is held at the beginning of August and lasts three days.

2015 marked the event’s 10th consecutive sold-out year.

Germany biz news