Music Tech: How Music Changes the City


music panel at labore:tory

Berlin and electronic music – it a perfect fit. Here soft- and hardware companies such as Ableton and Native Instruments meet upon artists, which builds the basis for the lively club culture. The musicians act as Beta-Testers for technical innovation. This feeds into the music tech scene as it continuously evolves thanks Berlin's unique microcosm, however now this relationship is under threat.

During the panel, representatives from different funding projects talk about the opportunities that Berlin's music scene offers. The Axel-Springer-Verlag has created a project called The Venue where musicians and music tech start-ups can network and connect with each other. For one hundred days they are intensively supported with workshops, seminars and financial aid. In return, the publishing house receives a share of the profits later made by the musicians and start-ups. In parallel, the Musicboard project, which is funded by the Berlin Senate, hands out scholarships for pop musicians. There is also a Music-Tech-Network currently being set up, in order to channel all the interests and demands of the scene.

However, alongside the music scene, there are many other types of start-ups settling in Berlin. They are a potential threat for the local music scene. Similar to places like Seattle, San Francisco, New York and Lisbon – cities in which musicians are driven out by gentrification. “In Lisbon, music and start-ups co-existing side by side didn't really work out, as the start-ups are financially much stronger.”, says Michail Stangl of Boiler Room.

Similar things are happening in Berlin: clubs are shutting down, as they can no longer afford the rental costs. Rehearsal spaces and meeting points are slowly being driven to the outskirts of the city. The consensus on the panel is that the city authorities have been asleep for too long and sold too much land instead of keeping the artist scene within the city centre. Berlin is still a magnet for artists from all over the world however the scene needs to be more supported if Berlin wants to keep its status as the epicentre of the electronic music scene.

By Johanna Kleibl (EJS) und Christina Spitzmüller (EJS)

Photo credit: Johanna Kleibl