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Music festivals and events of the music industry that you should know as an artist

In the following article we offer you help for self-help: Find the conventions or music conferences and congresses that are relevant to you as an artist and offer you the networking opportunities you need. Not only can you be booked for these music festivals, but you can also gain important insights (and future prospects) into the music industry as an interested listener and discuss or even network with important people. Pay particular attention to registration deadlines and registration links for the respective events.

Published on
June 7, 2024
Tymon Napp-Molinski
Working Student Marketing

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There are basically two types of music festivals in Germany:

1) Music festivals including concerts, parties, camping etc. → for music fans & party people
2) Music festivals including conventions, showcases, extras → for artists, the music industry & music fans

Point 1 refers to the ones we go to just to enjoy music, optionally in a nice environment with our besties, where sometimes connections for life are made. Point 2 includes conferences that we attend not only to experience (new) music, but also to learn, gain expertise, get inspired and network: The term music conferences or music industry events is often used here. These music festivals including conventions are primarily known for their educational character and networking opportunities. However, we would also like to focus on the potential input for aspiring artists as a whole. Exchange is important in order to not only bring together the interests of different stakeholders, but also to be able to utilise and apply them for yourself as an artist.

And as it is becoming increasingly relevant for musicians today to combine knowledge and drive with their creativity, we would like to provide an overview of precisely those events where musical enjoyment and business acumen go hand in hand. For artists, these conventions can mean that they are made aware of important business or creative things, get motivation from the many like-minded people or even come into contact with interesting people from the industry and much more. The focus of the article is on Germany, but there is also an interesting look beyond the horizon, which comes with a surprise.

Reeperbahn Festival

The Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg is certainly one of the most relevant representatives in the field of music festivals, which includes a conference and offers an enormous programme with a total of 180 workshops, readings, panels, podcasts, exhibitions and screenings in 2023 and around 475 concerts. It takes place over four days every year in September (18-21 September 2024). Musical highlights are completely independent of genre and can include hip hop à la Loyle Carner, K.I.Z., indie pop in the form of Lucky Lo, Angie McMahon, JEREMIAS or rock greats such as The Hives or Muse (and much more as this playlist shows!). In his report last year, NDR music journalist Matthias Köppinghoff emphasised ‘the appeal of discovering new things here and being able to see many newcomers in one weekend’. Pop culture can be found here in various forms and formats and, according to the organisers, this gathering is characterised by diversity, gender equality and sustainability. At the convention, for example, you could take a ‘deep dive’ into Sync & Licensing with Fine Gold Music CEO Jonathan Finegold. The ‘Collide’ project, on the other hand, brings together different arts and makes collaboration visible live, bringing together musical, visual and conceptual live performances.

Hard Facts:

WHERE? Hamburg, St.Pauli (Reeperbahn)

WHEN? 18-21 SEPTEMBER 2024

LINK: https://www.reeperbahnfestival.com

E-mail: Contact@reeperbahnfestival.com

c/o pop

At the other, western end of Germany, Cologne is home to the annual c/o Pop Festival, which has been taking place since 2004 due to the migration of Popkomm to Berlin (now cancelled) and has made a name for itself in recent years. It is appreciated in the industry for its slightly different approach: smaller, more manageable than the Reeperbahn and no less important when it comes to booking the stars of tomorrow. The division between festival and convention/conference is also of central importance here. Also scheduled over four days, the first two days are dedicated to the conference in combination with concerts (‘festival’), which focuses on topics such as DIY promotion, pitching & playlisting, AI & music rights, podcasts, sustainability, gaming and much more, and even enables an exchange with representatives of GEMA, PopBoard NRW, labels or music platforms such as MusicHub and recordJet. Chance and the desire to network set the tone and useful but also nice interpersonal connections can arise. At the weekend, there are also the free events, which are of great value not only for artists and music industry employees, but above all for other interested parties such as DIY artists.

In terms of music, the last edition featured shooting stars such as MAJAN, Art School Girlfriend and Deki Alem, as well as popular newcomers such as Soffie, error, Serpentin and rémi.fr. What's special about the festival concept are the additional so-called activities, which (can) include dance workshops, DJ sets, film screenings and the like.

Hard Facts:

WHERE? Cologne, Ehrenfeld (Venloer Str. etc.)

WHEN? 24-28 APRIL 2024

LINK? https://c-o-pop.de

E-mail: info@c-o-pop.de

Most Wanted: Music

The capital city of Berlin and centre of the music scene in Germany is of course also represented with its own music event, including a convention, which goes by the name of Most Wanted: Music and takes place over three days in autumn (12-14 November 2024). From interactive panel discussions with industry experts and artists to workshops and screenings to interesting musical showcases where you can discover more than just an insider tip, the music festival reflects the entire spectrum of the music industry. The festival opens on the first evening with the Listen To Berlin Award Gala, where both newcomers and other deserving individuals are honoured. Among other things, non-cash and cash prizes as well as concert gigs can be won here. This year, the Listen To Berlin: Awards will even be expanded to include a Youth Festival (on 13 November), where female musicians aged 14 and over can take part and network with each other. You can find more information HERE.

Hard Facts:

WHERE? Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg (Kulturbrauerei)

WHEN? 12-14 NOVEMBER 2024

LINK: https://mwm-berlin.de

E-mail: contact@mwm-berlin.de

Nürnberg Pop

The south of Germany also offers female musicians a festival with a conference character in the form of Nuremberg Pop, which combines networking and information events with showcases and music enjoyment. The music festival, which was awarded the Bavarian Pop Culture Prize in the ‘Festivals’ category in 2019, features a wide range of gigs by Germany's most popular newcomers, such as error, Berg, Jules Ahoi and wavvyboi, as well as international shooting stars such as Dobrawa Czocher (collabo partner of Hania Rani), South London's Goat Girl and German feuilleton favourites International Music. The so-called pop conference offers podium discussions (panels), lectures (keynotes) and workshops. The price-performance ratio is comparatively fair and also something for the small purse (weekend ticket approx. 66 EUR) and there are even group tickets if you are planning a visit with friends or fellow students. Since 2021, the GUNDA Pop Culture Prize has also been awarded as part of the festival, which is presented on the Thursday of the festival.

There are also regular individual network meetings with NBG Sounds, which are accompanied by a musical programme if you can't make it to the festival.

Hard Facts:

WHERE? Nuremberg, city centre (various locations)

WHEN: 10-12 OCTOBER 2024

Website: https://www.nuernberg-pop.com

E-mail: info@nuernberg-pop.com

All Music Friday

Spotify's ‘Music Summit’, which took place for the second time this year as a one-day event in April, is similar to other music festivals and industry gatherings. The audience can expect keynotes, panels, deep dives and masterclasses, which already give an idea of what the respective formats have to offer. There are several stages (Main Stage, Discovery Stage, Insights Stage and the Atelier), each with a different focus. For example, ‘Made in Frankfurt - Between Art and Capital’ on the Main Stage featured an interview with the artist reezy and the CEO of Sony Music GSA, Patrick Mushatsi-Kareba, about the connection between creativity and business acumen and the extent to which Frankfurt has played a role in this. A mental health panel with psychologist Franziska Lauter and journalist/DJ/moderator Miriam Davoudvandi was also a topic, as were interviews and panels on music production, songwriting and genre developments on the Discovery Stage. Internal Spotify topics and speakers could be followed on the Insights Stage. Speakers and participants ranged from musicians Nina Chuba, Kool Savas, presenter legend Markus Kafka and, of course, key figures from Spotify itself such as Joe Hadley (Global Head of Music Partnerships & Audience), Regina Reggie (International Product Marketing Lead), Julian Göller (Social Marketing Manager & Influencer Lead) and Milena Taieb (Head of Music, France & Benelux). The Wilhelm-Hallen is an interesting choice of location, as a new centre for the creative industry has been under construction here since 2021, which, for a change, is located in the north of Berlin in Reinickendorf.

Hard facts:

WHERE? Berlin-Reinickendorf (Wilhelm Hallen)

WHEN? 19th April 2024

LINK: https://all-music-friday.byspotify.com/

E-mail: allmusicfridayticketing@opnrs.com


Also taking place in the city on the Rhine is Soundtrack Cologne, which focuses on film, but from a musical perspective. So it's perfect for all film fans and people who have something to do with film or music professionally and for whom, ideally, both areas overlap. Topics include composing for TV series, composing for video games and, at the RSVP event Female Film Composer Class, e.g. self-marketing, publicity and social media. GEMA is represented in this context with the helpful topic ‘All about films and series. Registration, production rights, documentation, monitoring and GEMA Online Services". The closing date for registration for the Female Film Composer Class was 4 June, but it's worth asking carefully if you still want to take part! One highlight is the silent film concert by Nasty Women. All in all, the convention offers the perfect mix of music and sound in film as well as the connection with games and media.

Hard Facts:

WHEN? 02-05 JULY 2024

WHERE? Cologne, Südstadt (Vondelstraße etc.)

LINK? https://soundtrackcologne.de

E-mail: presse@soundtrackcologne.de

Future Music Camp

The Future Music Camp is a ‘three-day conference format in Mannheim organised by the Popakademie Baden-Württemberg on future topics of the music industry, in which lectures, talks, showcases, discussions and sessions are realised in equal measure’. Significantly, this year's focus is on music rights and marketing, which are becoming increasingly relevant and important for independent musicians. The Future Music Camp is divided into keynotes (lectures or talks by important industry experts), sessions (topics proposed by participants) and the showcases that open the music event (this year in the form of artists Maiva and Ceycey). This congress/music conference requires prior registration and is recommended for both aspiring musicians and music industry insiders.

Hard Facts:

WHERE? Mannheim (main building Popakademie etc.)

WHEN? 06-07 JUNE 2024

LINK: https://www.futuremusiccamp.de

E-mail: info@popakademie.de

chronological overview of the music industry events in germany

Other music industry events and networking opportunities

Note: Smaller industry events can also be helpful, especially as admission is often very cheap or even free.

Jazzahead (Bremen)

For jazz fans and people whose lives and interests revolve around the jazz genre, this mixture of showcases, club nights and events with a conference character is an absolute must. At the panels, artists and label managers as well as mentors, bookers, social workers and organisers of Jazzahead itself will have their say to discuss topics such as inclusion, sustainable touring (‘green booking’) or even the exchange with the Finnish music scene, for example. The biggest plus, however, is certainly the sheer number of acts on show and the fact that this music event also functions as a trade fair, which the organisers describe as the ‘world's most important annual jazz convention’ with 3,000 professional participants from 60 nations (in 2023).

About Pop (Stuttgart)

This two-day convention in Stuttgart is dedicated to current topics relating to pop culture and pop music with a special focus on the entire region and Baden-Württemberg and the topics of funding and musicians' lives that are important for artists. In 2024 (17-18 May), for example, there was an important panel on *Pop funding in national and international comparison: A look at the funding landscape or an interactive workshop entitled Deep-Dive Application for Artist Funding (Crowd Funding is one option of many). It is therefore well worth a visit for self-releasing artists, especially if they are looking for opportunities to obtain financial support for their own creative career.

Pop Summit (Cologne)

One-day conference for pop music promotion in Germany. In 2024 (24.04.) it took place within the c/o Pop in Cologne and focused on the diversity and dynamics of pop music. The most important players in the industry were introduced, such as Katja Lucker (Initiative Musik), Olaf Kretschmar (Berlin Music Commission), Norbert Oberhaus (CEO c/o pop) and many more. Here too, a visit is essential if you want to know more about the structures of funding programmes, fees in the creative industry or the political dimensions of pop culture. BTW: We just interviewed one of the politicians, who tries to fight for fairer streaming wages in the EU parliament. Find it here.

Hype & Friends Festival (Hannover)

The Hype & Friends Festival is an initiative of university professor Dr Carsten Winter from the Institute for Journalism and Communication Research and has already attracted important national and international guests to Hanover. These include the Managing Director of the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry, Johannes Everke, the Managing Director of the Initiative Musik and festival curator, Katja Lucker, as well as important personalities from the Berlin Music Commission, the kreHtiv Network Hanover, the Federal Association of Popular Music or important people in music business research such as Guy Morrow (University of Melbourne), Alex Timewell (University of Leeds) or Martin Clancy (Dublin City University), all experts in their field.

Knowledge is imparted between young professionals, academics and music industry experts in so-called Agency Art Labs. The website states: ‘Since 2021, it has been opening up perspectives for them [students/artists] as they work on their careers in front of, behind and next to the stage, involving them in new teaching, learning, practical and research formats to help shape the future of music and honouring contributions that have supported young professionals with the HYPE&FRIENDS Awards as part of a BigBand Gala’. The supporting musical programme is mostly contributed by students and bands from the University of Music, Drama and Media and has already hosted shooting stars of the German music scene such as Serpentin and Ottolien.

Hype & Friends is also open to outsiders and newcomers and even encourages them to take part. Registration options can usually be found HERE.

Initiative Musik Events

The Initiative Musik ist uses various communication events (such as the Pop Summit mentioned above) as important instruments to promote dialogue within the industry - especially with musicians at eye level. In doing so, they want to ‘reach musicians from different regions of Germany and inform them about our programmes’. It is therefore always worth taking a look at their website.

Musicpool Berlin Events/Workshops

The Music Pool Berlin is the central contact point for music professionals in Berlin and is funded by the European Union. In addition to workshops and lectures (in the House of Music), events are also organised here in the form of free artist meet-ups. It is a meeting place for musicians across scenes and genres, where they can exchange ideas in a relaxed atmosphere on all kinds of topics relating to the life of a musician. The website goes on to say about the performance opportunities there:

"All performing artists have about 10 min to perform 2 songs or tracks live, with a simple setup. You can also show a music video, for example, or talk about a project. You are very welcome to use the stage to mention what you are looking for (maybe your future drummer is in the audience), to ask for feedback or similar. Afterwards, over drinks and music, there will be the opportunity to talk to each other (including those who are not presenting) about the projects, find people who would like to work on the project, exchange ideas and contacts, and get further together than alone."

Local initiatives such as meetups in Berlin

There are also online communities that exchange ideas and even meet in person, such as the Monthly Music Marketing Meetup Berlin. The group aims to bring like-minded musicians and producers together to discuss promotion and support each other with various other tasks. This includes release strategies (something like our Release Planner), distributing music via various social media platforms, finding a distribution partner (e.g. MusicHub), booking gigs independently or attracting listeners on various platforms.

Incidentally, you are also encouraged to bring your own laptop for a co-working session or your dog, who shouldn't get lonely at home. The whole thing is free of charge and can be supported with the purchase of locally available drinks. Of course, as an artist you can also either look for groups with a different focus or start your own group.

SXSW (South by Southwest) in Europe for the first time (London, UK)

Known as the world's leading festival for creativity, SXSW will make its European debut next year and will also take place in London in June 2025. The Austin-based festival will bring discussions, music and tech showcases, film and television events and visual arts to London's Shoreditch neighbourhood.

"SXSW London will build on Austin's incredible legacy and present an event that underscores why SXSW is the premier destination for professionals and creatives looking for meaningful connections, unexpected experiences and ideas that can help shape the world."

said Randel Bryan, managing director of SXSW London (Euronews.com). So it might be worth traveling to the capital of England if you want to get a taste of even more international festival air. The registration phase is currently running on the website, so you can try to take part either as an industry person or as an artist with your project. If you don't make it that far, you are already well served by the opportunities in Germany.

If you liked this, you can also learn about venues in Berlin in our piece entitled "Berlin Music Scene: The most important music venues".


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