Germany’s relevance as an export market for music never seems to fade. Rather, it grows ever more important for bands looking to bring their music abroad. Here follows three tips for how to start approaching it.
At mxd.dk, you can find a lot of articles and information about the German market and its characteristics, such as this overview of the German market and this article on collaborations between bands and brands.
Record label PIAS recently posted an interesting blog post titled How to Break The German Market? Treat it With Respect, which can be found here. In the post you’ll find thoughts on how to ‘break’ the German market, delivered (naturally) from the perspective of representatives of PIAS and their artists. Nonetheless, PIAS provides nice food for thought, even if you or your band might not be signed to that particular label.
Play The Small Cities
The standard tour schedule for artists visiting Germany reads something like ‘Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Munich and Frankfurt’.
Says Stefan Strüver MD of PIAS in Germany, “… When I look at the success of local bands like AnnenMayKantereit and Wanda, an Austrian band, what really broke them was that they spent the time playing regional shows from the very beginning.”
Germany has several medium-sized and smaller cities, and according to Strüver, taking the time to play towns were competition isn’t as though can really grow the fan base in the long-term. Therefore returning time and time again is important: ‘If you’re going to break Germany, you have to stay around.’
Use The Fragmented Media Field to Your Advantage
When taking time to play those smaller cities, also take time to flirt with media. Due to the lack of nationwide radio, taking time to talk to the local stations and meet up for sessions and interviews can grow their loyalty.
“You get much stronger support from radio programmes if you play a show in the region in which they broadcast” says Stefan.
Distribution Can Be Key
German music fans are famous for their taste for physical records, and musicians and bands are often encouraged to bring their records with them when visiting the country. To get their products out on a wider scale, Frank Stratmann, MD of Good To Go and Rough Trade Distribution, suggests bands don’t need to rely on big companies with big marketing budgets, despite the size of the market.
“We’re seeing a lot of indie labels primarily promoting their releases via YouTube, social media and internet channels,” he says.
“You do not need a major label behind a record – just an [engaged] artist and a distribution partner who can get your physical product in stores.”