A Brief Overview of The German Music Market (Edition: 2020)



  • 83.2 mio. inhabitants (Status: 31.12.2019)
  • Capital: Berlin
  • 16 federal states with each their own capital
  • Biggest cities:
  • Berlin 3.6 mio
  • Hamburg 1.8 mio
  • Munich 1.4 mio
  • Cologne 1.2 mio
  • Frankfurt a.M. 0.7 mio

Music Industry Background

Germany was predominantly an import music market after the 2nd World War. A fear of nationalism made it impossible to develop a German pop culture and the allies‘ music was the most important: UK and US stars even released their most famous songs in German versions.

After the German reunification in 1990, German pop culture started to develop, while imported music was still the most consumed.

For the last ten years, domestic pop andrap/hip hop has been on the rise.

In 2019, 80% of TOP 10 albums were German-speaking.

Music Industry Facts

Germany is the third biggest music market in the world (after USA and Japan). Due to its size and fragmented geography, there are a lot of touring possibilities. On the other hand, fragmentation makes it hard to become a „hit“ in all Germany at once. It‘s therefore a time-consuming market to tackle.

Turnover development1984-2019

Physical vs. digital

Germany is a traditional market in transition. 2018 was the first year in which audio streaming turnover was higher than the turnover made with physical sales. The number is however now growing rapidly.

! Having a physical copy of your album/EP should always be considered: Germans still spend money on physical copies, especially at concerts. Physical promotional copies should also be considered – many radio editors are fond of them. !

Listening behaviour

Germans consume music via followingmediums:

  1. Radio (43,5%)
  2. Premium Audio-Streaming (17,2%)
  3. Physical (14,5 %)
  4. YouTube (12,1%)
  5. Free Audio-Streaming (3,4%)

Radio is still the most important music medium in 2019, but this depends a lot on the target group. Radio is mostly listened to by 35–64-year-olds. 45% of 16-24-year-olds use premium-streaming-services

Buying Music

The willingness to buy music is constant.

Fans in the age group 30–49 are more willing to pay for music. The number of people who do so via a paid streaming service is increasing.

More than 50% of overall industry revenue is due to 40-59-year-olds.

Males are more willing to pay for music (76%) Comment: Males might still be responsible for financials in a household, which might manipulate this number

Media Landscape

Media cities:

  • Berlin
  • Hamburg
  • Munich
  • Cologne (& Ruhr District)
  • B Cities (Frankfurt, Leipzig, Dortmund, Stuttgart, Bremen, etc)

German-speaking media across borders:

  • Austrian radio station FM4, German Deutschlandradio, German national print mags are also distributed in GSA and vice versa. But also strong local media that focuses on the news with national relevance

Can you buy media support via marketing?

  • Public radio stations: NO
  • Private radio stations: MAYBE (example: playing a session for free + getting rotation)
  • Print/Online:  YES, only 20-30% of features are purely editorial

German Public Media(Radio + TV)

Fragmented + regional!
Only two nationwide public TV channels: ARD + ZDF


Print is dying! Slowly, but surely – and this process is accelerated by Covid-19. Important music magazines like Spex, Intro, Groove, Juice, etc. have died in the last couple of years. Only a few magazines transitioned to digital successfully.

Print: Music Magazines

Print: Nationwide Newspapers

& regional newspapers

Online Magazines

TV Formats

Some important shows with live music guests include:

Online formats (are getting more important, especially for the younger audience):


There are three nationwide and nine local public radio stations in Germany, plus approx. 200 private, college, and leftfield radio stations. Listener numbers differ enormously from station to station. The exclusive regional success of bands is common.

PUBLIC (Nationwide)
Deutschlandfunk (Culture + Info) 
Deutschlandfunk Kultur (Culture)
Deutschlandfunk Nova (Youth, Only Web)

PUBLIC (Local)
Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR)
Hessischer Rundfunk (hr)
Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR)
Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR)
Radio Bremen
Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb)
Saarländischer Rundfunk (SR)
Südwestrundfunk (SWR)
Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln (WDR)

Each of these public radio broadcasters also hosts several subchannels focusing on for example news, youth, culture, Schlager, etc.

PRIVATE (Nationwide + local)
Rock Antenne
Radio Bob
Antenne Bayern
Flux FM
Star FM
Radio Hamburg
Detektor FM
Planet Radio
delta radio
…and many more!


Live Touring

It comes to show how Covid-19 will be affecting theGerman live industry in the longterm. Pre-Covid, theGerman live industry was identified as highly competitive. Working with a local booking agent is highly recommended, because – unlike in other places– venues do not book the bands directly. Venues are usually rented by local promoters, who then host the show. Promoters can act as local and nationwide promoters (Example: FKP Scorpio is setting up nationwide tours, but also hosts shows in Hamburg). Big cities would host 800-1000 concerts per year and host Open Air Shows during the summer (Wuhlheide Berlin, Stadtpark Hamburg, Kulturarena Jena, etc.).

Before Covid-19, the market was becoming saturated – the number of tours and concerts increased, while people had the same financial resources and therefore bought fewer tickets to shows. Local promoters became less willing to take risks, which led to worse conditions for the artists.

Live: Festivals

The festival landscape in Germany is diverse. There are festivals for each genre and audience size imaginable. Pre-Covid-19 that is. Most festivals are owned by booking agencies.

Major festivals:

Showcases + Networking

  • Reeperbahn Festival (Pop / Location: Hamburg)
    International showcase festival and conference.
  • c/o pop (Pop / Location: Cologne)
    Showcase festival and conference. Focus on German artists, but international networking.
  • jazzahead! (Jazz / Location: Bremen)
    International showcase festival and trade fair.
  • Most Wanted: Music (Pop / Location: Berlin)
    Showcase festival and conference.
  • Pop-Kultur Berlin (Pop / Location: Berlin)
    Showcase, art, talks.
  • JaJaJa Music (Pop / Location: Anywhere)
    Concert series for Nordic acts.

Key Companies: Labels

Key Companies: Distribution

Key Companies: Publishing

Key Companies: PR

Key Companies: Promoters/Agents

Exporting to Germany

  1. Create a good EPK including your music, press photos, live footage, music videos, and press quotes
  2. Consider your target group and use data to analyse where you’ll best reach them in Germany
    – Radio?
    -Social media?
  3. Build a team in Germany!
  • Does your music need to be heard live? Start with a booking agent/promoter
  • You have no idea how to release your own music and want to rely on a team with experience and network? Find a label/distribution
  • If the label doesn‘t have a PR team in-house, you need to find the right PR company to support you
  • Your music is not radio-friendly? A PR company focusing on online, tv, and print will do
  • Your music is radio-friendly? Find an additional radio PR company
  • Your music is supported by great visuals? Consider investing in social media marketing (instead of radio PR for example)


Produced in collaboration with Factory 92.

All statistics are taken from Musikindustrie in Zahlen (ifpi German Music Industry Report 2019) unless stated otherwise.