Austrian Industry Check – Media and Live Market

Denmark’s Sekuoia performing in Vienna.

By Linus Lassus

Music Finland, who is currently leading a music export project to the German, Austrian and Swiss music markets called Aus Finnland, talked to Hannes Tschürtz from the Austrian music company Ink Music about the Austrian music industry. Hannes shares some really good hints and tips, and we’re offering a translated version of the interview, with focus on the media and live music sectors. The full interview can be found here (in Finnish).

Population: ca 8,6 million
Capital: Vienna (population of metropolitan area ca 2,4 million)
Area: 84 000 km2 (twice the size of Denmark)
Bordered by: Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Your neighbor Germany is a gigantic music market. Does the German market influence the Austrian industry a lot?

It does. Many of the big German names are popular in Austria as well. We also use a lot of the same media outlets, especially TV. Still, you shouldn’t see Austria only as some leftover complement to Germany. In many aspects it’s a very different country. Everything that works in Germany doesn’t necessarily work in Austria. The geography is very different, and touring here works in a different way. Austria is also less urban compared to Germany.

What are the most important promotional tools in Austria, from a music industry point of view? Are print and radio important?

Radio still has a huge influence on the market – there are a lot of national radio stations and the national broadcasting company has a lot of power (goes for TV as well). FM4 would probably be the first choice for a pop artist, but it also depends on the genre. FM4 plays a lot of different pop and alternative music.

Only 10-15% of the music played on the national broadcasting company’s stations is Austrian music, and there has been a lot of discussion about this lately. Anglo-american music makes out the majority of the international music though. On a whole, the radio field is very mainstream-oriented, with the exeption of FM4 and Soundportal (a local radio station in Graz).

The print magazine market are not as diverse as you would imagine. There’s no actual music magazines really. However, there is a lifestyle magazine called The Gap. The Gap features pop culture, design, fashion and games etc.. But in general the importance of the print media is quite small.

The Ja Ja Ja festival in Vienna was a huge success.

What kind of festivals do you have in Austria?

Earlier, Skalar Entertainment almost had a monopoly in Austria, acting as promoter for the three biggest events in the country: Nova Rock, Frequency and Urban Art Forms. It started to change when other players, including the FKP Scorpio and Austrian booking agency Arcadia, joined forces. They now arrange Hip Hop Open and Nuke festival. Rock in Vienna is arranged by the German company DEAG. The Gap has a nice list of festivals here, which also includes some of the nice small ones.

Are there any culturally and musically relevant cities in Austria, other than Vienna, Graz and Linz?
Innsbruck in the west is important. Salzburg is obviously very classically oriented, but there are also some good pop and rock venues there. The Vorarlberg region is really nice in the summer, and there are some really good venues there as well, like Poolbar, for instance.

Is there anything else you should be aware of when planning a tour in Austria?

Austria is not just Vienna. And if you’re going to Vienna, take a look around – many of the Eastern European markets are just behind the corner. Austria is an excellent stepping stone to these markets and a great hub in the region.

The Austrian clubs and venues usually offer great service and infrastructure. It pays off to come back often and expand your network from here.

If you’re launching a new international artist in Austria – irrespective of the genre -, what’s the first step you should take?
Find someone who knows your genre well. Find the right places where your artist can be succesfully presented – be it a media outlet or a specific venue. Be careful and thorough and always come back.