BIMM Cities

Music in Berlin – An Interview With iMusician

18th September 2018

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Want the scoop on what it’s like to live and work as a musician in Berlin? We sat down with iMusician, a Swiss digital music distributor startup with an office in Berlin. As a team of musicians working in the Berlin music scene, they’re pretty familiar with what it’s like to create music in this fun and vibrant capital city. Here’s what they had to say about this the city.

What do you think about the music scene in Berlin?

From my experience, Berlin has one of the most diverse and welcoming music scenes in the world. The wide spectrum of possibilities for collaboration and creativity is unlike anywhere else I have ever worked. The range of different spaces to perform in and the amount of concerts and festivals is neverending. You can participate in a live music event every night of the week all year round in Berlin and still miss out on something else cool.

Brandon Miller, iMusician contributor & musician

I think Berlin has a very diverse and lively music scene. There are events for every genre and there is no curfew, which implies a sense of freedom, especially for the electronic music scene. Furthermore, most events are still cheaper compared to other European capital cities.

Christoph Mühl, Artist Support & electronic music producer

What are the pros and cons for musicians of living in a city like Berlin?

It really depends on your goals and how you work. Berlin is not an easy place to make money with music, but it does offer more artistic support than anywhere else I have ever lived. A lot of cities have competitive music scenes which I find extremely unappealing, and in Berlin it’s more open. Most musicians, clubs, and agencies seem genuinely interested and passionate about what they’re doing. Despite the ever passing presence of flakey hipsters clogging up the flow, I still find this the best city to live, work and grow as a musician. Berlin has had so many music scenes over the years and yet it still seems to me like the horizon is wide open.

Brandon Miller, iMusician contributor & musician

What advice would you give to music students who plan on staying in Berlin?

Perform, perform, perform! Performing is the best promotional mechanism and key emotional reward for creating music. Get your music out there because sitting on your music is a waste of all your work. Have the courage to put it out there.

— Shigs Amemiya, co-founder and CEO

Network, network, network, work, work, work, and have fun—but don’t get lost. It’s very easy and tempting to be grabbed in Berlin’s flow of parties and connect with plenty of people without getting anything done. If you study here, you have the opportunities to meet lots of interesting people. Don’t just meet them, start doing things and have goals with them.

— Gilles Toussaint, Head of Internationalisation & musician

A little background on iMusician:

iMusician was started in 2007 as a side project selling CDs and vinyl to the label SOGrecords. They knew that the days of physical distribution were limited and started looking for alternatives. When iMusician reached scale in 2013, it got investors on board to scale internationally.

iMusician is an amazing distribution resource for independent musicians and labels. For an international city like Berlin, diversity is key, which is why they have full language support in five languages: German, French, English, Italian and Spanish.

Are you an independent artist looking for digital distribution online? iMusician are currently offering a discount to BIMM students.

Click on “Spotify musik hochladen” or “How to sell music on Spotify” to learn exactly how to get started! And use the voucher code 0GWO-I9ZZ to get a 10% discount on music distribution plans when applied at checkout. (Artists need to create a free account here and start and finish a release in order to use the voucher code. The discount does not apply to non-distribution extras or 3rd party services.)

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Author

James Watts

Social Media Assistant, Professional Bassist and Music Journalist. Career highlights include performing at some of the UK's premier music festivals, recording in Abbey Road and interviewing Debbie Harry.