With over 2,000 music companies and 12,000 music industry employees, the German city of Hamburg is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the music business. Banded together, its record labels, recording studios, booking agencies, sync companies, music retailers, artists, festivals, live music venues, music publishers and music media companies turnover 700 million euros in revenue annually. So for those keen to get acquainted with the city, we’ve listed our top Hamburg-based music industry businesses, so you can see why it more than deserves its title as the ‘European capital of music business’.
Multinational US company Warner Music has based its German HQ in Hamburg, which speaks volumes about the clout the city has when it comes to the music industry. The label is responsible for German artists including DJ and producer Robin Schulz, singer Marie Bothmer, singer-songwriter Maxim and pop star Mike Singer. Globally they look after Ed Sheeran, Rudimental, Madonna, Sia and Daft Punk, to name just a few.
Audiolith was founded in 2003 by Lars Lewerenz and is Germany’s most popular electropunk label. It prides itself on its strong political anti-fascist stance and is home to acts such as Frittenbude and Feine Sahne Fischfilet.
Grand Hotel van Cleef came into being in 2002 when local indie rock band Kettcar were looking for a label to release their first album. They couldn’t find one, so instead launched their own, and it now releases indie music by artists such as Hamburgerschule contemporaries Bernd Begemann and Die Befreiung and the Hamburgerschule-influenced Tomte.
[PIAS] is one of the world’s biggest indie labels – home to the likes of Alt-J, Interpol and Editors – and opened its first German office in Hamburg in 1998. [PIAS] Germany has its own A&R, project management, marketing, sales and promo teams and has built a strong roster of critically acclaimed domestic acts such as Gisbert zu Knyphausen, Bohren & der Club of Gore, Turbostaat and Hamburg-based Truemmer, as well as international success stories, Milky Chance. [PIAS] Germany’s Managing Director, Stefan Strüver, is also a BIMM Hamburg Music Business Tutor, so students will benefit first-hand from his solid industry connections. He states: “Collaborating with BIMM will give [PIAS] Germany, as an indie label, a competitive edge within the business – both in terms of discovering new artists and finding new employees.“
FKP Skorpio is Europe’s largest festival organiser and one of the leading booking agencies for tours and concerts across Germany. It runs its operations from an office in Schanzenviertel and their festival repertoire includes local events Hurricane Festival, Hamburger Kultursommer and Elbjazz, plus German festivals Southside, Highfield and Rolling Stone Weekender. They also book tours by international acts such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Arctic Monkeys, Blink 182, Foo Fighters and more.
Neuland Concerts was founded in 2008 as a division of Warner Music Germany and, although now a fully independent company, works closely with Warner to promote tours of its national and international artists, such as Biffy Clyro, Wiz Khalifa and German singer-songwriter, Jesper Munk.
ICS Network is the booking agency behind Wacken Open Air – the world’s biggest heavy metal festival, held an hour’s drive from Hamburg every August. They’re also the team behind Full Metal Cruise – Europe’s first and only heavy metal cruise – and the global W:O:A metal battle, where bands from 40 countries compete to be crowned the ‘next big thing’ in metal.
MUSIC SYNC COMPANIES
NHB is a full-service post-production network with offices in Hamburg, Berlin, Düsseldorf and Munich. A one-stop-shop for vision, design, digital projects and music, the NHB Music team has access to a European-wide network of composers, sound designers and voice artists, and an archive of more than 300,000 songs.
White Horse Music is a sync agency based in the Sternschanze area of Hamburg and is a division of Jung von Matt – a huge German advertising agency headquartered in Hamburg with offices around the globe. White Horse Music liaises with composers, songwriters, music producers, artists, recording studios, record labels and music publishers to source music for the ad agency’s client brands, who include Bosch, Vodafone, Huawei, BMW, Mercedes Benz and Panasonic.
The Boogie Park Studios is a recording complex in the city’s Ottensen region who host a constant stream of renowned German acts, including chart-topping artists Helene Fischer, Adel Tawil and Udo Lindenberg.
Clouds Hill Recordings is a state-of-the art fully analogue recording studio built completely from scratch in 2003 by BIMM Hamburg’s Head of Music Production, Johann Scheerer, and used by a range of both international and German artists including The Killers, Turbostaat and Tim Bendzko. It’s also the venue for BIMM Hamburg’s Music Production classes, and a location for prospective students to visit at our upcoming Open Days. You can learn more about it in this blog post.
So, if you’d like to study in the European capital of music business, order a prospectus, book to attend a BIMM Hamburg Open Day or contact our Admissions Team on +49 303 11 99 186 or by email at [email protected]
Photo Credit: Jörg Modrow and Eline Jduijsens