In the clubs, pubs, churches and taverns of the Reeperbahn there are so many and so different events over four days that a single visit to the festival can only be very subjective. To give an impression of the topics that will be discussed in the conference part of the festival this year, here are a few notes from two panels.
Streaming services spread right-wing rock
First “Antifascist Algorithm”: All major streaming companies offer right-wing rock on their platforms – and their smart algorithms, which recommend music and create playlists, help with distribution. Because anyone who has heard right-wing rock once will get even more recommendations. This is a particularly big problem, according to Nicolas Klein from the advertising agency Philipp und Keuntje, because it is not uncommon for people to enter the right-wing scene through cultural products such as rock songs. Together with the initiative Laut gegen Nazis, he placed a fake band on streaming services: the band Hetzjaeger, based on the aesthetics of a right-wing rock band, but actually an anti-Nazi band.
Such stunts indicate the problem but do not change anything. Only the companies themselves can do that – or politics. A single streaming service has agreed to comment on the subject: Frédéric Antelme from Deezer is part of the panel. But he can’t say much more than “We’re working on it”. Sebastian Krumbiegel replies: Why don’t you take politics into account? Companies are always profit-oriented and, if in doubt, would not want to do without a (paying) right-wing audience, which is why state regulation is needed. However, the problem that many right-wing bands are not immediately recognizable as such can be solved at a distribution level, says Jörn Menge from Laut gegen Nazis, in which streaming providers simply do not feature a label’s entire catalogue.
“We need your support”
The stage empties, next panel: How was the festival summer from the point of view of the organizers? Answer: It works! The occupancy rate was 80 percent for everyone present – Summerjam, Juicy Beats, Orange Blossom Special, MS Dockville. So nothing was sold out. They rate this very differently: Marius Brozi from Summerjam is basically satisfied, while Rembert Stiewe from OBS sees his festival as existentially threatened.
And the prospects are bleak: Rising energy prices and inflation are causing problems for organizers, without higher ticket prices it will not work. It is of course a “crappy time to make tickets more expensive” (Stiewe). Because with 80% occupancy, the market signal is rather the opposite: tickets have to be cheaper so that more people come again. There is probably no way around greater transparency with the audience. No artificial scarcity, no “remaining tickets”, but the honest announcement: We need your support.