September 2017


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CONFERENCE

MAG


#3

SEPTEMBER 2017

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Sandra Nasic

Eyes Wide Open

p. 11

Imprint


p. 29

Welcome


to the 3rd Edition

p. 3


Relax!

Even Your Weirdest Music

Can Make Money

p. 19


Vanessa Reed

Closing the Gender Gap

p. 4

Music in Iran



A Personal Experience

p. 22


Peter Rommel

On Music and Films

p. 25

Watermelon Man



With Splash and Sparkle

p. 27


We Can’t Take Any

More of This!

How to Make the Music Scene

into One Big Safe(r) Space

p. 8

Unsigned vs. Signed



Do Artists Benefit

from Blockchain?

p. 15


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WELCOME  TO THE

3rd EDITION

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!

With only a few days to go until this year’s conference, we’ve 

got another round of articles for your reading pleasure. On the 

following pages you’ll find texts about the European Keychange 

Project, the benefits of Blockchain for artists, the experience 

of putting on a live show in Tehran, and the first Music Film 

Contest at Reeperbahn Festival. There’s also an interview with 

Guano Apes singer Sandra Nasic. And lots more. 

 

Enjoy the read – and start gearing up for 



Reeperbahn Festival 2017!

We look forward to seeing you at our conference and to debating 

the topics we’ve covered in our magazines. Don’t hesitate to 

let us know your thoughts about our magazine by writing to us 

at 

feedback@reeperbahnfestival.com. Once again, all of our 



magazine articles will be posted on 

Facebook and Twitter. 

So please check our social media channels, as well as our 

newsletter and website, for these and feel free to share them.  /

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INTERVIEW

Christian Tjaben

VANESSA REED

Closing the Gender Gap

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REEPERBAHN FESTIVAL: 

As chief executive of the PRS

Foundation, you founded the Women

Make Music fund in 2012. Is Keychange 

basically the same thing on a multi-

national level? What impact has Women 

Make Music had and do you expect 

Keychange to have similar impact?

REED: We launched Women Make Music in the 

UK in response to the low representation of wo-

men amongst songwriters and composers in 

our country which today is only 16%. Our aim 

was to encourage more female musicians and 

songwriters to come forward for our support and 

to raise the profile of the gender gap in music 

which at that point was not being widely ack-

nowledged by the industry. Our five year evalua-

tion demonstrates that we’ve reached a large 

number of new female artists through this fund 

(86% had never applied to the PRS Foundation 

before) and the impact of seed funding on the 

women who received funding has generated a 

very significant return on investment, both in 

terms of financial impact and softer outcomes 

(e.g. 79% said that their Women Make Music 

grant had increased their confidence and 82% 

said they had developed creatively).

Keychange was the natural next step, as we 

wanted to share this experience with our Euro-

pean partners and explore the status quo across 

different European countries (e.g. in Germany, 

where only 14.1% of songwriters and composers 

are women). We felt it would be empowering for 

more women if we could build a network of ta-

lented female music creators and industry pro-

fessionals who could work together on tackling 

the barriers whilst also being promoted as an 

inspiration for other women working in music.

Along with the PRS Foundation, 

BIME, Iceland Airwaves, 

Musikcentrum Sweden, Mutek, 

Tallinn Music Week, The Great 

Escape and Way Out West, 

Reeperbahn Festival is one of the 

partners in Keychange, a project 

with the mission to accelerate 

the music industry’s recognition 

of women’s potential artistic and 

economic value. A network of 

60 women (30 emerging female 

artists and 30 innovators/industry 

professionals) will be given the 

chance to extend their reach to 

audiences across Europe and 

connect with the pioneering 

work of leaders from tech, 

design, music, audiovisual and 

other sectors. PRS Foundation 

Chief Executive Vanessa Reed, 

who initiated the project, kindly 

answered some of our questions 

about Keychange.



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REEPERBAHN FESTIVAL: Foundations, EU 

and government programmes, etc. con-

cerned with diversity are trying to engineer 

change within the private sector. Would you 

rather see legislative measures which might 

bring on changes faster?

REED: Achieving a gender balance within the 

music industry will require input at every level 

across public and private sectors.  In the UK, the 

government’s focus on diversity over the past 

three years, along with widespread press and 

social media coverage of the inequalities that 

exist, has massively accelerated industry leaders’ 

response – e.g. UK Music and BPI now have a 

diversity group and the Women in Music Awards 

have been established.

We have also been impressed with the UK Minis-

ter of Women and Women in Business Council’s 

work on the gender pay gap and other issues (all 

companies with over 250 employees will have 

to report on the average pay gap between male 

and female employees by March/April 2018). 

Transparency is becoming more crucial to a 

company’s reputation and that’s a good thing in 

my view. Most importantly, the people in char-

ge (who are generally male) also need to be on 

board, driving change and setting the example, 

as the male music festival directors, like Alex 

Schulz, are doing in our Keychange partnership.

When it comes to quotas, I think it’s important 

that these are dictated by the companies them-

selves – e.g. the General Director of the BBC has 

committed to a 50-50 balance in pay at the BBC 

by 2020. Many other organisations are following 

suit, and we at PRS Foundation are aiming to be 

funding an equal number of men and women by 

this date. This is where it becomes interesting, 

because everyone is realising that if they want 

to compete and survive, then their organisation 

needs to better reflect the diversity of its audi-

ences and artists.

We also know from other studies in the UK that 

having more women in leadership roles results 

in better business. In my opinion, one of the 

challenges for the music industry is that its 

workforce has barely changed over the past 30 

years whilst our business environment has been 

rapidly evolving. Shouldn’t those leading the fu-

ture of music better reflect the diverse range of 

artists and fans who are creating and consuming 

our industry’s content?

REEPERBAHN FESTIVAL: Do you think 

the creative industries have a pioneering 

role in bringing about a more diverse 

society, that more female musicians, 

producers, filmmakers, etc. would help to 

strengthen the position of women in the 

whole of society (i.e. does the creative 

world have a special responsibility in 

this regard), or will we experience the 

same slow change that the rest of the 

professional world (and, actually, the rest 

of society) is experiencing?

REED: The gender gap is part of a societal prob-

lem but some of the creative industries’ statistics 

are, in fact, far worse than other sectors, e.g. wo-

men make up less than 5% of music producers 

in the UK and 16% of film directors. Meanwhile, 

the number of female MPs in the UK’s House of 

Commons has risen to 32%. Creative industries, 

like film and music, promote role models for every 

generation and I believe there’s a responsibility 

attached to that. If young women can’t see or 

hear themselves in festival line-ups, in creative 

industry awards, on screen or on air, why would 

they believe that a career in the arts or creative in-

dustries was for them? At university level there are 

often far fewer female music graduates than male 

ones, so I’d like to see creative-industry leaders 

working with the education sector to encoura-

ge more girls and young women to study music 

and become part of the pipeline the industry can 

source talent from.

In the meantime, I think it’s crucial for those with 

the most clout and influence in the music industry 

to do as much as they can to promote and cele-

brate the women who are making brilliant work, 

even if proportionately, across all age groups, 

there are fewer women to choose from.


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REEPERBAHN FESTIVAL: Women in 

executive positions – female managers, 

board members, etc. – are rare in the 

music industry, from organisations 

like the PRS (or GEMA) to major and 

independent labels to the newest start-

ups. The quota is probably worse than 

the 20% or less of registered female 

composers and songwriters in the PROs 

of the countries participating in the 

Keychange programme.

Do you think this is a question of needing 

better networks of women (to counter 

the old-boy networks of old), or better 

educational programmes and equal 

opportunity measures; or do you think 

it’s a question of overcoming traditions 

and mentalities that have survived from 

pre-emancipatory times and have just 

not yet gone away?

REED: I think it’s all of those things. Women defi-

nitely need to support each other more and we’re 

not always very good at that. There needs to be 

more mentoring across generations (and this 

should involve male leaders too). As an indepen-

dent charity, our governance requires us to rotate 

board members every three years. The maximum 

average length of time trustees stay with us is six 

years. I would like to see all membership/trade 

bodies adopting this approach so that the range 

of perspectives on boards is refreshed more re-

gularly, increasing the industry’s capacity to keep 

up with developments in technology, business 

models, trends and societal shifts.

How many people in 2017 consider 90-100% 

male boards to be acceptable? And surely this 

sends out the wrong message when it comes 

to attracting new staff/talent of diverse back-

grounds. Claire Singers summed this up very 

clearly in a recent article for Variety: “Why isn’t 

this creative industry leading the way in cre-

ating diverse teams of people who will think 

differently, challenge the status quo and create 

a vibrant and dynamic business?

Why does today’s music industry remain pretty 

much run by the same coterie as it was back in 

the days of Elvis?”

Unconscious bias is another challenge which 

we all face and many organisations, including 

the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra 

which I’m on the board of, are embracing trai-

ning sessions which help us to understand the 

rationale behind our decisions and perceptions.

REEPERBAHN FESTIVAL: Who is 

currently your favourite female artist?

REED: Björk – can’t dislodge the memory of se-

eing her at Iceland Airwaves with the Icelandic 

Symphony Orchestra last year, and Anna Mere-

dith, too, for her versatility and the bombastic, 

chunky electronic sounds of “Varmints” – we 

funded her through our Momentum fund.

Watch out for her next album which she’s working 

on as we speak.out for her next album which 

she’s working on as we speak.

/

The Reeperbahn Festival is a partner of 



Keychange, the newly launched European 

project started by the PRS Foundation to 

celebrate and invest in the talent of female 

music creators and innovators.

Vanessa Reed will participate in the Key-

change press conference and the "Action 

NOW! The Next Steps for Achieving Diver-

sity in the Music Industry" panel, presen-

ted by Keychange and VUT. Please visit 

www.reeperbahnfestival.com for details.

Keychange is made possible with the 

support of the Creative Europe Programme 

of the European Union (URL: Keychange.

eu | Twitter: KeychangeEU | Instagram: /

KeychangeEU | Facebook: /KeychangeEU)


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TEXT Robert Franken

WE CAN’T


TAKE ANY MORE

OF THIS!


How to Make the Music Scene

into One Big Safe(r) Space

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Within the music industry, various programmes, 



initiatives and public pronouncements are calling for more 

diversity, female rights and an end to the tradition of male 

dominance. Meanwhile, hardly a week goes by without 

shocking reports of sexual assaults against women at 

festivals and other events. Digital & Diversity Consultant 

and self-declared feminist Robert Franken has something 

to say about this – and he doesn’t mince his words.

It seems we can no longer just look to the Nordic 

countries to find shining examples of equality and 

solidarity in society and business. At least not 

when it comes to the music industry. And most 

definitely not when it comes to festivals.

After multiple rapes and sexual assaults at this 

year’s Bråvalla Festival in Sweden, the organisers 

called the festival off for 2018 (some people are 

planning to make it into an all-female event ins-

tead). Swedish prime minister Stefan Lofven told 

the Swedish daily Expressen: “This must stop.” 

And yes, it must.

But obviously it doesn’t just stop. Festival season 

is bringing out the most disgusting display of the 

often quoted phenomenon of toxic masculinity. 

And toxic it is, if female festivalgoers have to fear 

for their lives and their safety when all they want 

to do is enjoy a couple of days with their favourite 

bands and their friends. 

Some festival organisers are trying to make a dif-

ference. When 27-year-old Laura Whitehurst from 

Manchester was assaulted by two male friends, 

she wanted to cancel her visit to the Glastonbury 

festival. But the festival makers made sure she 

could enjoy her stay by implementing a whole 

variety of safety measures, including a security 

letter and special access tickets. 

But how can events like music festivals become 

safer spaces for everyone? Certainly one key 

part of the answer is: awareness. Everybody, 

and especially men, need to realise that they 

have to become part of the solution – otherwise 

they will forever remain part of the problem. The 

United Nations campaign #HeForShe could be 

a leading example of how to involve men in the 

quest for gender equality. Making festivals into 

safer spaces for everyone would be one essential 

and common goal. 

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) 

offers three key messages to festivalgoers in 

order to support the idea of #saferspacesat-

festivals:

1. Zero Tolerance to Sexual Assault

2. Hands Off Unless Consent

3. Don’t Be a Bystander

This is most definitely a good start, but we 

cannot close our eyes to the fact that there is 

a pattern. From New Year’s Eve in Cologne to 

Glastonbury 2017, from Roskilde to Bråvalla, it 

sounds all too familiar: Large groups of men, 

alcohol and other drugs, and a weekend away 

from the drudgery of everyday life seem to form 

a very dangerous combination. 



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The issue will be debated also at the 

session "Women in Rap".

Robert Franken will be moderating 

the „Action NOW! The Next Steps 

for Achieving Diversity in the Music 

Industry“ panel, presented by Key-

change and VUT. For details please 

visit www.reeperbahnfestival.com.

So let’s start talking about cause and effect. 

Horrible crimes like rape and sexual assault are 

symptoms of a society that hasn’t come to terms 

with what masculinity is about – or should be 

about. This is why those men who have taken the 

right step in the right direction should become 

catalysts for change. They can influence a new 

norm: a norm of tolerance, respect and equality. 

We must start today. And we must embrace new 

concepts to trigger change. The whole music 

industry thus needs to reboot its parameters of 

success. Let’s replace toughness with empathy, 

for example. Instead of incredibly long working 

hours, we should consider job sharing models 

as an alternative. It’s also high time to support 

gender equality on and off stage. And finally: di-

versity is key. The more we bring different back-

grounds and perspectives together, the better 

the outcomes will be. 

ARE WE READY FOR

THIS?

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INTERVIEW Christian Tjaben

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SANDRA

NASIC


E YES WIDE OPEN

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As part of the “Musik Bewegt” (“Music Moves”) initiative (a 

partner organisation of this year’s conference and our “Raise 

Your Voice” meta-theme), Sandra Nasic is also raising her

voice to address political and social issues. The idea of Musik 

Bewegt is to “mobilise artists, musicians, fans, friends” to

stand up against social injustices and help eliminate them.

While preparing the live activities to celebrate 20 years

of “Proud Like a God” later this year, Sandra Nasic was kind

enough to grant us an interview.

REEPERBAHN FESTIVAL:

What moves you?

NASIC: Everything and nothing. I’d like to see 

more real progress.

REEPERBAHN FESTIVAL: Why is

it important to be involved in social 

activism as a musician?

NASIC: Music and art usually have their origins in 

the middle of society and circulate back there, too. 

Musicians are very much in the public eye; they al-

ways have a direct audience, and this means they 

might feel intrinsically somewhat closer to society 

than an anonymous board of directors at a com-

pany might. That’s why most musicians use their 

reach to do good and to send a positive signal, 

which is a great thing. I don’t think it is an artist’s 

primary task, though, to be politically active, but 

it can quickly be seen as shallow and egotistical 

if outwardly you seem to have no opinion at all.

Fronting the band Guano Apes, Sandra 

Nasic is one of the most prominent 

alternative rock musicians in Germany. Ever 

since releasing their debut album, “Proud 

Like a God”, in 1997, Nasic and the Guano 

Apes have been album chart regulars and 

live favourites. After taking a break in 2006, 

the band got back together in 2009 and 

continues to tour and release records.


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REEPERBAHN FESTIVAL: What



should musicians do to assume

their responsibility in society – 

charities, political engagement, 

artistic responses?

NASIC: There are, of course, many things that mu-

sicians, and non-musicians, can do – supporting 

Musik Bewegt, for example, or organising charity 

concerts, like the Peace by Peace festival in Berlin, 

or other similar things. A fair amount is already go-

ing on, and now megastars like Leonardo DiCaprio 

and Miley Cyrus and others are getting involved. 

Anything that helps, helps. Music can help, but 

only as much as a plaster helps a wound. The main 




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