Initiative Musik gets its official kick-off. This joint project of the German Federal Government and the music business to strengthen the German music industry is introduced for the first time during a press conference in Berlin by the German Commissioner for Culture and the Media Bernd Neumann and the Initiative Musik Supervisory Board. The shareholders are the German Society for the Administration of Neighbouring Rights (GVL) and the German Music Council.

The members of the first Supervisory Board are Herbert Begri, Mark Chung, Frank Dostal, Jörg Evers, Prof. Dieter Gorny (chair), Mike Heisel, Steffen Kampeter MdB (Member of the Bundestag), Thomas Krüger, Prof. Jens Michow, Norbert Niclauss, Carsten Schneider MdB and Bernd Weismann.


Ina Keßler becomes Initiative Musik’s managing director in spring. She takes on responsibility for setting up the main office in Berlin, which is being funded by the GVL and the German Music Authors’ Society (GEMA). Funding for the support programmes is provided from the budget of Minister of State Bernd Neumann, German Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM).

Projects supporting 61 musicians and/or bands and 10 infrastructure projects are approved in the first four funding rounds. Those receiving such support include Get Well Soon, Johannes Oerding, Bodi Bill and Super 700.

The BKM budget for 2008 sets aside 2 million euros (1 million euros each for 2007 and 2008) for the first four rounds of funding.

Initiative Musik becomes a member of the European Music Office (EMO) and also begins representing GEMA there starting in 2009. EMO, an international non-profit organisation, defends the interests of the European collecting societies and European Export Office at the European parliament in Brussels until 2013.

Initiative Musik takes part in the “China as a Future Market” project. To prepare for the Expo 2010, Initiative Musik and the Goethe Institute organise the “China and Germany – Moving Ahead Together” presentation in four large Chinese cities.




More than 200 pop-music promoters from all over Germany come to Plan! Pop, the first pop-music promoter’s conference, held in Rostock-Warnemünde in the German Federal State of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. They discuss the status of and perspectives for promoting popular music in Germany.

Henning Rümenapp becomes commissioner for the Federal Government-Federal States Cooperation (BLK). The project’s goal is to establish a forum for the responsible stakeholders in the Federal States – consisting of representatives from the ministries for economics, culture or education, departments for economic development and pop-music promotion offices.




The Short Tour Promotion export programme expands Initiative Musik’s support offerings, providing assistance to artists for international appearances. It further offers artists a unique opportunity for market entry and to further establish themselves in the target country.

Initiative Musik presents the Club Award for “Club of the Year” during the LEA – Live Entertainment Award. This national prize, endowed with 20,000 euros, is awarded until 2013. Lilo Unger and Leander Hagen accept the premiere award for SO36 in Berlin.

Initiative Musik organises the German presentation at the world’s biggest music event, South by Southwest (SXSW), in Austin, Texas, for the first time. The joint appearance under the brand “WUNDERBAR – Germany at SXSW” becomes a flagship project for the German Federal Government’s Cultural and Creative Industries Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the largest appearance by the German cultural and creative industries abroad. Numerous German Federal States also participate.


  • 163 grants: 106 x artists | 50 x tour | 7 x infrastructure
  • Projects and Memberships: BLK | Club Award PRG LEA | EMO | ETEP | Expo 2010 in Shanghai | Spielstättenporträt | WUNDERBAR – Germany at SXSW



Initiative Musik organises the first theme tour for the Federal Republic of Germany’s Visitors Programme. As part of this cooperation with Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, fifteen to twenty music journalists and experts from abroad are invited to Germany for internationally relevant pop-cultural events one or two times each year. Funding is provided from the Federal Foreign Office’s budget.

Initiative Musik publishes a Music Venue Report. Club managers in five Federal States are surveyed over a period of three months. The results are presented from the perspective of each state. Possible fields of action are developed from the overall comparisons, broken out into four levels: venues, municipalities, states and the federal level.


  • 215 grants: 108 x artists | 92 x tour | 15 x infrastructure
  • Projects and Memberships: BLK |Club Award PRG LEA | EMO | ETEP | Spielstättenporträt 2011 | 1 x theme tour visitor’s programme | WUNDERBAR – Germany at SXSW | WUNDERBAR @ MIDEM



More than 150 participants accept the invitation to the two-day Federal Expert Conference Plan! Pop 12, held in the Music Academy in Alteglofsheim, Bavaria. The conference’s focus is promoting music venues, including identifying the current needs of music clubs and discussing solutions to optimise the status quo for venues.

The Initiative Musik Music Atlas provides an overview of the structures of the music industry, musical culture and music promotion in the areas of rock, pop and jazz at both a federal and state level in Germany. The atlas was developed as part of the Federal Government-Federal States Cooperation (BLK) and is based on the data collected in this context.


  • 185 grants: 106 x artists | 64 x tour | 15 x infrastructure
  • Projects and Memberships: BLK | Club Award PRG LEA | EMO | ETEP | Plan!Pop 2012 | Showcases German Bands On Boat | 1 x theme tour visitor’s programme | WUNDERBAR – Germany at SXSW



German Haus opens its doors for the first time in Austin, Texas. The first-rate joint programme at the SXSW Conference now has its own special location for keynote talks, panels, pitches and concerts – with outstanding national and international speakers and musicians.

The first Venue Programme Rock, Pop, Jazz Prize (later known as APPLAUS) is awarded by Minister of State Bernd Neumann in Hamburg. The BKM Prize (awarded by BKM Minister of State Monika Grütters from 2014 onward) honours outstanding live-music programming. The main prizes at the premiere go to the Motorschiff Stubnitz in Rostock/Hamburg, the Haldern Pop Bar in Rees and the Berlin-based organiser collective “Eine Welt aus Hack”. Initiative Musik partners for this are the Federal Jazz Conference (Bundeskonferenz Jazz) and the Live Music Commission (LiveKomm).




German Haus at The Great Escape music conference in Brighton/Great Britain offers a special stage for five newcomer bands – Claire, Vimes, Ballet School, Still Parade and Mighty Oaks. The two-day joint programme attracts more than one thousand music professionals.

The Pop Promotion Impulse Conference held by the German Federal Government’s Cultural and Creative Industries Initiative Centre of Excellent and Initiative Musik offers German pop-music promoters a platform for knowledge exchange and networking as part of Berlin Music Week. More than fifty participants from twelve Federal States take part in workshops on export and pop-music promotion.

After the shuttering of the European Music Office, Initiative Musik passionately throw its support for the continuation of the Network of European Export Offices. After a kick-off meeting for the Eurosonic Conference, Initiative Musik organises a workshop in Berlin that lays the foundation for the later formal founding of the European Music Exporters Exchange (EMEE).




Initiative Musik and LiveKomm initiate a new joint promotion programme for digitisation of live-music clubs and venues. The BKM provides the first round of 1.5 million euros of funding based on a resolution passed by the German parliament. At the start of the next year, 216 music clubs from 15 Federal States receive first grants for converting to digital event technology.




The German Federal Government increases the funding for promoting pop music. Initiative Musik, the central platform for this, receives an addition 4.1 million euros. The additional funding is used especially for promoting artists and funding infrastructure initiatives and also for the APPLAUS music-venue prize.

Initiative Musik helps establish the Music Fund, which, starting in 2017, supports outstanding projects from all fields of contemporary music.




The Federal Government provides Initiative Musik 1 million euros for technical improvements and renovations in music clubs. Initiative Musik again works with LiveKomm to realise this programme. A total of 158 music clubs in 15 Federal States receive assistance in the first round of funding. The investments in music clubs are especially made in sound and backline equipment, direct performance technology and visual and stage tech.




Initiative Musik becomes a member of the European Music Exporters Exchange (EMEE). The network of 23 European music-export offices founds a joint non-profit organisation headquartered in Brussels. The strategic network’s goal is to increase the international dissemination of European music.

At the Music Industry Agenda conference held by the Tagesspiegel newspaper, the sixteen most important associations and institutions of the music industry meet for joint public discussions with important representatives of the Federal Government and the opposition parties. One goal of the conference is to directly communicate the industry’s specific needs to politicians and take a solutions-oriented approach while discussing how to work together to be able to create better conditions and opportunities for people making music.

We celebrate “Ten Years of Initiative Musik” in Berlin’s historic Meistersaal with more than three hundred guests from politics and culture. At this, point the organisation, which is Germany’s promotion and export office, has funded and promoted more than three thousand projects, running the gamut from pop to jazz.

The German Federal Government increases annual federal funding for Initiative Musik. It will have 13 million euros from the BKM budget at its disposal each year starting in 2019.



Since spring we‘ve expanded our public relations work with the podcast “Backstage”. In a total of eight episodes, we talk to exciting stakeholders and take a look behind the scenes of music funding.

The website got a fresh face in autumn. In addition to clear and structured information on funding programmes, export projects and events, all funded projects can now be accessed in the so-called Doku. Another unique feature is the jukebox, in which the music of all funded artists can be compiled into video playlists.

With a total of 689 grants, the Initiative Musik has once again set a record. Never before have so many artists, infrastructure projects and music clubs been supported in one year.



2020 is largely determined by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has unsettled the music industry in many respects. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Initiative Musik has been a constant advocate for the industry and has worked with industry representatives and federal politicians to develop solutions to support musicians with appropriate funding. With the support of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM), we have been able to adapt current programmes such as the Artist Grants, the Tour Grants, TE-SA and Live 100 to the needs of the applicants.

Further, we have been realising sub-programmes for the rescue and future programme NEUSTART KULTUR on behalf of the BKM since late summer, allowing us to provide support for the German live music sector. It is our task to advise the actors in the resumption of programmes in music clubs, at festivals and at concerts and to support them financially. Moreover, the Artist Grants can be adapted and increased for two NEUSTART-KULTUR rounds.

In addition, we are launching a donation programme for musicians in need, which 3,000 private individuals and companies are supporting. In the first two rounds of our aid programme, we are able to support 377 musicians and bands and their bookers with a total of 430,000 euros.

Since the beginning of October 2020, Tina Sikorski, alongside Ina Keßler, has been the managing director of the Initiative Musik. In the future, we aim to position our funding programmes and events even more prominently in the public eye and to open up new business and thematic fields. Tina Sikorski is responsible for the areas of events, export, new business and cooperation projects at the Initiative Musik.

The application phase for the German Jazz Prize 2021 starts in December.


  • NEUSTART KULTUR grants: 357 music clubs | 198 event organizers and festivals
  • ARTIST GRANTS: 824 grants, 648 of which with funds from NEUSTART KULTUR
  • MUSIC CLUBS: Clubstudie – survey completed | Live 100: grants for 215 clubs for 6,900 small concerts | TE-SA: grants for 155 music clubs
  • AWARDS: German Jazz Prize – Premiere 2021, application phase started
  • PPOJECTS : EMEE & Music Moves Europe | ETEP | Musikfonds | WANDERLUST @ Waves Vienna

2021 continues to confront the music industry with major challenges due to the ongoing Corona pandemic. In response to this situation, the funding of the Initiative Musik through NEUSTART KULTUR is temporarily increased and our team expands by more than double during this time. This enables us to help music clubs, promoters and festivals to implement live music programmes within the framework of the three NEUSTART KULTUR Live programmes, despite the difficult conditions . Thanks to the additional funds, numerous projects can be supported again in 2021 through the Artist Grants. The Tour Funding is being extended to streaming formats this year.

We use the time to further develop our export projects and the awards sector. After a year’s break, the APPLAUS can take place as a digital award ceremony this year, and the German Jazz Prize celebrates its premiere. With the founding of the academy START25, the new prize for pop music is also being kicked off.

At the beginning of the year, our donation programme enters a third round and includes touring musicians. With the ZDFkultur cooperation STAY LIVE we are able to realise a twelve-part concert and documentary series with exciting newcomers and prominent musicians. In May, we publish our Clubstudie, the first nationwide study on the situation and relevance of music venues. In cooperation with the Google Zukunftswerkstatt and YouTube, we create a customised workshop programme titled ReBoot Live to offer digital training to the players in the live music industry.



The NEUSTART KULTUR funds enable numerous music clubs, music festivals and organisers to be supported in the planning and realisation of their live music programmes. Due to the additional funds, more projects can be supported by the artist grants in 2022 than ever before. In spring, we launch our new info tour format. Together with regional partners and funded artists, we tour the federal states and present our funding programmes. Thanks to generous donations, we are able to launch an additional support programme for musicians in the summer, which focuses on musicians with disabilities.

The German Jazz Prize once again honours the national and international jazz scene. The entertaining award ceremony with a varied concert programme takes place for the first time in Bremen and as part of jazzahead! The APPLAUS is once again presented in front of an audience in 2022. The important award for organisers and music clubs is presented by the Minister of State for Culture, Claudia Roth, at the Zughafen in Erfurt.

In autumn, the supervisory board is newly appointed and expanded to 14 members.



In 2023, the Initiative Musik celebrates its 15th anniversary. The artist funding programme, which has been running since its foundation, continues to be a central and successful funding instrument for musicians in Germany. The last funding from the NEUSTART KULTUR sub-programmes are being paid out this year. At the same time, new funding programmes are being created for the live sector. With Live500, a new programme for music clubs is available from 2023 and the festival support fund is aimed at music festivals. The export programmes GO! Export and DO! Export have been successfully established alongside the international tour funding. Infrastructure funding and, in particular, cooperation with the regions will be further expanded and also integrated into the “Initiative Musik auf Tour” format.

In its third edition, the German Jazz Prize can once again assert itself as an important prize for the scene. The APPLAUS honours the important work of club operators and promoters for the tenth time. POLYTON celebrates its premiere as a new award in November. Together with the Academy for Popular Music, a platform and award for pop music will be created.

Ina Keßler and Tina Sikorski are both leaving Initiative Musik in 2023. They will be succeeded by Katja Lucker as Managing Director.


  • 736 x artist funding, 60 x infrastructure funding, 173 x international tour funding, 36 x GO! Export, 7 x DO! Export
  • Awards: 96 APPLAUS awards, 31 German Jazz Award winners, 8 POLYTON award winners
  • Export: 9 co-operations with international showcase festivals
  • Lighthouse projects: c/o pop 2023 – musichubgermany | jazzahead!/German Jazz Expo 2023 | Pop-Kultur 2023

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