Making of a Berlin club festival, showcasing Berlin Music scenes


A radio show / podcast looking behind the scenes of Torstraßen Festival, a club festival in the Berlin district Mitte, that took place on 31st August 2013. Torstraßen Festival features mostly Berlin-based and Berlin-connected artists, and is at the same time very international. It showcases the international music scenes meeting, working and living in Berlin.

Listen to the podcast: S*P*A*R* #30 – TSF13.

Melissa Perales and Andrea Goetzke, two of the festival curators and organizers, select some of their favorite songs from the festival soundtrack.

They also talk about the discussion on Music Culture in Berlin Mitte, starting off the festival on Friday, 30 August.

And they talk about the festival overall, how it showcases international Berlin-based and -connected music scenes, how the festival involves the neighbourhood, they introduce the co-curators of the festival etc.

To learn more, reading the introductions to all festival artists, with links, videos, sound files, written by our colleague Norman Palm, is recommended.

New Music Strategies

New Music Strategies is a pan-European strategy group for music culture, creativity and development created by Andrew Dubber, Professor of Music Industries Innovation at Birmingham City University. The members of the NMS group are based in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany, and represent a wide range of expertise in the music and cultural industries.

NMS initiates ideas and projects, and work in partnership with organisations to make the most of music in response to transformative media technologies. They use their creativity, curiosity and expertise to make a difference and simplify the new music environment.

As their website states,”We work with people we like on cool projects about music and culture – and help bring more music to more people in more places.”

Some examples of the work NMS undertakes:

  • Help music businesses make strategic decisions about innovative projects.
  • Work with NGOs to use music to achieve their objectives.
  • Generate new ideas with music organisations.
  • Create information products and run workshops within existing industry events.
  • Combine our expertise to initiate innovative projects that enhance and celebrate music culture.

For more information about New Music Strategies visit their website:

Making money out of music: how can regional music economies remain successful


Tim Wall is Professor of Radio and Popular Music Studies at Birmingham City Centre. In 2007 he was commissioned by Digital Central to conduct some research into Regional Music Economies. Here Tim’s overview of his work, plus a link to a copy of the report.

Music makes money when people pay for it, and creates jobs for those who supply it. In the music industry you have a job because you add something to a stage of music production. Joining the music-makers who account for 17 per cent of employment in the music industry are retail jobs accounting for nearly one third of employees, record companies employees at about 15 per cent, and the remaining third or so in equal numbers from composition, venues, recording studios, equipment manufacture, music broadcasting, video production, and journalism. The process of getting music to people who will pay for it and then making sure they pay for it – and maybe even encouraging them a bit – involves a lot of people. And it involves a lot of technology. Estimates of how much money is actually made from music, and how many people are employed, differ considerably.

There tends to be an emphasis on recorded music and sales of records as the core source of revenue. The UK Department for Culture Media and Sport values annual revenue from music making at £5bn annually, £1.3bn of which they estimate comes in exports earnings, and suggests 130,000 are employed in the sector as artists, composers, publishers, producers, managers, agents, promoters and record company and online music entrepreneurs. By including retail, music broadcasting and journalism, recording and equipment, and entertainment venues the employment and value figure can quadruple.

There is an important line that connects small-scale local businesses to the operations of the major entertainment corporations. From the point of view of the A&R departments in the major companies, and to many of the long-term local survivors, that line is a simple one: the local gigs are where the new talent first becomes apparent; the local music managers and record companies are where they get their first big breaks; and the experience of the ‘old hands’ takes them through to the wider sales of national recognition and the major record company contract. From the point of view of the sales and marketing teams of the major companies, and the local venue and retail entrepreneurs, there is another line: the locality is where the big name stars sell their records, play a night of a national tour, or merely act as the sound track to a good night out. This isn’t a regional music economy, but one corner of a global one.

There is another regional music economy though. Most major European cities have a thriving entertainment quarter where a formerly forgotten land of warehouses and rundown commercial properties has been transformed. A few minutes watching the money pass over the till tells you music is business. And back from the bars, clubs and live venues there are small recording studios, music managers, graphic designers, and equipment hire. These clusters of small businesses have become the focus of attention for departments of state, economic development agencies and city councils. They are now officially part of the ‘Cultural Industries’, and it’s argued that it’s these businesses that can make the city more attractive to live in, that can expand in the declining, low rent areas, of the city and bring them back to life, and more fundamentally that they can make money and create jobs. They are seen as part of our post industrial future.

In the full report you can download below I explore the basics of how music can make money and create jobs in a regional economy; how global music economies work and what their implications are for regions outside a capital city; and how regional policies and strategies could both expand and sustain such a regional music economy.

At the heart of the matter are some fundamental issues about the relationship between the city, the wider region in which it sits, and the capitals of commercial culture where the major companies are based; between music culture and music commerce; and between entrepreneurial spirit and planning. Is there an economic benefit to the locality when it is the source for a new generation of international music stars? How can a local music scene be sustained if it’s simply a transit camp for the talent, and an outpost of consumption for a global entertainment industry? How can we encourage people who make a successful living out of music to make that living in our locality? How can we convert at least some of those pounds spent locally on music and entertainment into local jobs? What’s the difference between subsidising local culture and investing in its economic future? In turn I look at how music makes money and creates jobs; what constitutes a regional music economy; and music’s place in the knowledge-driven cluster economy and in urban culture. I give particular attention to how music economies have developed, and to the challenges of the new digital online music economy. The final section offers some basic conclusions for a regional music development strategy.

Download the full report Making money out of music

Andrew Dubber’s “20 Things You Must Know About Online Music”


Andrew Dubber is Professor of Music Industries Innovation at Birmingham City University. He’s a member of the Centre for Media and Cultural Research, and is Award Leader for the MA in Music Industries (which can be studied online via distance learning from anywhere in the world) and also runs the MA in Music Radio.

He is the founder of New Music Strategies, a pan-European music consultancy and strategy organisation focusing primarily on non-commercial and social projects that use music to improve lives. He is also a member of the Board of Advisors for Bandcamp. He can be found online at


His 2007 eBook, “The 20 Things You Must Know About Online Music“, has been downloaded thousands of times and has been made available in several different languages, including German, Chinese and Portuguese. The book is a prime example of how research activity at BCU is translated into practical engagement with the music industries. It’s currently being updated and incorporated into the much bigger and more comprehensive book, Music In The Digital Age.

Download the free eBook – The 20 Things You Must Know About Online Music

The origins of the Birmingham Music Archive

The Birmingham Music Archive was created by BCU’s Jez Collins and aims to celebrate and preserve the rich musical heritage of the city that gave the world Black Sabbath, UB40, Dexys Midnight Runners, Duran Duran, and many, many more,

In this short video, made for the Independent Music Innovation course developed in 2013 by BCU staff, Jez talks about his motivation for setting up Birmingham Music Archive and how the origins of the archive relate to innovation and entrepreneurship in the music industries

Independent Music Innovation – Jez Collins – Entrepreneurship and Innovation from BCMCR on Vimeo.

East Punk Memories – full documentary


“In the mid-eighties, defying local regulations that prohibited illegal filmmaking, Lucile Chaufour shot Super8 material about a group of Hungarian punks and how they were struggling under the communist regime. More than twenty years later, she returned several times to interview the same people about what it was like to be a punk in Hungary, what punk stood for back then and how it has changed since and also how they see life in Hungary before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Is this what they struggled for?”

East Punk Memories – a film by Lucile Chaufour
With Kelemen Balázs, Tóth Miklós, Mozsik Imre, Márton Attila, Papp Zoltán György, Ványi Tamás, Rupaszov Tamás, Horváth Attila, Erdős József, Vojtkó Dezső, Asztalos Ildikó, Törjék Tünde
Including music by QSS, ETA, CPG, Kretens, Aurora, Modells, Bandanas


Kavarna Rock Fest in Bulgaria

Kavarna Rock Fest is an annual event which is held in Kavarna – a small city located on the coastline of the Black Sea in Bulgaria. Every summer the organizers of Kavarna Rock Fest invite different rock groups which come and make concerts. Some of the biggest and most popular bands have already participated in the rock fest. Every year thousands of Bulgarian and foreign rock fans join in Kavarna to see their favorite bands!

Visit their website for more information

The Record Karma Cycle – Recorder interview with Gábor Vályi

The following is a translation of the original Hungarian article on Recorder, published with permission from Gábor Vályi and Recorder.


Photo from IASPM 2013 conference in Gijón (by E. Barna)

The first guest of Recorder’s LP Kollektor series features Gábor Vályi, a.k.a. as DJ Shuriken, whose doctoral dissertation is on the collective aspects of record collecting, and who runs a 2-hour radio show with DJ Keyser every Thursday from 22.00 on Tilos Radio.

Gábor Vályi is the perfect example of record collecting becoming an organising principle of one’s life: it started out as a hobby, later his love of music led him to doing the radio show, then being a DJ lended new momentum to crate digging, and as an academic he also wrote his PhD thesis on the topic, delving ever deeper into the world of shiny black records. It should be self-evident that the works of art that are album covers, the scratchy sounds, and the best sound quality provided by the trinity of record plus pickup plus a good sound system all guarantee that crate digging will continue to remain relevant – this is also evident from ever-growing vinyl sales. So let us look at a professional collector whose collection is in the tens of thousands.

‘There is a photo of me as a child staring into the world with headphones on my head. The picture obviously demonstrates that this was a characteristic childhood activity for me. At the same time I always had an inclination towards hoarding, collecting. Starting with my matchbox collection, everything was assembled in a compulsive manner’ – thus Gábor begins unfolding the foundations. His most important musical experience was Tilos Radio, then he started visiting Wave record shop [in Budapest], and competed with his secondary school friend in exploring new music after new music, both inspiring the other. ‘If I had only been buying for myself, it had been less entertaining. This way I was able to show the records to someone else’ – an important characteristic of any hobby that involves collecting.

‘In October 1995 I got a show on Tilos from 3 to 6 am. I met plenty of DJs there and I formed an interest in electronic music. It was around this time that I bought my first vinyl. The song Wilmo by Sabres Of Paradise was on MTV Chill Out, and because they didn’t have it on CD, I bought it in Underground Records on a 10’’. The other big record influence came from Belgium, where, funnily enough, I happened to be at a psychology conference, but then I quickly made friends with local rappers and chose to hang out with them instead. They only listened to vinyl and that stuck with me at the time.’

He started DJing in connection with the radio, first as a member of the Future Retro 2000 collective, together with Péter Nádori (a.k.a. DJ Parker) and Balázs Weyer (a.k.a. DJ Kretén). It was here that we began doing easy listening gigs, with mostly Hungarian dance singles. I learnt an awful lot about music from Nádori – that you had to read up on it in books, that the cultural context of this whole genre was important. This was the time when I started discovering where the samples were from. I preferred easy listening, crime jazz and similar music because they were better produced that electronic music at that time, so I began collecting these and then jazz followed and there was no way back.’ It was this mutual musical interest that brought him together with DJ Keyser: besides the radio show running up till today, they have also done live gigs and remixes together.

Initially the growth of the record collection is a natural process: ‘we began DJing, which made us some money, which one could invest. It has never earned me a living. The fact that I have hoarded this quantity is also thanks to the fact that I always had work to support myself. At the same time, that also proved an obstacle because I didn’t proceed to do music making as a career. I have had this album that I had promised ages ago and never completed. I really love my radio programme though, that helps me relax for two hours even in a bad week, and with live gigs, I can decide whether to do them or not, they are not a pressure, so record collecting has remained a nice hobby – in relation to which the quantity of accumulation is of course unrealistic.

It is undeniable that in any kind of collecting there is an element that seems to be taking over. ‘When opportunities are there, because you have money in your pocket and you are in places where you can find good records – for me these are Sixties’ and Seventies’ American jazz records, impossible to get in Budapest, well in that case it can easily happen that the buying instinct or desire gets hold of you. When I’m in America and I’m bringing 100 records back, then I’m getting into all this explanation of how much I had saved, how much cheaper they are than at home. There are these stories of me carrying the records all over New York in a trolley suitcase made in China, with the wheels coming off, my other suitcase full and I had also left two more cases of records at a friends’ place. At such moments you can sense that this is a story of obsession.

From Hungarian folk to Nineties’ drum’n’bass, from hip hop to rock, from Brazilian music to jazz, Gábor collects many different genres. His biggest collections are of American jazz albums (about 700) and Hungarian singles (about 1000). He talks about the fact that collecting only becomes difficult after a while, as it is possible to get hold of the records relating to your interest at a reasonable price category in 5-10 years, but once you have everything you come up against walls. Although nowadays almost anything can be found, ‘the internet and this “anything is available” approach has also ruined hings a little, the prices of rare records have really gone up.’

What is record collecting about? Fundamentally it is obviously about the love of music, but there is a part of it that points beyond this. ‘The excitement, the pleasure of discovery – from this point of view, the best records are those on which you don’t even find anything on the internet. It is the archaeology of urban people. You begin to look at the places you go to with different eyes. You go to a city and you don’t look for architectural sights but legendary record stores. It is not about what you have seen from the Eiffel Tower but whether you had been to the shop with one-euro records. You get to corners of the city you wouldn’t otherwise see. You learn a little bit about what kind of music the people who had lived in those places were listening to. But this is also true about individual collections.’

And finally, a very typical record collecting experience: ‘athletes dreams about the coming competition, while my dream was about a Zalatnay album that doesn’t exist in reality, but in your dream you don’t know this. Fold-out cover, you put it on and the goosebumps appear, mind-blowing funk and then you wake up.

Favourite Budapest record shops

For new releases, my favourite used to be Underground Records, for used, it is still Rockin’ Box.

Most expensive record purchased

Hungarian rarities around 10,000 HUF, I don’t buy very expensive records. 

Biggest margin

The Rubaiyat Of Dorothy Ashby and Song Of Innocence by David Axelrod. I got both of them for 1590 HUF from Rockin’ Box, they are usually over 100 dollars. I have a Moses Smith single for 100 HUF which is selling for 2-400 dollars among Northern Soul collectors on eBay. Once I got the Körössy Jancsi LP released by Qualiton at a Pécs fair for 100 HUF, now it’s around 15,000 HUF, if you see it at all.

Coolest record shop experience

There is a store specialising in singles in Philadelphia with hundreds of thousands of singles, endless corridors, as if you were in a library. Then there’s a Brooklyn cellar called The Thing, with 100,000 cheap records. But my favourite is Groove Merchant in San Francisco, which is essentially like a museum, you can learn so much there.

Record karma

If you don’t feel a record close enough to yourself, you let it back into the cycle, and new things will start coming at you.

by Endre Dömötör


DJ Shuriken on Mixcloud

DJ Shuriken on Soundcloud

New CD from the Contemporary Music Centre

We’ll be meeting with the project partners in Dublin from 19th-20th June during a busy period for the Contemporary Music Centre, the Irish partners on the project. Here’s a post from the CMC blog on one of those activities which is the launch of a new promotional CD.



The first release in CMC’s new promotional CD series new music::new Ireland will be launched at 4.30pm on 20 June at the National Concert Hall by RTÉ lyric fm presenter Bernard Clarke, following CMC’s Future of Music in the Digital World 2 conference.

The series, new music::new Ireland, aims to showcase some of the current work of Irish composers. Like CMC’s previous CD series,Contemporary Music from Ireland,new music::new Ireland inherits the range and generational representation of the earlier series, taking the listener on a journey into the vibrant world of new Irish music.

Funded by Culture Ireland, the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the release presents 11 works selected by an artistic panel from over 45 submissions in a smart new design and layout. Featured composers include Linda Buckley, Seán Clancy, Roger Doyle, Stephen Gardner, Dave Flynn, Daniel Jacobson, Deirdre McKay, Karen Power, Benedict Schlepper-Connolly, Eric Sweeney, and Ian Wilson.

The launch will feature a live performance by traditional Irish flautist Harry Bradley of an extract from one of the featured works on the CD, Dave Flynn’s The Forest of Ornaments.

Following the launch, the CD will be distributed nationally and internationally to radio stations, festivals, concert promoters, performers and universities amongst other places. A digital-only mini series, featuring works by four other composers drawn from the submissions, will also be released in the Autumn.


The Harkive Project

The Harkive Logo

The Harkive Logo

Craig Hamilton is a student/teacher who has recently joined the BCU team. His background and new Harkive project speak to some of the concepts behind the IMMIVE project.

Craig  is in the final stages of his MA Music Industries at BCU, where he is also employed as a visiting lecturer and teaches elements of the undergraduate degree program in the School of Media.

He has worked in music retail, the live music sector, digitial distribution and as a musician and songwriter during his 20-year involvement in the music industries.

Alongside his studies and teaching at BCU Craig also works as a consultant for a number of independent record labels and artists and runs the successful music blog, Rock and Roll Tedium.

The Harkive Project is his final project for his MA, following which he hopes to embark on further post-graduate study and research. This is his account of the project:

We live in exciting times. In the entire history of Popular Music fans have never had so many ways in which to consume our passion than we have right now. Technology has brought millions and millions of songs, videos, performances, as well as related items such as artwork, opinion, and information, just a click away. Armed with this technology, our music consumption habits have been changing rapidly over the last decade. We are increasingly becoming highly individualised in our listening, yet well all share a common bond in our love of noise. I’m interested in the ways we differ, and in the ways we are all the same.

It is my belief that no two people have ever listened to music in precisely the same way, and I think this is particularly, increasingly true today. Some of us may use technology or services common to many others, or we may listen to music on the same type of journeys, or in similar spaces, and for similar reasons, but each of us nevertheless creates our own, unique patchwork from what is available to us. The Harkive Project wants to find out how and why you listen to music in the way that you do, and how the devices, technologies, formats, services and time available to you are combined to create your personal listening experience.

On 9th July 2013 I will be gathering stories from music fans across the globe in order to create a unique snapshot of the many listening cultures, habits and practices that exist on that day. I want to repeat this process every year and map how these change over time. My hope is that the results of my analysis into the responses to various instances of Harkive develop into a useful, informative and interesting resource for anyone interested in Popular Music. In order for this to happen, I need your help: I’d like you to tell me your story.

You’ll be able to contribute your story in a number of ways; by writing a few words, or taking some photographs, or even recording some audio or video. You’ll also be able to contribute using Twitter, or by commenting on the Harkive Facebook page, or a number of other online and social networking services. My intention is to make contributing as easy as possible, because I want to gather as many responses as I can. The more people I hear from, the better.

If you’d like to be kept informed of developments as I build up towards Harkive 2013, please join the mailing list. Alternatively, you can follow Harkive on Twitter, or ‘Like’ the Harkive page on Facebook.

Thank you. I look forward to hearing your story.