"Techno is music", rules German court 

"Techno is music", rules German court 

"Techno is music", rules German court 

Techno music, the king of the German club scene, has been legally recognised as a form of music by a court in Berlin. The ruling means that techno clubs and house music venues will benefit from the same reduced taxation as concert halls.

The new ruling means a tax reduction for techno venues

The Federal Fiscal Court of Germany (BFH) has ruled that techno venues such as the well-known Berghain Club in Berlin should no longer have to pay 19 percent VAT on their ticket sales. Instead, techno venues should now be able to pay the reduced rate of 7 percent, as is the case for concert halls.

This court ruling may be surprising to many, since techno is a distinct music genre with a large global following, but the status of DJs in the music industry is controversial. Some orthodox musicians regard DJing as simply “playing tracks” rather considering DJs as composers, but the court has taken the position that the “average visitor” to a techno club attends for the musical performance, much the same as crowds attend concerts by singers or instrumentalists, and therefore should be treated the same as concert halls.

Judicial decision is well-timed given during the pandemic

Nightlife across Germany has suffered tremendously during the COIVD-19 pandemic, with lockdown measures leading to the cancellation of events and the closure of music venues across the nation, leaving many jobs at risk in the music industry. 

The tax re-evaluation will therefore come as a relief for nightlife in Germany, and will hopefully pave the way for a continuation of the booming German techno and dance music scene, even after the pandemic. 

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily studied International Relations and Chinese, and is now undertaking Master's degree in International Security. She enjoys writing, cooking, and playing piano.

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