Musical work abroad

Various professional, semi-professional and amateur musicians resident in the country are active in Germany. In addition, many international artists visit Germany and participate temporarily in co-productions, projects and transnational ensembles – and, of course, musicians of all disciplines from Germany are active all over the world.
Germany is committed to implementing the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity, which recognises culture as a strategic element for national and international sustainable development at all levels (Article 13). Music is one of the most effective means of international communication and sustainable development collaboration in a globalised world.  

Principles for the exchange of cultural products and services and cultural rights are also regulated in the Convention, e.g. through co-productions and joint distribution (Article 12), for securing viable local and regional markets for independent cultural industries (Article 14) and for preferential treatment for cultural exchanges with developing countries (Article 16).

In accordance with the overall structure of the music landscape, these challenges are also accepted in Germany for musical work abroad:

The Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Government regularly commission intermediary organisations for foreign cultural work, such as the Goethe Institutes worldwide and the House of World Cultures in Berlin. In addition, numerous foreign state cultural institutes are based in Germany.

With financial support from the government, specialised and national non-profit institutions and bodies carry out the tasks of mediation, exchange and documentation of musical work abroad, e.g.:

In addition, national umbrella organisations for music have systematically organised themselves into European networks in recent years. These multinational organisations are becoming increasingly important with respect to international work in the German music sector. There are currently seven EU-accredited European networks with active German participation:


Because of the cultural federalism, international and foreign cultural work in the music sector also depends on private-sector organisations and committed partnerships with the independent cultural scene (cultural associations, festivals, agencies and music producers), which are implemented in collaboration with partners in Europe and worldwide with countries of the Global South.  

Initiative Musik gGmbH, the central funding agency for the German music industry, plays a special role as the joint promotion and export office of the music industry and the German Federal Government. Responsible bodies are the Society for the Exploitation of Performance Rights (Gesellschaft zur Verwertung von Leistungsschutzrechten (GVL)) and the German Music Council (Deutscher Musikrat (DMR)) with financial support from the GVL, GEMA, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy and the Federal Foreign Office.

Its mission is to support the presentation and dissemination of music from Germany at home and abroad, with a focus is on promoting up-and-coming musicians from Germany, musicians with migration background and live music clubs.

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