German music industry bosses under fire following anti-semitism row at Echo Awards

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The German recorded music business is embroiled in controversy after its flagship awards event last week showcased a rap duo whose lyrics have caused nationwide outrage.

Battle rap duo Kollegah and Farid Bang (pictured) were awarded the Echo Award in Berlin last Thursday (April 12) for the top-selling album of 2017 .

Their LP, ‘Jung, Brutal, Gutaussehend’ (‘Young, Brutal, Good-looking’), contains lyrics that some have labelled as anti-semitic, including a reference (translated) to their muscles being “more defined than Auschwitz prisoners'”.

A further lyric on the album reads: “I’m doing another Holocaust, coming with a Molotov.”

A number of artists have now publicly returned their Echo Awards in protest, including lifetime achievement winner (and famous Beatles collaborator) Klaus Voormann.

Others to hand back their gongs include the multi-million-selling rock musician Marius Müller Westernhagen – who has returned seven Echos – plus Newcomer of the Year winner Notos Quartett.

The decision to give out the award to Kollegah and Farid Bang was criticized on stage at the Echos by Campino, lead singer of longstanding German punk band Die Toten Hosen. He received a standing ovation for his comments.

“The media are keen for a scapegoat and as sole head of the BVMI – since former chairman Dieter Gorny moved on – Florian is currently the name in the frame.”

Senior German record industry exec

The German national media is now gunning for music industry representatives.

Welt has slammed the ‘cowardly silence of the music industry’.

Bild reports that Florian Drücke, CEO of German recorded music body BVMI, is personally under fire amid the outrage from legendary German singer Peter Maffay.

Maffay has called for heads to roll at BVMI, writing (translated) on his Facebook page: “The [Echo Awards] is about money for market shares… Those responsible [for the award being presented] should leave – their [jobs can go] to credible people who guarantee the necessary transparency for the future.”

On Sunday (April 15), Drücke issued a statement in which he admitted that the decision to honour Kollegah and Farid Bang “puts the [awards] in the wrong light… that must not be without consequences”.

He said the the BVMI “rejects any kind of anti-Semitism, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia and the glorification of violence”, adding that the “wave of dismay” in the wake of the Echo Awards had “shocked… and overwhelmed us”.

Drücke pledged to begin a comprehensive overhaul of the nomination and awarding processes at the Echo, but Maffay said such promises did not go far enough.

“There’s not been a controversy as big as this in Germany since the Volkswagen diesel scandal,” one senior recorded music executive in the market told MBW today.

“The media are keen for a scapegoat and as sole head of the BVMI – since former chairman Dieter Gorny moved on – Florian is currently the name in the frame.”Music Business Worldwide

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