The German Federal Finance Court has declared “techno ist musik”

Berghain, Berlin:  If the focus is on music, there is also a tax bonus on admission.

The high finance court in Germany has just declared that techno is music and the DJ is a musician.

The Federal Finance Court in Germany will now treat club nights like concerts for tax purposes. Clubs now have to pay only 7% tax on their ticket sales, not 19%.

The tax cuts are determined by wether “average visitor” to the event is there for the music.

  1. Entrance fees for techno and house concerts are tax-reduced in accordance with Section 12 (2) No. 7 (a) UStG if these music performances represent the actual purpose of the event and the additional services are of such minor importance that they reflect the character of the music performance not affect.
  2. The performance of techno and house music by various DJs can give an event the character of a concert or a concert-like event even if the music performances take place regularly (weekly) (continuation of the BFH judgment of August 18, 2005 – VR 50/04 , BFHE 211, 557, BStBl II 2006, 101).

Then turntables, mixing consoles and CD players can also count as instruments, at least if they are “used to perform the piece of music and not just to play a sound carrier”. The judges decided that this was the case in both cases:

“The DJs not only play sound carriers from other sources, but also perform their own new pieces of music by using instruments in the broader sense to create sequences of sounds with their own character.”

In a roundabout way, the German Federal Finance Court states: Techno is music and the DJ is a musician.

How the night can lead Cities’ recovery from Covid?

Chapter three of the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan, highlights how the pandemic presents a chance to reconfigure our cities at night for the better.

“It is time for the world to pick up the examples in this chapter and to adapt them; to create their own solutions that can be shared amongst the growing number of cities worldwide that realise that the night is not to be feared. Nightlife is in fact a shared competitive edge, a point of difference as well as a point of coherence, something woven into the very DNA of who we are.”

-Alistair Turnham (MAKE Associates),
GNRP Chapter 3 Lead

Why now?

With second-wave curfews and lockdowns proliferating across the globe, cities must urgently explore innovative ways to reopen safely in the context of COVID-19. 

As the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan (GNRP) explains, a key part of the solution can be found after dark. 

Those in the emerging field of night-centric planning, design and policy are uniquely positioned to offer alternatives to unsustainable curfews and lockdowns, or present a route out of them when appropriate. 

When space for social distance is in such high demand, urban strategies which address the temporal opportunities of the night hours can decongest valuable space and offer economic and social opportunity. 

What’s included?

GNRP Chapter 3: Innovating for Safe and Welcoming 24-Hour Cities explores case studies, challenges and possible solutions for welcoming citizens back to their cities at night, presented in three key sections:

i) The activation of our streets and urban spaces in the nocturnal hours

ii) Foregrounding the undervalued but critical role of illumination

iii) Developing more inclusive approaches to movement around our cities after dark

Ideas addressed within these sections include means of increasing access and mobility for night workers, communication campaigns and diverse offerings to entice citizens back to city centres, flexing regulations to unlock the night hours and enable business pivots, using light to create identity or encourage physical distancing – and plenty more. 

What happens next?

Whether your city is in lockdown or edging towards recovery, now is the time for urban innovation and improvement. 

The GNRP is a launch point: industry stakeholders, urban planners, academics and nightlife participants alike are encouraged to engage in this solutions-oriented global discussion, then take action within their own communities.

We invite you to…

1. Circulate the GNRP within your professional network.

2. Sign up to a Meet the Authors conference call on to discuss the chapter further and meet with its creators.

3. Determine opportunities and challenges in your city through 1:1 consultancy sessions 

4. Develop a 24-hour action plan unique to your city 

Who is behind the GNRP Chapter Three?

The GNRP project is a global collaboration of nightlife experts and advocates, led by nightlife advocacy agency VibeLab and hosted on VibeLab’s nightlife news and features platform, It aims to provide all members of the night-time ecosystem the tools and inspiration to aid their industry and city in planning and executing a responsible re-opening. 

Chapter 3 is led by Alistair Turnham (MAKE Associates) and Leni Schwendinger (International Nighttime Design Initiative).

Contributors: ElsaMarie DSilva (Red Dot Foundation) and Carlos F Pardo (, NUMO)

Interviewees: Cornelius Harris (Underground Resistance) and Dimitrios (Jim) Mastoras (Arlington County Police), Chrystel Oloukoï, PhD Candidate, Harvard University

GNRP editing and coordinating team: Michael Fichman (PennPraxis/University of Pennsylvania) , Richard Foster (Worm, Rotterdam) Lutz Leichsenring (VibeLab), Mirik Milan (VibeLab), Diana Raiselis (Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation), Andreina Seijas (Harvard University) and Jia Yuan (PennPraxis/University of Pennsylvania).

Is the pandemic fuelling internal prejudices about the night?


Germany’s Spiegel International (Translated from German) looks at Coronavirus and the Death of Nightlife as well as examining the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan, the next chapter of which will focus on how the night can lead a cities recovery from corona virus, and how to “innovate for safe and welcoming 24 hour cities”. Chapter three of the guide will be launched on Monday 2nd November.

The Dawn of the Night

The virus has put nightlife on the agenda. The “1st International Conference on Night Studies” met in Lisbon in July, albeit only virtually. There are no shortages of attempts to save nightlife, and thus cities. An initiative associated with the first “Night Mayor,” Amsterdam’s Mirik Milan, has just presented a Global Night Rescue Plan.

Marc Wohlrabe, a founder of the Berlin Club Commission and the European version Live DMA states:

“In Germany, “we always believe we can find the perfect model, but that will not be the case for nightlife. Every club has different problems. And for every club, there are different solutions.” Rent, volume, opening hours, space in the street or in the garden. For now, he says, the authorities have to be accommodating. And the club operators? “We just need a little patience. And we have to make it to the spring.”

For more information and answers to these questions head to the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan page.

And read the full Spiegel article here

C/O pop festival talk focused on: The power of creative communities. “Together we are strong”

This Friday at 12 pm, Lutz Lechsenring (Co-founder of VibeLab,, Spokesperson for Club Commission) is joined by Ronny Krieger, General Manager Europe for Patreon in Berlin, Sandria Blas, Senior Curator & Researcher at Factory Berlin and Julia Köhn from Germany’s Federal Government’s Center for the Cultural and Creative Industries, to discuss the power of creative communities.

The creative community and its relation to individual creativity and the social purpose of a creative network. Creativity is a way of living life that embraces originality and makes unique connections between seemingly disparate ideas.

The most creative people find ways around obstacles because they see them not just as roadblocks but also as opportunities. Working in a creative community makes life infinitely interesting and fulfilling. Whether we are talking about online collaboration platforms or personal interaction at the same physical location, the exchange of ideas and creations, the combination of different talents and mindsets, as well as interaction with fans and supporters can spark innovation, avoid loneliness, increase bonds and boost creative output.

The discussion will explore what is meant by the individual power to create, and the value that creative communities can add both in terms of their work and a broader social purpose.

For more info sign up here

Berlin clubbing and COVID-19: how Europe’s party capital is changing

DJ Mag takes a stroll through the heart of the clubbing capital, finding out how Berlin is facing up to the COVID-19 Pandemic in it’s own unique way.

The article takes a look at the parties outside Berghain, the exhibitions inside, the illegal rave and kink scene on the edges of Berlin, platforms such as United We Stream and HÖR radio (the new streaming hot spot that that in just one year has amassed 130,000 YouTube subscribers), as well as looking at the overriding question, how do the clubs stay alive? How do artists keep going?”

“Lutz Leichsenring is committed to this question. The 41-year-old entrepreneur campaigns on behalf for Berlin’s Club Commission. When it started 20 years ago, the Commission was the first of its kind in the world. Now, it leads the way in developing Berlin’s club culture by lobbying the different branches of Berlin’s federal system of government, and advising cities across the world on the struggles that come with legitimising night time economies.

“There were five different programs of funding for club life during COVID-19: some federal, some state,” Lutz says. One of them, Starhilfe Kultur, released €80 million from the federal government to clubs.

“This is very interesting for us because clubs are considered cultural producers.” Considering UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s recent suggestion that artists retrain due to the pandemic shutdown of the arts, the contrast between the German and British governments’ responses feel starker than ever.  

How do these funding programs work in practise? A program from the German royalty collection society, GEMA, is designed to help make physical adjustments to venues. Lutz explains: “If you want to do some construction work in your club to make it COVID-19 adaptive — like if you want to build a roof outside to make it rain-safe, or make your bar a bit wider so that people are not standing too close to each other — this program could help.”

As Lutz puts it, “you can only succeed in this crisis if the whole society collaborates.”

Read the full feature in DJ Mag

Vilnius, Lithuania: A new nightlife safety scheme that keeps bars and nightclubs open

Vilnius, Lithuania, is one of the very few European cities where “for bars and cafes there will be no curfew”.

Bars and nightclubs in Vilnius are still allowed to stay open all night after Vilnius Night Alliance successfully argued that licensed, controlled environments can be safer than the private, uncontrolled and sometimes illegal spaces where people gather if bars and nightclubs are forced to close.

With virus statistics increasing and varying wildly between cities, the national-level government recently devolved policy to municipalities, recommending a curfew for nightlife in many cities including the capital, Vilnius. The Director of the Vilnius Department of the National Public Health Centre declared that it was time for the municipality to step in and declare a curfew, because “we can’t afford the luxury” of keeping nightlife open. It was against this background that negotiations began between the City Administration, the Bars and Cafes Association, the Hotels and Restaurants Association and Vilnius Night Alliance.

Vilnius rules

  • 1m distancing in the queue and by the bar
  • Masks at all times in all places, except while sitting at a table, standing at the bar or smoking outside.
  • Drinks only by the bar or at a table, drinks not allowed on the dancefloor.
  • Dancing area should be separated from the drinking area.
  • Compulsory hand disinfection at the door, at the bar and in the toilets.
  • One-in-one-out when the venue is half-full.
  • Registration of all visitors, phone number stored 21 days, data handed to the Public Health Centre on request if a case is confirmed.
  • Customers warned only once about violations, then ejected from the premises not to return until at least the next day.
  • Daily staff healthcheck and signed journal.
  • Cleaning and disinfection compulsory.
  • Virus testing compulsory according to Public Health Centre rules.
  • Rules posters in visible places by the door, in corridors and in toilets.
  • Extra training for all staff.

Read more about the successful campaign here:

WRLDCTY is the first-of-its-kind virtual event that brings together urbanists and artists for a three-day, round-the-clock celebration of cities.

WRLDCTY, the planet’s first and largest virtual event dedicated to cities, their citizens, culture and experiences. Join WRLDCTY’s on October 22 – 24.

Could COVID prompt a reset of great urban centres around the world? How will they rebound from this pandemic, and how can we continue to support the cities we love from far away? Nightlife is going through its most turbulent times. The industry has no choice but to adapt to a new normal and reinvent itself. Leading figures from around the world will share their real-world perspectives in discussing what the future of nightlife looks like and what it needs to do to survive.

This Friday 7am EDT, (1pm CET) Mirik Milan will be joined by Ariel Palitz (NYC Office of Nightlife) in a panel moderated by Joaquim Boadas

More info on tickets and agenda here

Berlin’s first curfew in 70 years.

Berlin has re-introduced a curfew for bars in the capital, which are, from October 10 onwards, forbidden to operate between 11 PM and 6 AM.

A number of Berlin bar owners filed a complaint against the city’s new 11pm curfew for bar and restaurant owners, claiming it will kill their businesses.

“The curfew could even worsen the situation, since if all bars, restaurants and clubs close at the same time, it could lead to crowds of people, who may then move in groups to non-licensed locations,” said Lutz Leichsenring from the Berlin Club Commission.

“We need restrictions that enable economic activity instead of preventing it,” said Clemens Fuest, president of Germany‘s IfO economic institute on Monday.

If Senator Kalayci is now flippantly telling media that she intends to  ‘turn off the nightlife,’ it’s not just a slap in the face for tens of thousands of employees and artists, whose existence is at stake in this crisis. It is also a verbal attack on what has been the socio-cultural identity of this city for over 100 years,” -Lutz Leichsenring

Read the full news piece here

Safely re-engaging with nightlife and supporting the creative economy

Penn PennPraxis researchers are collaborating on the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan, which provides best practices, real-world examples, and frameworks for safe and inclusive nightlife.

Erica K. Brockmeier covers the collaborative work of the Global Nighttime Recovery plan on Penn Today.

“To support this highly-vulnerable and culturally-significant part of the economy, the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan (GNRP) provides practical guidance for safely reengaging with nightlife during the pandemic.”

“People are incredibly concerned about the economic fragility of nightlife businesses that rely on assembly because restrictions can put both capital investment and employees at risk,” says Fichman, adding that 90% of independent venues could be shuttered this year. “The amount of time and risk it takes to build a creative space was already a really Herculean task, so if we have a ‘nuclear winter’ for creative culture it could last quite some time.”

Michael Fichman, City Planner, Musician who collaborates with VibeLab as a city planning and analytics consultant on efforts such as the Creative Footprint Project

Read the full article here

Partying through the pandemic

The moral dilemma that surrounds partying during a pandemic is explored by Marcus Barnes for MixMag.

Here’s a summary of a much longer piece, where Mixmag spoke to a variety of contributors – scientists, mayors, promoters, label owners, artists, djs ad club culture “defenders” from Italy, Germany, Czech and the UK – in order to attempt to address the many issues that face our industry, and some of the criticism that has been levelled at those who have opted to play in territories where the authorities have permitted parties to happen.

“Part of the human experience is to gather with others. That makes life actually liveable for many people. It’s important that we find solutions,” Lutz says. He is hopeful that the competitive nature of the pharmaceutical industry will lead to a vaccine being rolled out by the end of the year so that the most vulnerable people among us can be protected. That way, younger people can resume their activity, albeit still with a more responsible outlook.”

“Nothing is 100 per cent safe, we’ve just got to say it. You’d have to be mad to say you don’t want any safety,” he says. “You’ve got to be reasonable and exercise judgement and implement measures according to that. But not at the risk of obliterating our cultural, economic and social lives. So we’ve got to balance it as sensible humans. That takes exercising caution, judgement, sometimes experimenting, sometimes taking a bit more risk here and there.”

Read the full feature here