Musicboard-Berlin > About us > The Musicboard

Musicboard is a nationwide singular institution, funding pop music in new, creative ways and maintaining a dynamic discourse on pop music in Berlin. It stands for a respectful approach to diversity and content-based music funding, emphasising the positions of musicians. It’s based on the collaboration and innovation of music-makers, their communities and collectives.

What is Musicboard Berlin?

Musicboard Berlin GmbH considers itself an advocate, advisor, facilitator and accomplice of Berlin’s pop-cultural music scene. It was founded in 2013 as a joint initiative of Berlin’s music community and the state of Berlin. As the only institution of its kind in Germany, it accompanies the actions in and discourse about the city’s pop culture in all its diversity. With scholarships and residencies for artists and funding for innovative event formats, it supports the scene in close dialogue with its members.

The exploratory talks, dialogue processes and public and non-public hearings on the founding of Musicboard, which has been operating as a state-owned limited company since 2015, can be viewed transparently here (in German).

What do we do?

At every level of our work, we are concerned with supporting a diverse and multifaceted musical landscape. We act as a sympathetic ear and helping hand for the city’s vibrant scene, offering an essential contribution to the city’s cultural identity. Our tasks include promoting, advising, mediating and networking musicians, bands, events and other projects in the field of pop music. We define pop music as all genres and styles that cannot be clearly categorised as classical, new music or jazz.

Since 2017, the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe has been responsible for Musicboard.

Whom do we work with to achieve this?

Berlin continues to be a city of artists and independent scenes that need the space and resources to develop – but it is precisely these people and communities that are most exposed to structural change, displacement and precarious working conditions. That is why we are especially committed to maintaining creative freedom, improving the infrastructure and working conditions for musicians, and strengthening existing networks or even building new ones. Since our early days, we have collaborated directly with the scene and its members. At the same time, we also work with Berlin’s administrative institutions and authorities. We mediate between them and Berlin’s pop-music scene, standing by the latter as a low-threshold and solution-oriented contact.

What and whom do we support?

We support musicians and music projects in Berlin in six different funding programmes. Each programme is based on a call for concepts, which is then reviewed and evaluated by an independent jury. We offer Scholarships and Residencies in Germany and abroad that enable artists to realise creative concepts independently of economic constraints, and we make Support Tours possible and support them. The Karrieresprungbrett programme serves projects and platforms dedicated to up-and-coming musicians. Pop im Kiez and Festival Funding are both geared towards live projects in local neighbourhoods and supporting concert and discussion series, festivals and workshops that advance Berlin’s music scene and enable communal experiences in the long term. Since 2020, the Label Funding programme tailored to the needs of emerging artists has supplemented Musicboard’s funding opportunities.

We believe everyone should be able to participate in pop culture, not just passively but also in active roles to help shape it. That’s why the main objectives of our work include diversity and inclusion, an approach that also guides our funding priorities. In addition to supporting women, non-binary and queer people and BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour), we aim for a gender-equitable distribution of funding and a diverse composition of juries and committees. In addition, we as Musicboard are committed to more inclusion and accessibility on the stages and behind the scenes of Berlin’s music landscape.

POP-KULTUR FESTIVAL & FÊTE DE LA MUSIQUE

In 2015, we launched the Pop-Kultur festival to establish a discursive, diverse and inclusive space with concerts, talks, readings, films and commissioned works. Its aim is to facilitate dialogue and initiate continued discussions that go far beyond the music itself. With this in mind, Pop-Kultur Nachwuchs, a workshop and training programme for 250 emerging talents from all over the world, takes place in parallel.

Since 2018, we have been organising Fête de la Musique on the 21st of June each year, when the music scene can present itself on around a hundred public stages in all of Berlin’s districts.

Our Annual Reports

A complete overview of our work as well as all funded artists, projects and festivals within each individual funding year is provided in each respective Musicboard Annual Report, which is permanently and transparently available for download in our online archive.

Pop-Kultur Festival 2020 – 24/7 Diva Heaven (Photo: Camille Blake)
Pop-Kultur Festival 2020 – 24/7 Diva Heaven (Photo: Camille Blake)
Scholarship Alumni Meeting 2019 (Photo: Roland Owsnitzki)
Scholarship Alumni Meeting 2019 (Photo: Roland Owsnitzki)
New Year's Reception 2020 (Photo: Roland Owsnitzki)
New Year's Reception 2020 (Photo: Roland Owsnitzki)