General national economic measures
*small business relief or other financial support
*income support for employees
*income support for freelance workers
*unemployment relief for freelance workers
*tax returns and or VAT returns suspended/delayed
The government keeps the following page updated with all information on any measures taken in response to the Coronavirus crisis: https://www.deutschland.de/en/news/german-federal-government-informs-about-the-corona-crisis
Here is an overview of some of the main measures put in place since the start of the crisis:
-As an early response to the crisis, Germany put in place a €1.1 trillion coronavirus aid package.
- On 3rd June 2020, the government coalition approved another set of measures to support the most impacted by the crisis: see here.
-The government created an "economic stabilisation fund"" offering €400 billion in guarantees for companies' debts, €100 billion for lending to or taking stakes in firms, and €100 billion in support for state-owned investment bank KfW. With its firepower boosted by €357 billion, KfW was able to guarantee some €822 billion in lending.
The federal government also offered smaller firms up to €50bn in grants. The self-employed and firms with up to five employees could apply for a one-off grant of up to €9,000. Companies with up to ten employees could apply for a one-time grant of up to €15,000.
-€500 billion (Bruegel estimate) tax deferrals for businesses.
-€50 billion for bridging loans to small businesses and the self-employed.
-On 7 April 2020, the Government announced it was expanding credit assistance for small and medium-sized enterprises. The new programme "KfW Quick Loan 2020" was 100% exempt from liability.
-Freelancers could request deferments in tax payments. Companies and freelancers can also request deferments in payments to the Künstlersozialkasse (artists’ social security fund).
-In addition, freelancers and companies who suffered a loss of income because their work was banned under social distancing restrictions could apply for compensation from their local Health Office (Gesundheitsamt).
The government keeps this page updated with all information on any measures taken in response to the Coronavirus crisis.
Some examples of regional support :
€20 billion fund by the state of Bavaria to buy stakes in struggling companies (source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-germany-stimulus/germany-eyes-post-virus-stimulus-package-idUSKBN21B1EY)
€8.5 billion fund by the state of Hesse (source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-germany-stimulus/germany-eyes-post-virus-stimulus-package-idUSKBN21B1EY)
€5 billion fund by the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg to help small firms and the self-employed.
€500m emergency coronavirus package for the self-employed and small companies with a maximum of five employees. Among those it aimed to support were people working in the creative industries, the arts, education, tourism and retail. The maximum amount available per application was €5,000.
National measures specific to the music sector or to culture in general
The music sector can benefit from the above-mentioned general measures.
On top of this, specific measures were introduced for the cultural sector:
-The €50bn package mentioned above for small business, small businesses, self-employed individuals, and members of the liberal professions, included companies and individuals in the cultural sector. It included one-time payments of up to €9,000 for three months, for businesses with up to five employees; and one-time payments of up to €15,000 for three months, for businesses with up to 10 employees.
-The cultural sectors could also benefit from the new set of measures approved on 3rd June 2020:
The measures include the development of a programme ("Neustart Kultur") to mitigate the effects of the Corona pandemic in the cultural field, with an emphasis on the conservation and strengthening of the cultural infrastructure. 1bn euros was allocated to this programme, with €150m to music, including 80m specifically dedicated to events. See here. This stimulus package included a €10m increase for Initiative Musik, a programme which supports artists and was able to co-fund Creation, rehearsal & pre-production (co-funding going from 40% to 90%).
Reduction of the general VAT rates for six months from 19% to 16% (and from 7% to 5% for the cultural sectors).
Enabling the tax loss carry forward for 2020 and 2021. This was especially important for companies in the cultural and creative industries.
A program for bridging aids (25 billion euros) was set up with clubs, sponsors of youth facilities, event logistics companies being eligible.
Cultural sectors could also benefit from the extension of simplified access to basic security until 30 September 2020.
A programme for the stabilisation of charitable institutions.
Expansion of digitisation, including broadband expansion, which is important for companies in the cultural and creative industries, cultural institutions and non-profit cultural institutions in rural areas.
-On 9 June 2020, the music sector reacted to the new set of measures, welcoming the stimulus package and the set of specific measures for the cultural sector, but deploring that parts of the music industry were explicitly mentioned while others - such as labels and publishers - were not, as this failed to address the industry's complex value chain. (see here)
- Tickets for club nights were formerly levied at 19%, but were subsequently eligible for the lower rate of sales tax after being redefined as “concert-like” events by the Bundesfinanzhof (BFH).
Live performances by house and techno DJs were officially recognised as ‘concerts’ by Germany’s Federal Fiscal Court, slashing the tax paid on live electronic music events to 7%.
- November 2020: the German government announced more support for self-employed and the culture and event industry in Germany by extending bridging aid. Self-employed were to receive one-off grant of up to €5,000 which was to be paid out quickly and in an "unbureaucratic" way. More here.
-In December 2020, the government announced a €2.5bn event cancellation fund to allow event organisers to plan for the second half of 2021 without taking a financial risk posed by a potential covid outbreak (see here).
-Also in December 2020, federal funding of €4m was announced for the stationary music trade as well as manufacturers and distributors of musical instruments and equipment (see here).
-In January 2021, the German government launched a follow-up programme for Neustart Kultur, with the allocation of an additional €1bn, distributed as follows:
Pandemic investments (up to 250 million euros)
Reinforcement of cultural infrastructure (up to 480 million euros)
Alternative, also digital cultural offers (up to 150 million euros)
Compensation for pandemic input and multi-stakeholder aid in federated houses and projects (up to 100 million euros)
-In February 2021, the Federal Government topped Neustart Kultur up with another billion. This means that around 60 sub-programmes will be continued and expanded. Fifteen new programmes will be added. The focus of the funding is on assistance for artists and scholarship programmes.
The funds from the NEUSTART KULTUR aid programmes can be used until the end of 2022 and are thus effectively available to artists and creative people even in the event of further postponements.
-Self-employed and companies with a maximum of 5 employees were eligible for Berlin’s coronavirus emergency package mentioned above up to a maximum amount of €5,000 per application. Artists and small cultural businesses have applied.
-The Hamburg senate approved a range of measures to offer relief for artists and companies in creative industries. These included grants of €2,500 for freelancers and €5,000 for companies with fewer than 10 employees.
-On 6 May 2020, the German music sector issued a joint call for an emergency package of €582 million of non-repayable state aid - This figure corresponds to around 10% of expected losses across music sector as estimated via a damage report published in March.
On 26 May 2021, the Federal Cabinet established a 2.5 billion euro special fund for cultural events. The Federal Ministry of Finance and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, who also coordinates the implementation of the programme, will be responsible for it. However, the special fund will be implemented by the ministries of culture of the Länder.
The special fund consists of two components:
An economic aid for smaller events that take place with a reduced audience in compliance with Corona-related hygiene regulations of the Länder. This aid is available for events with up to 500 people (from 1 July 2021) and for events with up to 2,000 people (from 1 August 2021). By subsidising the income from ticket sales, the economic risks are to be reduced and the ability to plan events ahead improved.
The second component is a contingency cover for larger cultural events planned for the period from 1 September 2021. This concerns concerts and festivals with more than 2,000 visitors, which require a long planning lead time. In the event of corona-related cancellations, partial cancellations or postponements of events, part of the cancellation costs will be covered by the fund.
Registration for funds from the special fund has been possible since 15 June via the platform at this link: https://sonderfonds-kulturveranstaltungen.de/index.html
Covid-19 measures and restrictions in the country can be found on the government's website:
Measures taken by local collecting society organisation
-Performance rights society GEMA set up a €40m crisis fund. (see here)
-Performers/producers society GVL made advance payments to producers based on their last year pay-outs and offered to artists a one-time payment of €250.
Other music funds available
Information hub: German independent music companies association VUT keeps its Covid information page for members updated (see here).
1: Initiative Musik
Initiative Musik is Germany’s music export office, supporting rock, pop and jazz music. Its main goals include the promotion of young musical talent, the integration of musicians with immigrant backgrounds, and the dissemination of German music to foreign markets. It also bolsters music venues that significantly contribute to maintaining cultural diversity in Germany.
The German government increased the annual federal funding for Initiative Musik.
2: Music Fund e.V.
At the suggestion of the State Ministry of Culture and Media, Prof. Monika Grütter, the Musikfonds e.V. was founded in September 2016 by seven associations and institutions of musical life in Germany. The aim of the Music Fund is to promote contemporary Swiss music in all its diversity and complexity. The Music Fund aims to support outstanding projects in all fields of contemporary music with an application sum of up to 50,000 euros. A total of 1.1 million euros was made available annually for the fund from the resources of the Minister of State for Culture and Media
Business and other expected losses
-A damage report was published by the German music industry (see here) at the start of the crisis in March 2020. According to those forecasts, the rounded total amount of the loss of revenue expected if the crisis measures lasted for 6 months was:
-Clubs and small music stages
EUR 206 million
-Concert and tour organisers* and artist agents
3,653 million euros
-Small and medium-sized festivals
EUR 233 million
451 million euros
-Music publishers /Creator /GEMA
EUR 390 million
-Record producer / Artist /GVL
EUR 250 million
EUR 300 million
5,483 million euros
The full report can be downloaded here.
-A report published in April 2020 by the German government predicted turnover losses between €3.6bn and €6.2bn for the music sector alone, and between €21.7bn and €39.8bn for Germany's cultural and creative industries as a whole. (see here)