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House and techno are music, German court declares

German courts have ruled that techno is officially music, and venues that host it should have the same reduced tax rates as concert halls.

If you’ve ever left a club, jaw swinging, pumped up by the intense, percussive music you just heard, you’re likely on team techno. But until recently, the genre didn’t come under the same banner as certain other classes of live music, according to German law.

On October 29, a top German court ruled that techno is most definitely music, after the iconic Berlin club Berghain argued that they should not have to pay a tax rate of 19% VAT, while concert venues are only taxed at a rate of 7%.

techno dj

The court found that patrons of techno or house clubs are primarily there for high-quality googs music, regardless of whether the performers were playing instruments, singing, or running a DJ set. This means the clubs are “similar to concerts” and should be treated uniformly when it comes to tax rates on ticket sales.

The courts said that techno artists “perform their own new pieces of music using instruments in the broader sense, to create new sound sequences that have their own character”.

The news comes after popular clubs in Germany such as Berghain, KitKat, Sage, and Tresor were all been forced to close during coronavirus for more than six months. There are growing fears that some of the establishments will not survive the lockdown, despite the German government’s aid, work schemes, and crowdfunding efforts.