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Dear media representatives, dear colleagues,
Undoubtedly, there is no need to tell you anything about the importance of high-quality cultural journalism in adverse circumstances. With its new International Music Journalism Award (IMJA), the Reeperbahn Festival would like to appreciate and support all those colleagues among you who, with great passion, deal with music and the music business in spite of all adversities, and who do not leave the assessment of cultural work to algorithms and click rates. The jury has selected the winners of the International Music Journalism Awards from among 150 submitted international articles, radio shows, podcasts, TV shows and web links. This is your prize, dear colleagues – for all submitted contributions are reflections on the current landscape of popular music worth reading, watching and listening to!
Frehn Hawel

Hamburg, 4 September 2017
One look at the programme of the Reeperbahn Festival with its more than 500 concerts and over 400 artists is enough to become aware of the high complexity and immense diversity of the current international musical landscape. More than a few feel overwhelmed merely by the large number and are grateful if someone provides them with reliable hints at which band or artists must not be missed. Compared to the complete range of today’s musical landscape, the Reeperbahn Festival’s line-up is still manageable.
How then can young people who are interested in pop culture keep up to date on new bands and artists without using algorithms? How can music fans, concert goers, record buyers as well as young artists find orientation? Who detects regional and international trends, identifies the socio-cultural background or tendencies and manages to translate them in such a way that they are fit to arouse their readers‘, their audience‘s, their listeners‘ interest without losing them in the steady noise of data streams?  

The answer is obvious: Good and well-founded music journalism which deals critically with music, the music business, but also with contents and the background of young bands and artists, frequently identifying the voice of the generation in question and making it heard.  

Unfortunately, in times of high economic pressure and a dramatically changing media landscape this indisputable and indispensable quality is falling behind when it comes to adequate remuneration. That is why it is becoming less and less attractive for new journalistic talents to have a try at this professional field. At the same time, critical assessment of artistic contributions to the current musical landscape is more important than ever before!  

Reason enough for the Reeperbahn Festival to acknowledge all those colleagues who, with great passion and sharp minds, deal with popular music in spite of all adversities, and reward them with the International Music Journalism Award (IMJA) for the first time in 2017. 

After the closing deadline, the independent jury composed of experts from the media, culture and the music business, consisting of Dani Fromm (, Wolf Kampmann (author/music journalist), Melissa Perales (Music Pool Berlin, Torstraßen Festival) Frank Spilker (Die Sterne, VUT), Christian Tjaben (Reeperbahn Festival, ByteFM), Birte Wiemann (Cargo Records), met at the beginning of July to assess over 150 articles, radio shows, podcasts, TV shows and web links submitted. From among the long list of entries the jury first selected a short list of reflections on the world of popular music truly worth reading or listening to. From this list we are proud to present the winners of the first 5 categories today!   

Best Music-Journalistic Work of the Year
International: Hayden Coplen for “How Los Angeles Got Its Jazz Mojo Back“ (Gear Patrol Magazine, Issue Four, June 2017, US)
German: Hans Nieswandt for “Von Disco zu Disco” (From disco to disco) (Rolling Stone Germany, Issue 11/16, November 2016, GER)

Best Music Journalist of the Year
International: Alexis Petridis
German: Linus Volkmann  

Best music-journalistic work U 30 (German, endowed with a total of € 3,500,-)
Isabelle Klein for “Pop ist kein weißer, heterosexueller Mann“ (Pop is no white, heterosexual man) (, December 2016, GER) (with André Beyer)

Jan Kawelke for "Raps große Depression - My own worst enemy" (Raps great depression – My own worst enemy) (Juice, Issue 179, March/April 2017, GER)

Felix Unger for "Now We Can Listen To Anything – Wie sich die Musikszene in Tunis selbst entdeckt.“ (Now We Can Listen to Anything – How the Music Scene in Tunis Discovers Itself) (Spam! Musikmagazin, Issue No.2, February 2017, GER)

Best Business Music Journalist of the Year
Voting in this category will begin soon. The winner will be announced during the Reeperbahn Festival. 

As the greatest acknowledgement of these works is being read/listened to/watched we have refrained from a prize awarding ceremony with invited guests and made the award-winning contributions available to all visitors of the Reeperbahn Festival. The prize-winners in the categories Best Music Journalist and Best Business Music Journalist will be honoured during the Reeperbahn Festival Conference where the award-winners will also participate in presentations or discussions on music and media.

The Reeperbahn Festival is organised by Reeperbahn Festival GbR
and Inferno Events GmbH & Co. KG.
Neuer Pferdemarkt 1, 20359 Hamburg

PhG Reeperbahn Festival GbR: Inferno Events GmbH & Co. KG und Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion GmbH;
Gf: Alexander Schulz / U-I-Nr.: DE247756458

PhG Inferno Events GmbH & Co. KG: Inferno Events Verwaltungs GmbH;
Gf: Alexander Schulz, Detlef Schwarte / U-I-Nr.: DE 210469759
Photo: Lidija Delovska
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