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dear media partners, dear colleagues,

Since 2017 the Keychange initiative has been committed to achieving greater gender balance within the music industry.

Reeperbahn Festival is, alongside the UK-based PRS Foundation, co-founder of the EU-funded initiative and has been the lead partner since 2019. In addition, Reeperbahn Festival is the driving force behind the Keychange Pledge, where festivals, conferences as well as institutions and organisations in the music business aim to present gender-balanced line-ups of acts and speakers or have fair gender balance in their personnel structures by 2022. Launched in 2017, the Pledge has already gained major international prominence with over 350 festivals and organisations signed up, and is finding increasing support in almost all areas of music.

Which makes it all the more pleasing that, with “Keychange Focus Week” around the corner, from 02 to 08 November, the German music industry is upping its level of support: the Melt! festival, renowned German concert agency Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion GmbH and the Jung von Matt music agency White Horse Music GmbH have just declared their binding participation in “the Keychange Pledge”!

Frehn Hawel

Hamburg, 30 October 2020


The inaugural “Keychange Focus Week” will be held from 02 to 08 November, and centre stage is the digital conference taking place on 05 November. In addition to showcasing the latest developments, the initiative on gender equality in music, launched in 2017, will also focus on measures to implement the current goals.

Reeperbahn Festival has been the lead Keychange partner since 2019 and, with the Keychange Pledge, encourages festivals, conferences and a growing number of music organisations and institutions to have their programme line-ups and staff populated by women and under-represented genders to a level of at least 50% by 2022.

The current list of participants includes over 350 organisations from more than 40 countries, including WDR Cosmo (DEU), PRS for Music (GBR), Music & Media (FIN), Way Out West (SWE) and Oslo World (NOR). And happily now the German music market is seeing more and more participants committing to this great initiative: in addition to the MELT Festival, renowned concert agency Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion GmbH, the Jung von Matt music agency White Horse Music GmbH, Hamburg music clubs Mojo ClubNochtspeicher, Uebel & Gefährlich, the magazine Kaltblut and the agencies RaketereiArtemon Music, as well as the festivals Rocken am BrockenLunatic Festival and Whatever Happens Festival have all just signed up to participate in the Keychange Pledge! 

Nadin Lefkeli, Managing Director White Horse Music GmbH:

“Although I find it hard to comprehend, the fact is that gender equality is unfortunately still not something you can just take for granted. It takes actions like these to bring about social change. Then, hopefully, at some point there will be no question of quality not being the only criterion on which decisions are taken, regardless of gender. As long as this is not the case, we will continue to support the under-represented groups wherever possible, creating diversity in doing so.”

Ben Mitha, Managing Director Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion GmbH:

“We wholeheartedly believe that diversity and diversity are essential for our day-to-day work because good ideas are not reliant on coming from certain genders or ethnicities. For decades we have attached great importance to having a balanced gender ratio within the Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion team, and now we would like to apply this principle to an even greater degree in the organisation of our concerts and festivals. The Keychange initiative creates a growing awareness of the unequal gender balance in the music business and we hope that our participation will provide additional impetus that will further advance the shift towards more equality in the live music industry.”

Stefan Lehmkuhl, Managing Partner Goodlive GmbH:

“With Keychange, Goodlive is committed to sustainable change in the music industry, because changes in terms of gender fairness, day-to-day sexism, racism and homophobia are urgently needed here. We support the goal of gender equality not only on stage, but also behind the scenes, for example in our internal structures, workers employed from outside our company, and service providers. We are committed to this through various means. Participation of Melt festival in Keychange also triggers a rethink at Goodlive and makes us more focused on changing the industry.”

As part of the “Keychange Focus Week” digital conference on 05 November, Hadnet Tesfai will be talking to Kristina Lunz (Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy), Manuela Sayin (, Nadin Lefkeli (White Horse Music GmbH) and Christin Siegemund (foodlab) on the topic of “Women in leadership positions”. An exclusive keynote interview with musician Alin Cohen will provide an insight into the structures within the music industry, while in a supporting discussion Karin Heisecke will be talking with Christian Berg (Allbright Foundation), Alexander Schulz (CEO of the Reeperbahn Festival) and musician Antje Schomaker about the relevance of representation quotas. 

With Australian songwriter Tones And I (“Dance Monkey”) and the multiple Grammy award-winning mastering engineer Darcy Proper, two new Keychange ambassadors are also on board.

Darcy Proper, Mastering Engineer and Keychange Ambassador:

“Throughout my career, I have often been the only woman in the studio. I've focused on being the best that I can be and and have been recognised with multiple GRAMMY Awards and nominations for my efforts. I hope that by working with Keychange I can inspire others, while advocating for equal opportunities and encouraging progress towards better representation in the studio and beyond.”

The “Keychange Focus Week” digital conference will take place on 05 November from 01:30 pm to 05:00 pm CET on and the Reeperbahn Festival and Keychange Facebook Channels. The Keychange Instagram channel will keep you informed on all interesting developments during the “Keychange Focus Week”.

In addition, each year the Keychange initiative selects 74 emerging artists and music industry innovators from across Europe and Canada to participate in international festivals, conferences and an individual creative and mentoring programme. From Germany, the musicians Novaa, Ilgen-Nur and DENA as well as innovators Lina Burghausen, Chinwe Nanijuba and Lena Gingersen will participate this year.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's programme will be extended until December 2021 to allow travel the following year. Until this becomes possible again, the mentoring programmes, panels and workshops will take place digitally. 

Melanie C, musician:

“Is it ever going to be truly equal? We’ve been lagging behind for centuries. I think the important thing is that we keep trying and I have seen improvements. But it does feel like it’s not changing as quickly as should be, we just have to keep pushing.”

All information about Keychange can be found here.

Reeperbahn Festival is the lead partner for Keychange in Germany and will incorporate six international Keychange participants in the line-up and in Reeperbahn Festival Conference in 2021, as well as organising a network meeting with all 74 international participants.

Together with the PRS Foundation from the UK, the Reeperbahn Festival launched the Keychange initiative in 2017 to promote equality in the music industry. By 2024 the initiative will have supported more than 270 artists and professionals in Europe and Canada.

Keychange is supported by Germany’s Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Keychange partners are: Tallinn Music Week, Iceland Airwaves, BIME, Oslo World, Linecheck/Music Innovation Hub, Ireland Music Week, SACEM, Liverpool Sound City, Way Out West, Spring Break, MAMA, MUTEK and Breakout West.

Keychange is sponsored by: GEMA, FACTOR, Fundación SGAE, Gorwelion Horizons, IMRO, The Musicians Union, Norsk Tipping, Roskilde Festival, Smirnoff Equalising Music, SOCAN Foundation, Songtrust, SoundCloud, STEF, STIM and Talent Norge.

Keychange ambassadors are: Shirley Manson, Imogen Heap, Tony Visconti, Alexa Feser, Dermot O'Leary, Hinds, Emily Eavis, Nadine Shah, Paulette Long OBE, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, iskwē, Corinne Bailey Rae, Joy Denalane, Kate Nash, Sara Potente and Ave Tölpt, planningtorock, Carla Marie Williams, Jess Partridge, Claire Edwardes, Avtomat and Karolina Czarnecka. 





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Reeperbahn Festival is organised by
Reeperbahn Festival GmbH, Neuer Pferdemarkt 1, 20359 Hamburg
PhG: Inferno Events GmbH & Co. KG und Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion GmbH,
Gf: Alexander Schulz / U-I-Nr.: DE247756458

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