TarifF information // 8 September 2023

Clarification regarding GEMA fees for Christmas markets

In the last few weeks, the press covered stories about an increase in GEMA invoices for the licensing of music at Christmas markets. Contrary to the many incorrect reports, there was no increase in licence fees for Christmas markets. Instead, changed framework conditions or incorrect information provided for the event area can be the reason for the increase in the invoices. On this page, we collated the answers to frequently asked questions.

This is how the licensing of Christmas markets works

Copyright-protected works are publicly performed at outdoor events with music. GEMA ensures that the creators are paid adequately for that. This is done by applying tariff U-ST (in German) which GEMA negotiated with the Federal Association of Music Event Organisers (BVMV) and stipulates in writing in its current version each year.

The decisive factor is the total area of the festivity

The basis for the calculation pursuant to tariff U-ST is the total event area, something the Federal Court of Justice clarified in 2011, in other words, not just the area with loudspeakers. GEMA carries out spot checks whether the area information submitted was correct.

In some cases, other tariffs may apply for Christmas markets. You can find more information in our FAQs.

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Rechenbeispiel: GEMA Gebühren für eine Adventsfeier in einer Kindertagesstätte

Die GEMA Lizenzkosten am Beispiel eines Saals von 100 m² bei freiem Eintritt im Jahr 2023. 
Im Rechenbeispiel wird deutlich, dass für die Lizenzierung einer Adventsfeier mit einem Betrag zwischen 19 EUR und 23 EUR zu rechnen ist. 
Veranstaltungen mit Live-Musik
Veranstaltungen mit Live-Musik und Tonträgern
Veranstaltungen mit Tonträgern
Tarif
U-V
U-V
M-V
GEMA Betrag
26,70 EUR
26,70 EUR
26,70 EUR
GVL-Zuschlag*
-
2,27 EUR
4,54 EUR
15% Nachlass**
-4,01 EUR
-4,01 EUR
-4,01 EUR
20% GSVT-Nachlass***
-4,54 EUR
-4,99 EUR
-5,45 EUR
7% U-ST
1,27 EUR
1,40 EUR
1,52 EUR
Gesamtbetrag
19,42 EUR
21,37 EUR
23,30 EUR
* Zuschlag für die Nutzung von Tonträgern
** Nachlass für religiöse, kulturelle oder soziale Zweckbestimmung nach § 39 Absatz 3 VGG
*** Nachlass bei einer Mitgliedschaft in einem Gesamtvertragspartner der GEMA

Frequently asked questions about the licensing of Christmas markets

Please send press enquiries to: kommunikation@gema.de.

In the past, we have licenced on the basis of the usage areas reported by customers. We relied on the correct information provided by the event organisers. In recent years, however, we have noticed significant discrepancies between the reported space and the actual event space.

Due to the equal treatment of all customers, we have taken this discrepancy into account when calculating the licence amount. This has led to such increases in licence costs in individual cases.

In the past, we have licenced on the basis of the usage areas reported by customers. We relied on the correct information provided by the event organisers. In recent years, however, we have noticed significant discrepancies between the reported space and the actual event space.

Due to the equal treatment of all customers, we have taken this discrepancy into account when calculating the licence amount. This has led to such increases in licence costs in individual cases.

When music is played at town and village festivals or at Christmas markets, whether live, from a sound carrier or a digital medium, this is a public performance of copyright-protected musical works. The German copyright law regulates that the people who composed and wrote the music must receive appropriate remuneration for it. GEMA represents this right for its more than 90,000 members (composers, lyricists, music publishers) in Germany and for more than two million rights holders worldwide.

This has many advantages for event organisers, as they can acquire the rights to almost all musical works worldwide with one licence (“world repertoire“). GEMA takes care of the processing, such as rights clearance and distribution of royalties.

City festivals, street festivals, village fairs or Christmas markets are outdoor events where music is an essential component. There is a tariff for these, as well as for all other public uses of music. The tariff for town festivals (U-ST) applies to the aforementioned outdoor events (without admission fee). 

Before the planned event takes place, the organisers must register the use of music with GEMA. This use is then licensed by GEMA. GEMA customers can also simply purchase the licence online.

It is true that there have been isolated complaints in recent weeks due to significantly increased licence costs for Christmas markets with large event areas that were licensed according to the U-ST tariff.  

In the past, we have licenced on the basis of the usage areas reported by customers. We relied on the correct information and did not carry out any checks. After the COVID-19 pandemic, during which town festivals and Christmas markets could not take place due to official closures, we started to measure the areas using tools such as “Planimeter“ and “Google Maps“. We found clear discrepancies. In order to treat all customers equally, we have taken this discrepancy into account when calculating the licence amount. As a result, there have been increases in licence costs in individual cases. We should have communicated this comprehensively. This was not done to the usual extent and we regret this. 

GEMA very quickly entered into talks with the affected customers in order to find an appropriate interim solution or to implement a solution that has already been found.

In the past, we have licenced on the basis of the usage areas reported by customers. We relied on the correct information provided by the event organisers. In recent years, however, we have noticed significant discrepancies between the reported space and the actual event space.

Due to the equal treatment of all customers, we have taken this discrepancy into account when calculating the licence amount. This has led to such increases in licence costs in individual cases.

In the past, we have licenced on the basis of the usage areas reported by customers. We relied on the correct information provided by the event organisers. In recent years, however, we have noticed significant discrepancies between the reported space and the actual event space.

Due to the equal treatment of all customers, we have taken this discrepancy into account when calculating the licence amount. This has led to such increases in licence costs in individual cases.

In the past, we have licenced on the basis of the usage areas reported by customers. We relied on the correct information provided by the event organisers. In recent years, however, we have noticed significant discrepancies between the reported space and the actual event space.

Due to the equal treatment of all customers, we have taken this discrepancy into account when calculating the licence amount. This has led to such increases in licence costs in individual cases.