Press release / 17 May 2024

GEMA General Assembly 2024 marked by AI and new beginnings

Re-elections to the Supervisory Board result in a membership comprising 43 percent women. Dr. Ralf Weigand remains Chairman of the Supervisory Board. Federal Minister of Justice, Dr. Marco Buschmann, talked about the importance of human creativity and his passion for music.

GEMA’s hybrid General Assembly took place from May 14-16. About 550 composers, lyricists and publishers met in Berlin to shape GEMA’s future. New CEO, Dr. Tobias Holzmüller, focused on a frank message at the main assembly: “We can be satisfied with the 2023 financial year. However, we must not rest on our laurels, but see these results as an incentive for new endeavours.” Holzmüller turned his focus to the future, speaking of his desire to organise GEMA to stay strong in international competition. “This also means”, he stressed, “that we must bid farewell to structures and processes that have developed over the years or that we have become attached to, and to intricate differentiation, if the cost of maintaining them is too high.”

“The future has already begun, and we are working intensively on its design.“ – GEMA CEO Dr. Tobias Holzmüller

All over the world the music industry is preparing for lower growth rates, reducing costs and optimising processes. GEMA is operating in a significantly more open, global and dynamic market environment than a few years ago. “Protected markets and monopolistic privileges can no longer be taken for granted. Global competition for rightsholders and for repertoire is shaping our actions”, Holzmüller explained. He concluded with a powerful message: “We can do this! We have the economic and technological requirements to master such changes. The future has already begun, and we are working intensively on its design.”

Artificial intelligence ruled the agenda

Regulation of AI in the music business is currently the most pressing political topic for GEMA and its 95,000 members. The impact and opportunities of AI kept participants occupied throughout the assembly. “AI is a topic of this century that we must get under control”, said Dr. Ralf Weigand, Chairman of the GEMA Supervisory Board, to Federal Minister of Justice, Dr. Marco Buschmann. “Politicians need to stand shoulder to shoulder with creatives so that the AI giants do not exploit us more than they already do. Music is originally created by us humans. If our property is used as raw material for profit, then someone needs to pay for that.”

“Politicians need to stand shoulder to shoulder with the creatives so that the AI giants do not exploit us more than they already do.“ – Dr. Ralf Weigand, Chairman of the GEMA supervisory board

Buschmann addressed the current changes in the music business in his guest talk: “Music is passion, creativity and performance. Digitisation is changing the music industry: Innovative technologies such as AI can support you in your creative work. At the same time, we see a disruptive change of existing business models. The AI Act manages the balance between promoting innovation and protecting the interests of entitled copyright holders. This is something we can rely on. After all, one thing is clear: Human creativity and innovative power must always be worth their while.”

Elections: Supervisory Board becomes more female

The members elected their representatives to the Supervisory Board for the next three-year term. Among the candidates for the election, women were able to outvote their male competitors. “It is wonderful that so many women stood for election and that we now have near parity, with nine women and twelve men on our governing body”, rejoices Dr. Ralf Weigand, Chairman of the Supervisory Board. He thanked the departing Board members and then addressed all the members present “I am extremely proud of our solidarity in this association. So many people, so many different personalities come together here and bring their knowhow, their time and their passion to the table. That's fantastic and gives us great strength!”

The member category of composers elected Matthias Hornschuh, Micki Meuser, Dr. Charlotte Seither, Andreas Weidinger, Dr. Ralf Weigand and Alexander Zuckowski as their representatives on the Supervisory Board, with Anna Depenbusch and Michelle Leonard as deputies. The member category of lyricists elected Frank Ramond, Tobias Reitz, Götz von Sydow and Diane Weigmann, with Katharina Franck and Anja Krabbe as deputies. The member category of publishers elected Bettina Bonengel, Dr. Götz von Einem, Jörg Fukking, Patrick Strauch and Michael Ohst, with Elisabeth Dominik and Diana Muñoz as deputies.

At its constitutional meeting following the AGM, the Supervisory Board confirmed Dr. Ralf Weigand (composer) as its Chairman. Frank Ramond (lyricist) and Dr. Götz von Einem (publisher) were (re-)elected as deputy Chairmen.

Resolutions by the General Assembly

The General Assembly adopted amendments to the GEMA rules and regulations, among them two topics that reflect different trends in the music market: Despite the vinyl boom, the market decline for audio and audiovisual recordings continues. GEMA is reacting by introducing a simplified, sustainable licensing and distribution model. 

The online market continues to gain importance. GEMA has already accounted for this by further developing its licensing models and promoting fair remuneration for musical works’ online usage. Diversity and the wide range of cultures involved in the music creation GEMA represents in the online sector, will be recognised with a new process for culture promotion in future.

GEMA members also had a lively and constructive discussion regarding the presented draft and thoughts on how to dissolve the previously strict division between “serious music” and “entertainment music” in favour of open-genre distribution and cultural promotion. The governing bodies will now further develop the presented draft, enabling GEMA members to participate extensively.    

Additional programme: Music – networking – education

A broad spectrum of additional programme items enhanced the General Assembly’s scope. As well as a songwriting camp for young artists, there were panels and workshops relating to current topics in the business: self-marketing on TikTok, mental health and sustainability on tours and at festivals. 

One highlight was the annual member party on the first evening. 800 guests celebrated their reunion in style. Joy Denalane and Max Herre received the Fred Jay Award in a gala setting. The award, endowed with 15,000 euros, honoured the duo’s work as lyric poets, which spans over a quarter of a century. Prize donor, Dr. Michael J. Jacobson, son of Fred Jay, presented the award and a laudatory speech was given by actress and musician Jasmin Tabatabai.

Further election results

Other important association committees were appointed at the meetings. Also, associate members elected their 63 delegates and 9 deputies to represent the interests of their colleagues in the professional category assemblies and the main assembly of full members over the next three years. 

In Germany, GEMA represents the copyright of over 95,000 members (composers, lyricists and music publishers), and over two million copyright owners from all around the world. It is one of the world’s largest societies for creators of musical works.

Note to media: Press material can be accessed in the digital media centre

  • Video: Speech of GEMA CEO, Dr. Tobias Holzmüller
  • Video: Guest talk by Federal Minister of Justice, Dr. Marco Buschmann
  • Resolutions overview
  • Key topic: Artificial Intelligence
  • Impressions of the meetings, member party and Fred Jay Award
  • Photo and video material for downloading

Go to media centre


Download press photos (c. Manuel Vescoli)

Dr Tobias Holzmüller, GEMA CEO
Dr Ralf Weigand, Chairman of the GEMA supervisory board
Dr Marco Buschmann, Federal Minister of Justice
Tobias Holzmüller with Marco Buschmann
Impressions from the General Assemly (1)
Impressions from the General Assemly (2)


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Ein Portrait von Ursule Goebel, Pressekontakt der GEMA.
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