Breaking: Germany abolishes ECHO award

Breaking: Germany abolishes ECHO award


norman lebrecht

April 25, 2018

The country’s leading record prize will not be given again, it has just been announced.

The decision follows an international uproar over this year’s award to a rapper duo with an Auschwitz joke.

Here’s the confirmatory tweet:



  • Petros Linardos says:

    Good riddance

  • Nik says:

    That’s one way of dealing with it.
    Case closed, nothing to see.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    That’s more or less like committing suicide instead of doing the right (difficult) thing.

    • Brettermeier says:

      Sure, but why not? The brand “Echo” is badly damaged. The sales based selection program wasn’t the best idea either. It’s not that surprising the music industry wants to keep handing out awards, so this was the logical consequence.

      All in all I think it’s a difficult matter. On the one side there’s freedom of speech. And well, “art”. Yes, their text are disgusting and offending. If that’s covered by aforementioned freedoms (I don’t know if that is the case, this being their business model and such), good for them. If not it’s up to the courts. On the other side it’s laws and ethics. As it seems, more ethics than laws this time.

      It’s like with (right)-wing extremist: As long as what they say is not against the law, they may say it. We don’t have to like it. But we should not award it, either. Therefore the selection process has to be changed. But if there are new criteria for an award, it’s not the same award anymore, is it? Thus, “suicide”.

  • Meal says:

    The complete press statement here:
    There will be a replacement for the ECHO in future. Details to be determined, they say. We will see how they will behave. I have to admit that I have the impression that they still do not understand (or are not willing to admit mistakes) that the trouble is primarily not a matter of freedom of art (and speech):
    “Gleichzeitig ist der BVMI bereits an Institutionen herangetreten, um die gesellschaftlich notwendige Debatte über die Kunstfreiheit und ihre Grenzen mitzugestalten.” (At the same time, the BVMI has already approached institutions to take part in the socially necessary debate on the freedom of the arts and its borders.)
    It is their matter which speech/art you award (and how and when).

  • Anthony Boatman says:

    Ganz gut!

  • Thomasina says:

    Is that really a good thing? They can not apologize properly and promise to make a right selection next time? They have lost all sponsors?

  • Holyfield Worthington says:

    This is not an abolishment, it’s a rebranding

    • Dave Fox says:

      Absolutely. Unless those responsible for awarding the prize are identified and ousted, then nothing has been accomplished.

      • Tom Hase says:

        The point about the Echo (in the pop categories only) was that it was based at least partly on record sales, so people could get awarded without anyone (other than the consumers) being “responsible”. As far as I understand, the idea of the new prize is to replace the Echo by a jury award (in the spirit of the Echo Klassik and Echo Jazz). While this leads to other obvious problems, at least somebody can be held responsibly for the outcome of such a jury award.

        • Mike Schachter says:

          Which seems a reasonable outcome, given that people are fond of prizes!

        • Max Grimm says:

          “The point about the Echo (in the pop categories only) was that it was based at least partly on record sales, so people could get awarded without anyone (other than the consumers) being “responsible”. “

          Not quite correct. Record/Single sales are used to ascertain the “Top 5” in a given category (that’s the consumer), then the respective chart placement (popularity and frequency of the respective album/single being broadcast on radio). After that has been established, the board of the BVMI appoints a jury consisting of “subject matter and industry experts” who cast their personal votes. Then, sales, chart placement and jury votes are used to extrapolate a winner (the jury’s vote carries enough power by the way that it can ensure that even the least commercially performing selection can win the prize).
          So really, there are those “experts” who could be held responsible but alas, their identities remain a mystery….

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Some action is better than no action. At least they’re recognizing that attempted humor about Auswitz isn’t to be rewarded. That’s a start, is it not?