Here's Why A German Judge Ruled 'Techno Is Music'

It might sound like the final scene of a badly-thought-out raver comedy, but Mixmag reports that a German court recently attracted plenty of attention when it went on record with the following ruling: techno is, in fact, music

Even the electronic genre's hardened sceptics — those who think the genre is just a load of R2D2-style boop-boop noises — would have a tough time arguing that the judge's ruling in this particular case is anything other than self-evident. Why did the court go through the trouble? The answer is that such a ruling will have a far greater impact on Germany's nightlife than it might first appear. 

By declaring that techno is music, and that, by extension, the mixing of techno by DJs in a live setting constitutes a form of musicianship, the court ruled that DJs "perform their own new pieces of music using instruments in the broader sense, to create new sound sequences that have their own character," according to Happy Mag. The German courts have effectively agreed that clubs deserve to be treated the same as any other concert venue. This means that German clubs will have their tax rate on ticket sales reduced to 7 percent VAT, the same rate as classical music performances, from the 19 percent VAT they paid previously. This is bittersweet news for German club owners, coming at a time when many of the country's legendary clubs find themselves on the edge of a precipice, with numerous venues struggling to survive.

Techno clubs in crisis

As with businesses around the world, Germany's beloved clubs have found themselves decimated by the impact of COVID-19 and the lockdowns that the German government has been forced to impose to control the outbreak.

Germany first entered total lockdown back in March 2020. While restrictions were partially lifted over the summer to allow many businesses to reopen, the necessity of observing social distancing means that techno venues such as Berlin's legendary Berghain (pictured, with a banner that translates as "tomorrow is the question") have been unable to open their doors to their usual crowds since the COVID-19 crisis first began. Revenue has been drying up and many venues remain viable only thanks to the German government providing millions of euros' worth of emergency grants, according to Resident Advisor

The Guardian has previously declared that Germany's famous club scene has been "producing works of cultural significance." Whether those clubs can weather the current storm and eventually take advantage of their new tax status remains to be seen.