BERLIN (CelebrityAccess) — The board of German music industry organization Bundesverband Musikindustrie yesterday decided to discontinue the annual Echo Music Prize in the wake of a controversy that erupted after rap artists Kollegah and Farid Bang won an Echo earlier this month despite anti-Semitic themes and lyrics in their music.
“The “ECHO” will not exist anymore,” a statement from Bundesverband Musikindustrie said following what was described as an “extraordinary” meeting in Berlin. At the meeting, board members stated that they determined the Echo brand was “so badly damaged” that it needed to be rebooted.
As a part of the refurb, all existing committees involved with the awards will “cease their activities” and the nomination and award criteria for the awards will be completely revamped and will be more in line with the Echo Klassik and Echo Jazz prizes, which operate as a pure jury prize.
Echo Klassik and Echo Jazz are also affected by the reboot and will be reworked and integrated into the new award structure, Bundesverband Musikindustrie announced.
The awards process for the Echo Music Prize played an outsized role in how Kollegah and Farid Bang were awarded the Echo for Hip Hop/Urban on April 12th. However, the fact that the prize was awarded largely based on sales figures and not artistic merit did little to deter criticism of the organization. BVM affirmed that the Echo Award should not be a vehicle for promoting anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia or violence;
News about the new format for the Echo Music Prize and its companion awards for classical music and jazz will be forthcoming, and announced after extensive deliberation, Bundesverband Musikindustrie said.
“The Executive Board will take the necessary time to make concrete changes. There will be a workshop in June to include as many ideas and expectations from the industry as possible in the redesign process, with the declared goal of designing the new prize in the interests of all artists and the entire industry,” a statement from Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
The Echo Jazz Prize, which is scheduled for May 31st in Hamburg, will proceed, but will include a smaller audience without television coverage, BVM said.