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German court declares techno to be music, giving clubs tax break

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By Euronews  with AFP
A DJ prepares her decks at a Berlin club back in March 2020
A DJ prepares her decks at a Berlin club back in March 2020   -   Copyright  AFP

Clubs across the world have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, being forced to shut their doors as authorities try to stop the virus spreading.

But there has been one development that should be music to the ears of German club owners - a court in the country has declared techno to be music, giving clubs the same tax break enjoyed by concert halls.

In a case in the Munich-based financial high court, a number of plaintiffs, including the legendary Berghain club in Berlin, argued they shouldn’t have to pay the full rate of VAT.

Clubs have been paying 19% VAT, while concert halls in Germany have enjoyed a reduced rate of 7%.

The Federal Court ruled that the reduced rate at concert halls was not necessarily due to the presence of musicians and singers, but to the primary reason the average visitor attends.

"DJs do not simply play sound carriers (composed by others), but they perform their own pieces of music using instruments in the broadest sense, to create sound sequences with their own character," the court detailed.

And it declared that even if the revenue from drinks is higher than that from entry tickets, the "clubbers" come primarily for the music.

The closure of clubs in Germany, particularly in Berlin, for more than six months now has been a disaster for the sector, with some businesses not expected to survive.

Berlin's reputation as the capital of nightlife and techno music serves as a magnet every year for tens of thousands of young tourists from all over the world.