Florian Drücke: the voice of the music industry

Florian Drücke ist seit  2017 Vorstandsvorsitzender des Bundesverbandes Musikindustrie.
Florian Drücke has been Chairman of the Board of the German Music Industry Association since 2017

Of course, it was a great honor for Florian Drücke (47) to receive a knighthood from the French Minister of Culture. But the Chairman of the German Music Industry Association (BVMI) and Co-President of the Franco-German Cultural Council had one request. That the ceremony please be held in his home town of Heidelberg, instead of at the French Embassy on Pariser Platz in Berlin, as is usually the case. “I think that many things are much better and more stringent when told on a small scale. Anything else would have seemed a bit disconnected to me in that respect.”

Staying grounded and helping to shape change: Two basic motifs of Drücke’s career. He started as in-house counsel at BVMI in 2006, at a time when the music industry was in the throes of a swan song. CD revenues were plummeting, net piracy was in full bloom, the MP3 format’s copying capabilities were unleashing their full power, and many peer-to-peer sharing users hated the music industry. But 2006 was also the year Spotify was founded. It was clear to Drücke early on that a major process was getting underway here, at the end of which copyright and monetization of content would be significantly different.

Meanwhile, the music industry has reinvented itself. Audio streaming was its mainstay in 2021, accounting for 68 percent of sales. “Helping to shape the framework, leading discussions about how to get there – that’s what’s kept me involved all these years.” Particularly exciting for Drücke in this regard: The music industry always takes on a pioneering role. This is one of the reasons why fundamental issues are often discussed here, such as algorithms, filters, and liability issues.

Drücke has changed the BVMI image

As chairman of the BVMI, Drücke accompanies these processes as a representative of the music companies: “There is always translation work behind it. How can I explain what is totally difficult from a legal point of view? How can I explain how the industry works, i.e., the big picture?”. Drücke is experienced in moderating interests to be able to work out common lines. Creativity plays a major role here; Drücke draws on his deep understanding of the complicated mechanisms of the music industry in discussions. In the meantime, the association has refrained from overly aggressive campaigns against end-users, appealing more often to solidarity with artists.

Drücke is very aware that spamigation has damaged the industry’s reputation – even if it could be considered economically successful. Instead, the association is focusing more on the question of who earns money on the Internet: platform operators like Spotify, Apple, or Amazon – or the music industry and thus perhaps also the creatives? Time and again, the question arises as to who should receive what share of the revenue pie and whether algorithms ensure unfair distribution in the process. And how illegal content is regulated on platforms and by hosting providers is an ongoing issue for Drücke, even beyond the Digital Services Act.

What will he be focusing on in the future? First of all, working to ensure that the creative industries in Germany are understood as a separate branch of the economy. During the years of the pandemic crisis, he saw things moving in the right direction, especially with the k3d initiative, in which everyone from architects to magazine publishers pulled together. But a government contact person for the creative industries has still not emerged, despite all the assurances that there is an urgent need for action here.

The debate about European copyright, on the other hand, is now on the home stretch, after a run-up of twenty years. However, by opting for a special path, the previous German government made a choice that will make cooperation more difficult for partners in the European digital single market. According to Drücke, it is all the more important to communicate the next steps of innovation now to be sustainably positioned in the future. In other words, what has been his day-to-day business for just over fifteen years. Julius Schwarzwälder

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