We give independent music entrepreneurs in Germany a voice. We are committed to increasing awareness and appreciation of cultural diversity, in which independent music entrepreneurs are instrumental. Our members are independent artists and their partners. They promote emerging talents and build long-term relationships with them. As an association, we aim to create fair conditions for competition and provide better market access for independent music entrepreneurs, regardless of their size. In short, our mission is: Act United – Stay Independent.
About the VUT
The Association of Independent Musicians and Music Companies (German: Verband unabhängiger Musikunternehmer*innen e. V. (VUT)) represents the interests of the independent entrepreneurs within the German music industry. Its members include, among others, around 1,200 artists who market themselves, labels, publishers, distributors and producers. Overall, independent music entrepreneurs account for a share of 35 percent of the recorded music market. Their share of annual new releases is over 80 percent, with which they make an essential contribution to the diverse cultural landscape in Germany. In addition to their willingness to innovate, VUT members are often characterised by a partnership-based understanding in a sector-based industry. VUT members often wear several hats and, for example, have their own label in addition to their own artist career.
At the regional, German, European and international level, the VUT is committed to the interests of the independent music industry, with its authors and performers at the core. As a service provider, the VUT offers its members a wide range of consulting, information and other services. These include, among others, membership and legal advice, education and training, framework agreements with service providers, discounts, the provision of sample contracts and regular industry newsletters.
In addition, the VUT's practical advice contributes to supporting and promoting the next generation of the music industry on its way into the music business world.
The association hosts the annual VIA – VUT Indie Awards, the first and only critics' awards in the independent music industry. These honour outstanding talents, away from their commercial success, and they reveal the cultural diversity of the independent music sector. Furthermore, the VUT Indie Days, Germany's largest platform for recorded music, has taken place regularly since 2013. The event is the central meeting place for the independent music industry from Germany and abroad.
- We are committed to the appreciation of music itself and in particular the recognition of the contribution of independent music entrepreneurs to a diverse cultural landscape and to intercultural work.
- We work to improve the legal, social, economic and political conditions for the benefit of self-employed, small and medium-sized music entrepreneurs, so that they can continue to invest in the development of new talent and artists in the long term. The focus of our work is the aim of providing better market access and fair competitive conditions for the industry.
- Copyright law is also a labour law and a foundation of the business for artists and is thus of central importance to us.
- We are committed to fair pay and social working conditions for artists and those working within the music industry.
- We convey knowledge about the music industry and find practical solutions for our members that are based on their work/life reality. We follow a "bottom-up" approach, meaning that our services are initially intended to benefit the smallest VUT members. We also support the international networking of our members.
- We give small and medium-sized music entrepreneurs a voice, represent their interests and are the interface between the music industry, politics, the media and society. At the same time, we are a point of contact for all topics relating to the music industry.
- We resolutely oppose racist, sexist, xenophobic and other discriminatory and contemptuous behaviour.
- The association has twelve board members elected by the members for a term of two years. Dr. Birte Wiemann (Cargo Records GmbH) is currently Chairwoman of the Board.
- The office in Berlin employs five people. In addition, Reinher Karl works as a legal advisor to the association. The office is headed by Managing Director Jörg Heidemann.
- There are also five regional groups: VUT-Nord, VUT-West, VUT-Mitte, VUT-Süd and VUT-Ost.
- There are three specialist groups within the VUT: Self-Marketers, Music Publishers (MVV) and Jazz & World Partners. Specialist group spokesperson is Petra Deka (ACT Music).
- The Music Industry Women network was formed in 2015. The network's goal is to help more women shape the music industry in the long term – including in leadership positions and as founders – and to make women more visible within the industry. The focus here is on the mentoring programme, which is carried out in cooperation with the Berlin Music Commission.
- There are a total of eight committees in the following fields: Members and Public Relations, Business and International, Regional Groups, Expert Groups, Political Communications, Music Industry Women, VIA – VUT Indie Awards and Human Resources.