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Let's Recap: "Music Cities as Ecosystems: New Strategies" panel at this year's Reeperbahn Festival

Within the panel that was held by the MCN during the Reeperbahn Festival, we discussed ‘music ecosystem’ as a holistic approach to the industry that has gained momentum in strategic planning in recent years, particularly in Europe. The approach builds on EU guidelines established in 2010, which aim to make the EU's economy and infrastructure more intelligent, inclusive, and sustainable. An ecosystem approach opens up exciting new conceptual and practical possibilities, allowing existing and new structures to be developed intelligently, inclusively, and sustainably. Music cities, in particular, serve as highly networked test laboratories for new actors and their affiliated networks.

We had the pleasure to listen to two inputs coming from Frank Kimenai from

the Center for Music Ecosystems and Prof. Dr. Carsten Winter from the Hannover University of Music, Drama & Media during the panel. Carsten provided insights on the new strategic quality of the ecosystem approach, while Frank gave input on the resilience strategy of the music ecosystem.

The ecosystem approach to music is based on the following understanding: As soon as a new active element enters an old environment it must be understood structurally rather than additionally, as the relationships of all elements change. Similar considerations and holistic approaches can be found in the theories of Marx, Weber and Schumpeter and their perspectives on new means of production, communication, and new economic developments.

Resilience, on the other hand, is an important pillar of this approach, defined as a system’s ability to deal with crises and change, while maintaining its functionality and identity. Ecological principles such as resilience can be applied to the music sector based on the understanding of music as an ecosystem. Luckily, the report Defining Resilience in Remote Music Ecosystems which is dealing with the topic of resilience in depth by our panelist Frank Kimenai has been published just now - dive in here.

In further discussion we came to the conclusion that in order to change the system we need to bring in economy and culture, as bringing these structures together can boost the seeds that are planted already. Polycentric governance systems describe a complex form of governance with multiple centers of decision making, in which each of which operates with some degree of autonomy. Promoting these systems as in understanding and using the connectivity between seemingly unconnected fields portrays the approach we are aiming for.

Are music policy makers aware of the system they are in? We as MCN see our role in advocating and supporting the discussion of these topics which we discover together to find more allies and spread the idea. We are convinced that we can create a better future together. For further information you can download the recap as PDF here and please don't hesitate to contact Lena if you have any further remarks or ideas.


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