Thursday | 05. January 2017

Legend of Live Entertainment: Promotion Pioneer Marek Lieberberg Talks Digitization of the Music Industry at Campus Berlin

Marek Lieberberg is a rockstar among his kind: worldwide, he ranks as the fifth most important concert promoter. At the age of 70, he looks back on a shining career path that includes having organized concerts with every big music star the world has had to offer within the last 40 years, as well as initiating some of the world's most successful music festivals. On December 19th, he shared his professional and personal experiences with the students of Macromedia University Berlin. The Macro-Talk was moderated by Mike Maciejewski (B.A.) and Benedetta Lepri (M.A.), supported by producer and lecturer Ditti Bürgin-Brook. Professor Dr. Brigitte Kleinselbeck initiated the event and organized it together with Benjamin Euler-Lieberberg. A report by Master student Nora Werbeck.

(Berlin) The digitization has revolutionized the music industry. Records have been replaced by files long ago, streaming portals such as Spotify and free music sharing platforms like SoundCloud have taken over the market. But one thing has not changed: even though today visitors illuminate the venues with their smartphones instead of lighters, the energy of live concerts still holds an enormous fascination for almost everyone. This is where Marek Lieberberg is at home: The 70-year old German is one of the world’s most famous concert promoters, in Europe even the most successful one. His company Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur is ranked the fifth most important agency worldwide and was recently acquired by American entertainment giant Live Nation. Since the 1970ies, Lieberberg organized countless concerts with stars such as Madonna, Pink Floyd, Britney Spears or the Rolling Stones. The question is not who he managed to bring to Germany, it is who didn’t follow his call. During the Macro-Talk on December 19th, he offered the students insights not only into his impressive career, but also into his personal experiences and judgements.  

Music Promotion in the 1970ies: Bringing Woodstock to Germany

Born and raised in a refugee camp near Frankfurt after his parents, German Jews, returned to Germany from exile in 1946, Lieberberg started his career as a singer of the German band “Mike Lee and the Sound of the Rangers” in late 1960ies. But soon enough, he wasn’t satisfied with the “fame we had around the hills of Frankfurt” anymore. Woodstock, sexual liberation, the summer of love and a revolutionary mood determined the time when he established his first own concert promotion business – without any precedential knowledge, because promotion such as today didn’t exist in the Germany of the 1960ies. But Lieberberg spotted the possibility to create a profession out of his passion for music: “I believed that festivals were a way of liberating society. Besides from that I hoped that they would be successful and I could make a living out of it”.

Revolutionizing the Promotion Business with Instinct and Passion

Being a revolutionary in the German music promotion market, he founded his own promotion company “Mama Concerts” with his friend Marcel Avram in 1970. Only month later, they managed to bring famous British band The Who to Münster in Westfalen. In 1971, Lieberberg organized “Rock am Ring” for the first time, nowadays one of the world’s biggest rock music festivals - without having any guidance, just following his gut feeling. “We didn’t know what we were doing, it was a completely new field. Nobody knew how to promote, it was learning by doing.” By doing really well, actually: Within the following decades, Lieberberg hosted concerts with every big star one could imagine. Over time, he profoundly changed the rules of the German music market. “Promoting became the means of making your music and giving it to a wider public.”

Digitization of the Music Industry: How to Get into the Business Nowadays

Having such a vivid and triumphant career path, Lieberberg is certainly qualified for giving guidance to youngsters who are thriving to get their foot into today’s music industry. Naturally, the rules in the entertainment business have changed profoundly since he started his own company - mainly due to the digitization. “Classic advertising (poster, television, radio) does not work anymore. So how do you reach your fans? That’s the question nowadays. The answer: through search machines.” But even though today technology determines huge parts of how the business is conducted, Lieberberg still speaks up for reminding oneself of its very essence: “Data wont prevent any disaster, because we are not only an industry. Our business has something that is different from other branches, and that is art. Make use of the Internet, but don’t let it determine the business."

Studying Media Management as a Base for a Successful Career in Promotion

On one hand, the digitization has complicated and diversified the music business to an extent where the threshold for newcomers to overcome in order to start a career is high. On the other hand, thanks to the professionalization of the promotion business, a proper education can equip everyone with the necessary knowledge to be successful in the media world of tomorrow. “I wish I had had a study program like your Media and Communication Management back in my time!”, admitted Lieberberg. A final advice from the expert to his eager audience: “Go, find niches and situations where you can benefit from the industry and vice versa. You bring the inspiration, that’s what the big organizations lack. That’s your chance to get in." Being open to whatever is available is essential according to Lieberberg: "Go out and experience art. Together with your studies here at Macromedia University you will find a way to reshape the business and avoid life becoming boring!”


Find out more about the study program at Macromedia University here. The photos of the Macro-Talk with Marek Lieberberg you can view on our Facebook-Page.

Worldclass promoter Marek Lieberberg talked about his experience in the life entertainment business on invitation of Prof. Dr. Brigitte Kleinselbeck who organized the the event with Bachelor and Master students from Campus Berlin.

A huge crowd of interested students from Macromedia Berlin joined the event to hear about the shining career path of Marek Lieberberg that includes having organized concerts with every big music star the world has had to offer within the last 40 years, as well as initiating some of the world's most successful music festivals Rock am Ring.

Lieberberg advised the students how to start a career in the digitalized music industry.

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