German music prize to be abolished over anti-Semitism scandal

Updated 2018-04-26 11:39:03 Xinhua

The once prestigious Echo music prize in Germany will be abolished as a consequence of a widely-publicized anti-Semitism scandal, the Federal Association of the Music Industry (BVMI) announced on Wednesday.

BVMI issued a statement in which it said that the brand of the Echo had been damaged to a point a re-launch was necessary.

Earlier, the designation of an album by the duo "Kollegah & Farid Bang" including songs with anti-Semitic lyrics as the 2018 "hip-hop album of the year" sparked a heated public debate over growing anti-Semitism in Germany.

The choice to honor two controversial "gangster" rappers on the same day as Israel commemorated the mass-murder if Jews during World War II was met with widespread condemnation from leading policymakers and animated many former prize winners to renounce their own Echo awards in protest.

BVMI highlighted that Germany was the world's third largest national market for music and hence still needed a "recognition for artists which transgressed generational and genre boundaries". Under no circumstances, however, could such an award offer a platform to anti-Semitic, misogynistic or homophobic views, it said.

The music industry said that although it could no longer correct the mistake made at 2018 Echo, it would work to prevent any similar incidences from occurring again. The statement by the BVMI also included an apology to all of those who had been offended by the scandal.

As a first concrete step towards the establishment of a new prize, a workshop will be held in June to gather ideas from music industry representatives. Non-musical institutions will also be invited to participate in the process to help resolve the question of where the limits of free speech in musical expression should lie.

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