aris Basaran (SC Booking / Head of Booking, Germany) was a speaker at Reeperbahn Festival 2017 for the session “Agent’s Agenda”.
Reeperbahn Festival: What has been the most important issue for the music (and/or entertainment) world in 2017 and what has been the best strategy to deal with it?
Basaran: I believe our newest major issue is security and safety at our events and festivals. The rising political tensions everywhere in the world are definitely causing a disharmony. The threat of terrorism, which comes with the package, is the biggest outcome and I am afraid we haven't seen the worst of it yet.
Reeperbahn Festival: What development/s will shape the music (and/or entertainment) business in 2018 and how do you think this will influence our world?
Basaran: I am sure VR (virtual reality) is going to be a thing in 2018 but I don’t expect it to go beyond being an interesting gimmick (yet).
Reeperbahn Festival: Which problem within the music (and/or entertainment) world should be solved by the time we convene again at the next Reeperbahn Festival Conference?
Basaran: We have more than one major problem draining this industry. Secondary ticketing is one problem; lack of headliners is another – and even if you find a headliner available in your tiny time window of the year then you have to be able to cover extremely high fees. Ah, and finally, of course, we shouldn’t forget the corporations/anomalies of the music business. However, I am pretty sure we will still be discussing all these matters next year.
Reeperbahn Festival: One of your areas of expertise is the eastern European market. What is your prediction about the development potential there – will the live business grow or has the number of festivals etc. already reached its limit? Which eastern European markets are stronger, which are weaker, and why is that?
Basaran: There aren’t simple answers to these questions. First of all, we have to refresh our minds by remembering the number of countries/cultures falling under the umbrella of ‘eastern Europe’. We are talking about around 20 countries. That's if we are defining eastern Europe as it is understood in the music business. Each of these countries is different. The most common thing in eastern Europe is perhaps the huge potential for growth. I would say Poland is currently the most developed music market in the eastern European market. There is no other eastern European country where you have five potential cities to bring a band to. However, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Slovenia and Latvia are my other favourite markets. I know almost all the promoters in these markets and they are doing great, great jobs despite their generally terrible governments. Yes, politics and politicians and the corruption they are creating are the biggest problem in eastern Europe. It is totally fair to say that there is still an immense amount of room in each of these countries for further development but whether this potential can be tapped or not is another discussion. My former home, Turkey, is an example of how things can dramatically go sour for an entire market in the relatively short time of six to seven years. In addition to Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria are also doing pretty badly at the moment. Basically, the conservative governments taking over everywhere in Europe are a very concerning thing for us.
Reeperbahn Festival: You have recently relocated from Turkey to Germany, not least because of difficulties doing your work in the current political climate in Turkey. Are we experiencing signs of the end of the global cultural takeover by western pop culture (as part of western world dominance) or will “our” pop culture (and its values) eventually help to lead to a new globalized world culture?
Basaran: Oh, man, ha ha, really good questions but again, the answer is super complicated and layered. I have been here in Germany for nine months now. Yes, I left Turkey because of my life philosophies and who I am and what I represent. However, I can’t say I am free of all those problems now. Living in Germany is a huge challenge for me, not because of the Germans but because of the Turkish diaspora. The Turkish community in Germany is an extension of the very same people who destroyed Turkey by supporting Erdogan . . . and they are around me now and we are in Germany and we are technically all called ‘Turkish’. I don’t think western cultural imperialism is coming to an end anytime soon and I don’t think the current dynamics and circumstances of the world will eventually lead to a globalised world culture. To do that we should first stop hating each other. This is simply a must to achieve anything on a larger scale.