The famed Berlin venue will not shut its doors, despite a rate hike instituted by German collections agency GEMA.
Berghain/Panorama Bar, the famed Berlin techno institution, will remain open in 2013 according to an article published today in Berliner Zeitung.
It had been claimed in the media over the past few weeks that the owners of the club had stated that the space would need to close at the beginning of 2013 because of a rate hike instituted by German collections agency GEMA (this was not entirely true—though they expressed concern about the new tariffs, Berghain, in characteristically tightlipped fashion, never confirmed any plans to close or to stay open). The plan has raised ire throughout the German club community, and led to protests and a host of media coverage. Because the organization has already agreed to the terms, it looked likely that the best course of action for clubs would be to take GEMA to court in 2013 to protest the decision.
In today's article in Berliner Zeitung, however, it's revealed that the club has confirmed that it will not close at the end of the year. Further details on the club's plans are scarce at the moment, but we'll provide more news when we have it. The article goes on to state that, while the club portion of the venue will remain open, a planned expansion called Kubus—which was expected to host cultural events like classical concerts and ballet performances—will no longer go ahead.
These details arrive a few weeks after GEMA announced some modest changes to the new tariff structures, following discussions with the German Carnival Association (Bund Deutscher Karneval, or BDK). Most notably, they agreed not to enact the new tariffs until April 1st, 2013, instead of January 1st. That afterhour-threatening surcharge has been tweaked too, if ever-so-slightly: in the original plan, clubs would face a 50% rate hike whenever a party went on for more than five hours, and another 50% after eight hours. Now that hike has been reduced to 25% and won't kick in until after eight hours. There was also mention of discounts for the first five years of the new tariffs. BDK president Volker Wagner says these changes "clearly reduce the burden" of the new tariff structures. It's unclear how many club owners agree—many venues would still face a crippling financial blow under these terms, even if they arrive a few months later than expected.
Update: RA previously reported in this article that Berghain had come to "an agreement" with GEMA for 2013 and beyond. No such agreement has been reached thus far. We regret the error.