ANJA SCHNEIDER: THE YARD WOMAN

As we approach a year since the Techno capital’s clubs shut its doors in March 2020, Berghain stands silent and unoccupied. 9000 people employed in Berlin’s clubbing industry have been left with no shows. Battling the most pressing issue in the electronic music industry, Booking United wants to present the industry's endangered state, with the primary goal of permanently securing its existence. We catch up with DJ/producer, radio host & label boss Anja Schneider, who has picked up the baton taking on the role of spokesperson for Booking United.

Words: Laila McKenzie

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Taken from Faith Spring ’21 issue

When did the idea of forming Booking United start to form?

Booking United is an association run jointly by 6 people, initially built by Marcus Nisch and Juliane Kindermann in March 2020. They decided to build the association as artists and agents had absolutely no income and support. I was moved into Booking United a week later as the first speaker person for DJs/Artists. We now have 160 agencies and 3000 artists from Berlin signed up. Agencies are particularly hit hard by this storm because they have no incomes from shows. As an artist, yes I have lost a huge chunk of income from shows but I still make some money from music, agencies don't have this other income to fall back on.

Can you give us a couple of examples of the biggest artists that are signed up to Booking United?

Dixon, Chris Liebing, Paul Kalkbrenner & Ellen Allien. Dixon is really active, he did some really great interviews with big news magazines in Germany.

Can you tell us about process steps involved in forming the request for assistance from the government?

Through Booking United we create help programs to get financial assistance from the government. First of all, we talked to politicians about our job and how the events industry works. Politicians had no idea how important we are to the economy and that an artist can have at least 10 other people working on their team.

Have you received any response from the government about your requests for help ?

In March everyone got directly 5k euros. Then requesting help became a bit more complicated, we are still waiting for help promised to us in November. We are working again on the third program. We want debts insurances and other business overheads to also be paid from the financial assistance money. Some table dance clubs are getting 50k and they have nothing to do with cultural development. At the same time, politicians want us to go to work centers and they are even looking for new jobs for you, which is crazy. Sometimes I think politicians in meetings are really surprised because we have families, we are not just ravers partying all the time. It's not about having a party. It's a part of our job and life.

What's been the feedback from the people who joined Booking United? Are you finding that people are starting to get tired now?

It was quite good because we helped everyone and everyone was happy and felt they were not alone. Now people are definitely getting tired because of the lack of help, a lot of people have to look for different jobs to sustain themselves.

What's the plan now within Booking United?

At the moment, it's on a pause because we tried to get our members jobs to help with their mental health. The jobs are well-paid and better than help programs in some ways. The job program is going until the end of April. We will probably start working on the third help program next month and it takes quite a long time to approve cases. It will probably be around May, June when we get the next money. Not everyone will be able to get the third help program though, as every case has to be approved.

Respect to Booking United and the amazing Anja for pouring energy into educating the government in Berlin how important the electronic music industry is to both economy and society as

well as standing for the scene. For more information, updates to sign up as a member or donate head to

www.booking-united.org

 

We would like to wish Anja the best of luck with Booking United and let’s hope the nights in the

techno capital get noisy again very soon