At a meeting held yesterday (April 24) in Berlin, the executive board of Germany’s Music Industry Association (BVMI) decided to discontinue the ECHO Award, an honor that has served as one of the country’s foremost music prizes for decades.
The decision to end the awards, which have been running since 1992, comes amid an intense backlash after rappers Kollegah and Farid Bang won the ECHO for hip-hop/urban album on April 12, despite the duo having a song with explicitly anti-Semitic lyrics. At the meeting, the executive board decided that the ECHO brand has been damaged to such an extent that it requires a complete overhaul and a fresh new start.
The board began by acknowledging the ECHO’s years-long status as a top prize, as well as a key annual industry event featuring countless memorable moments and performances. In addition, the board noted that Germany -- as the third largest music market in the world -- will continue to need a creditable music award to honor the work of musicians across all genres and generations.