How to keep the beauty of experience? „Safe Listening“ and „Music is not noise!“

Upon request of the Member States in the European Region the World Health Organisation (WHO) published in October 2018 the report “Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region”. This report goes beyond the requested scope (transportation noise sources, personal electronic devices, toys, and wind turbines), and undertook also to study a concept named “Leisure Noise”, in which they include “nightclubs… concerts or live music venues” as potentials sources for health-damaging noise. Goals are new global guidelines for a stronger decibel restriction.

LiveDMA, the European association representing more than 3000 clubs, festivals and music venues, sees this categorization of music as noise as incorrect und potentially dangerous and damaging the right for artistic freedom. Therefore LiveDMA published in summer 2019 the white paper ‚Music is not Noise‘:

Music is not only leisure or entertainment. Music is a cultural activity and is imbued with meaning. Music is understood to be a social construct, and its associated activities and rituals, including dance and storytelling, have greater value than leisure alone. Any future environmental noise regulation must safeguard the cultural rights to live music and artistic freedom. Moreover: Current technical possibilities of separating zones of loudness and silence are not part of the WHO discussion which also might lead to unnecessary regulations on issues that can easily be defused by contemporary technical measurements already.

Additional sound regulations would specifically endanger artistic freedom and diversity of certain music genres where loudness is an integral part of the artistic and cathartic process of the performance and live experience. Audiences should have the freedom to make individual informed choices to experience music without limitations, whether that be industrial techno, heavy metal, orchestral music, drone, grime, or any kind of artistic music expression.

This panel will present and discuss the different standpoints of stakeholders and what solutions could be found to balance health aspects, artistic freedom and the beauty of experience.


Kaloyan Kamenov | World Health Organisation, Hearing Programm | Geneva
Michael Kinzel | d&b audiotechnik

Artist and booker / more tba.

Moderation: Marc Wohlrabe | Clubcommission Berlin, Livekomm, LiveDMA, Stadt Nach Acht | Berlin

Language : Englisch

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