German Record Critics' Prize

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German Record Critics' Prize V.
purpose Promotion of artistically and technically highest quality music productions through a music prize
Chair: Eleonore Büning
Establishment date: December 1988
Number of members: 160
Seat : Frankfurt am Main

The German Record Critics' Award (abbreviated as PdSK) is an award for high-quality sound carriers , which is given by the music critics who are members of an association of the same name and who specialize in sound carriers , regardless of the sound carrier industry .


The German Record Critics' Prize was founded in 1963 by the Bielefeld entrepreneur Richard Kaselowsky junior , whose Bielefeld publishing house published the Bielefeld catalog and the Fono Forum, among other things . At that time it was still awarded as a medal and by an independent jury of 44 record critics . The founding secretary was the Fono-Forum editor-in-chief, Hans-Otto Spingel. From 1964 to 1972 the music critic Carl-Heinz Mann was the managing secretary of the award for the Hamburger Abendblatt . In 1973 Ingo Harden took over the office, which he held until 2000.

There has always been no financial endowment associated with the award. It was awarded in Hamburg in 1963, and since 1964 in the Berlin Academy of the Arts . In the years after 1968, the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Schallplatte e. V. and the Sender Free Berlin at the award ceremony; the award has since been renamed the German Record Award . Since 1988 it has been called the German Record Critics' Prize (PdSK) again.

In the early years, the recordings of classical music from all areas, jazz , spoken word and light music from operettas to chansons were advertised, but technically and artistically high-quality productions of pop and rock music were soon awarded. After the Federal Association of the Phonographic Industry had financially supported the award from the beginning, in 1974 the newly founded German Phono Academy took over the sponsorship of the award in full. In addition to the classical music expert Ingo Harden, Peter Höhne and after him Holger Arnold acted as secretaries for pop music .

In 1979 the Phono Academy and the jurors parted ways. On the initiative of Ingo Harden and Karl Breh, the editor-in-chief of the magazine HiFi-Stereophonie , the jury became self-employed. In addition to the annual awards, the so-called “quarterly lists” were published for the first time, and since 1981 “Artist of the Year” has also been honored. Later artists and other personalities who deserved the quality of the sound carrier were given badges of honor, and since 1990 with certificates of honor.

With the support of the Phono Academy and the German High Fidelity Institute (dhfi) , in addition to the award ceremony in Hamburg in 1987, the jurors organized a congress for the first time under the title: Free, but lonely - and superfluous? The record critic: possibilities and limits of its effectiveness .

Foundation of an association

In 1988 the previous coordinator, Karl Breh, left the jury. The dhfi and the Düsseldorf trade fair company NOWEA , which was involved in the financing, withdrew from the financing. In December of the same year, the German Record Critics' Prize Association was founded in Frankfurt am Main , made up of 83 jurors and entered in the register of associations on January 13, 1989.

Joachim Matzner (chair), Ingo Harden and Michael Rieth were elected to the founding board. In 2000, Ingo Harden resigned as award secretary, as did his board colleagues Hanspeter Krellmann (first chairman since 1993) and Matthias Inhoffen. Martin Elste from the State Institute for Music Research in Berlin was chairman of the board for the following years . His successor, Lothar Prox, Professor of Media Aesthetics at the Robert Schumann University in Düsseldorf , established the award in Bonn in 2009 . On November 5, 2011, the music journalist Eleonore Büning was elected First Chair.

According to the statutes, the purpose of the association is "to promote artistically and technically highest quality audio and video carriers", in particular through "the awarding of annual prizes for outstanding publications in this field, the publication of a regularly appearing list that indicates artistically outstanding publications". Further honors can be given to personalities "who have made particular efforts to achieve the purpose of the association through artistic, technical or commercial work".

House of Culture, Weberstrasse 59a in Bonn, PdSK office until the end of 2017

Today the association has around 160 jurors in 32 fields. They view and evaluate outstanding new music and audio book productions as well as filmic music documentations - regardless of the transmission medium, be it vinyl record, compact disc, DVD or streaming. In terms of content, the 32 juries cover the entire musical spectrum, from early music to heavy metal. Also audio books , film music and special productions for children (such as radio plays and children's songs ) are observed.

The statutory seat of the association has remained in Frankfurt am Main since 1988; the office was located in the House of Culture in Bonn until the end of 2017 . At the beginning of January 2018, the PdSK moved back to Berlin. He has moved into his office in the Maison de France on Kurfürstendamm.


Every autumn, the association awards annual prizes in various categories for outstanding publications from the past twelve months. In addition, three honorary prizes are awarded annually. The judging of the annual prizes is the responsibility of an annual committee made up of critics from the serious and light music segments , which is regularly reconstituted.

From 1990 to 1997 the annual prizes were presented at the Frankfurt Music Fair , then until 2000 as part of the Beethoven Festival in Bonn . From 2001 to 2008 the annual award ceremony took place at the State Institute for Music Research in Berlin, where specialist conferences on issues relating to music education and criticism were also held. Since 2011, the award has been presented in a decentralized manner and with greater audience appeal when the honored artists perform.

In 2010 the award ceremony took place again at the Beethovenfest in Bonn. In Bonn, “Phonographic Quartets” were also on the program in a changing PdSK jury composition. Since 2011 these events have been organized under the generally understandable term “Quartet of Critics”. While the annual honorary awards are traditionally given to artists and producers in the form of a certificate, there has been an additional special award for outstanding artistic personalities since 2011. This is represented by a small sculpture by the artist Daniel Richter and was given the name Nightingale . The first recipient was the concert pianist Murray Perahia , most recently Udo Lindenberg was honored with it.

In the middle of each calendar quarter , the association also publishes lists of the best that summarize music productions that are considered to be outstanding by the juries.

Leaderboard sticker of the PdSK
Annual award sticker of the PdSK

Carriers of the quarterly and annual prices have the right to put a sticker distributed by the association on their respective sound carrier production.

Division juries of the PdSK

  • 1. Orchestral music
  • 2. Concerts
  • 3. Chamber music
  • 4. Piano music
  • 5. Harpsichord and organ music
  • 6. Opera I (up to and including Mozart)
  • 7. Opera II (from Beethoven including operetta, musical and ballet)
  • 8. Choral works with and without orchestra
  • 9. Early music vocal / instrumental (except opera)
  • 10. Classical song and vocal recital
  • 11. Classic historical recordings
  • 12. Contemporary music
  • 13. Film music (including historical recordings)
  • 14. Word and cabaret (including historical recordings)
  • 15. Skirt
  • 16. Pop
  • 17. Alternative
  • 18. Songwriter
  • 19. Folk and singer / songwriter
  • 20. Traditional ethnic music
  • 21. World music
  • 22. Jazz I (traditional & mainstream)
  • 23. Jazz II (modern, contemporary)
  • 24. Blues and related blues
  • 25. R&B, Soul & HipHop
  • 26. Child and youth recordings
  • 27. DVD E-Music: concerts and documentaries
  • 28. DVD light music, jazz etc .: concerts and documentaries
  • 29. Crossing borders
  • 30. Hard & Heavy
  • 31. Club & Dance
  • 32. Electronic & Experimental


“I think it's good and important that you have set yourself the goal of providing buyers with guidance, rewarding outstanding productions and providing an incentive for further artistically demanding productions. The names of the music critics who act as jurors speak for themselves ”, wrote the then Federal President Johannes Rau on January 15, 2003 in a greeting to the association.

The Bonner General-Anzeiger called the German Record Critics' Prize 2010 “a kind of independent TÜV for the entire sound carrier market”.


  • Martin Elste (Ed.): Excellent! Classical, jazz, rock and pop. The best CDs and LPs. 40 years German Record Critics' Prize. Henschel, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-89487-473-2
  • FOCUS presents: Excellent! The prizes of the German Record Critics 2010/11 , in: Excellent! Internationally award-winning books and authors and the prizes of the German record critics. Edition 2010/2011. Friedrichshafen 2010, pp. 95-114, ISBN 978-3-00-018837-4 ; Web resource
  • Lothar Prox: Enthusiasm as a prerequisite for selfless cultural mediation. Thirty Years of the German Record Critics' Prize. In: Folker! Vol. 13 (2010), No. 5, p. 46 f.
  • Andreas Kolb: Unexploited critic potential. Thirty Years of the German Record Critics' Prize - An Interview with Lothar Prox. In: Neue Musikzeitung , vol. 59 (2010), no. 11; Web resource

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Quoted from Martin Elste (ed.): Excellent! Classical, jazz, rock and pop - the best CDs and LPs. 40 years German Record Critics' Prize. Henschel, Berlin 2004, p. 157.
  2. annual prices. German Record Critics' Prize V., accessed on August 26, 2010 .
  3. ↑ Prizes of Honor. German Record Critics' Prize V., accessed on August 26, 2010 .
  5. Leaderboards. German Record Critics' Prize V., accessed on August 26, 2010 .
  6. cit. to Elste, excellent! , P. 6.
  7. Bernhard Hartmann: The "German Record Critics Prize" is decided in Bonn . In: Bonner General-Anzeiger, August 11, 2010.