The hidden history of Turkish independent labels in Germany from the 1960s to the 1980s.
Text by Holger Lund.
Starting with the so-called migrant “guest workers” in the early 1960s, the largest Turkish community outside Turkey formed in Germany, growing up to three million people today. Yet, German music history is mainly written without considering Turkish music in Germany, and when it comes to Turkish record labels in Germany, they are almost totally neglected. The first German independent label to be acknowledged in the history of the German record industry is usually David Volksmund Produktion (founded in 1971) or Trikont (founded in 1972) – although it is not true. In fact, the first, largest and commercially most successful independent record company in Germany was Türküola. Founded by Yılmaz Asöcal in Cologne in 1964, Türküola released more than a thousand singles, albums and compilations by Turkish artists, selling millions of records and cassettes, primarily to the Turkish communities in Germany. And Türküola was only one of a much greater number of independent Turkish record companies in Germany with e.g. Minareci (founded in 1969) and Uzelli (founded in 1971).

As these labels had no access to the German record industry’s relevant official distribution channels (hit charts, media, stores) they had to invent their own distribution channels, with grocery stores and general stores as main selling points and Turkish newspapers as media displays. Combining perspectives from media and cultural studies as well as musicology, the discourse (or the lack of it) about these independent labels and the music linked to them will be analyzed in order to understand why the labels were blocked from the official distribution channels and why they are written out of cultural and music history until today. After nearly 60 years of Turkish music made and produced in Germany there is still no comprehensive history of Turkish music in and from Germany let alone a history of its music labels. A fact, that has to be researched, questioned and discussed.

Publication: The hidden history of Turkish independent labels