Pitch Perfect

Singing for Millions While Earning Millions

Source: Reuters
She's a tough act to beat in Germany these days.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    With 9 million sold albums, huge promotion contracts and sold out concerts, Helene Fischer currently is Germany’s most successful singer.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Helene Fischer has sold more than 9 million albums.
    • Ms. Fischer managed to revive Germany’s traditional Schlager music,  or German folk ballads
    • She earns millions each year through TV commercials and ad promotions.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

When Helene Fischer performs, she becomes anything her fans want her to be: sentimental, aggressive and especially sexy. She connects with each one of them.

“When I heard Helene Fischer for the first time on TV, I could not stop looking at her,” said Thomas, a construction worker attending one of her concerts. “Her singing, her charisma and her versatility fascinate me.”

Russian-born Ms. Fischer, whose real name is Elena Petrovna Fischer, has almost single handedly revived  Schlager music – traditional German folk ballads that had fallen out of fashion.

“Ms. Fischer is extremely sexy, charismatic and modern, just like a Ms. Perfect.”

Martin Lücke, Professor for music management

She has put the music back in the charts, becoming a German version of Taylor Swift or Shania Twain. She has sold more than 9 million albums and is able to fill the country’s largest stadiums with her concerts.

Not only that, Ms. Fischer is meanwhile the most googled person in Germany and with her“Helene-Fischer Show,” which has 5 million viewers, she earns her €750,000 ($900,000) per episode. She has her own perfume line, jewelry and furniture collection and magazine, and stars in a number of well-paid TV commercial and print ads, ranging from butter to hair-care products, which generate an estimated €1 million per year.

Helene Fischer performing her song "Atemlos" in front of 400.000 fans and 8 million TV viewers after the the return of the German soccer team from Brazil. Source: DPA
Helene Fischer performing her song “Atemlos” in front of the German soccer team from Brazil. Source: DPA

 

Her song “Atemlos” or “Breathless” was downloaded 10 million times on the digital music service, Spotify.

“She is the iPod of Schlager,” said Karsten Kilian, a brand strategist in Germany. “Like Apple that invented a cool, new tool to replace the Walkman, Helene Fischer has revolutionized Schlager music.”

In 2014, Ms. Fischer made about €17 million with her “Farbenspiel” or “play of colors” tour, which she will extend this year thanks to the increase in demands for tickets.

Last year, she also performed in front of 400, 000 fans in Berlin and an additional 8 million people on TV at a party welcoming Germany’s national soccer team after it won the World Cup in Brazil.

 

helene fischer at wetten dass_ BrauerPhotos - Dominik_Beckmann
Helene Fischer on a German TV show with U.S. actor Ben Stiller. Source: BrauerPhotos/Dominik Beckmann

 

Germany has not had such a popular Schlager star since the early 1960s and 1970s when stars like Udo Jürgens sold 100 million albums and Heino more than 50 million.

According to a poll by youGov, 55 percent of Germans are listening to Schlager music again, with album sales accouting for 11 percent of the market.

“With Helene Fischer, Schlager has become popular again,” said Martin Lücke said, a Berlin-based professor for music management.  “Ms. Fischer is extremely sexy, charismatic and modern –  a Ms. Perfect,” he said.

 

Source: PR
Music is just one of Ms. Fischer’s revenue streams. Source: PR

 

Ms. Fischer, born in 1984 in Siberia, came to Germany when she was 4 and attended a musical dancing school in Frankfurt. When she was 20, her mother sent off a demo tape of her singing Celine Dion’s “Power of Love” to one of Germany’s most influential producers, Uwe Kanthak, who was impressed by her voice.  He invited Ms. Fischer for a meeting and told her she should forget about pop and sing German Schlager music instead.

A year later, Ms. Fischer had her first TV appearance on “Feste der Volksmusik,” or “celebrations of folk music,” a popular show presented by the large German public broadcaster, ARD. She performed a duet with the show’s host, Florian Silbereisen, who later became her boyfriend.

“Ms. Fischer’s duet with the Florian Silbereisen was crucial for her career,” Mr. Lücke said. “It gave her the necessary media presence.”

After her TV appearance, Ms. Fischer was asked to tour with a traditional folk music festival from 2005 to 2006. Each concert show sold out.

And they continue to sell out. Her shows today end with her on top of a flying bird, hovering above her fans, singing Celine Dion’s epic ballad “My heart will go on.”


Video clip of Helene Fischer’s hit song “Atemlos durch die Nacht”.

 

Lin Freitag has experience covering the fashion industry and since January 2014 is on the management and career staff at Wirtschaftswoche Magazine. Franziska Scheven covers companies and markets at Handelsblatt Global Edition in Berlin. To contact the authors: lin.freitag@wiwo.de and f.scheven@handelsblatt.com

We hope you enjoyed this article

Make sure to sign up for our free newsletters too!