Music Briefs – Neue Deutsche Welle (New German Wave)


Neue Deutsche Welle (New German Wave, as known as NDW) was a German music genre popular in the ’80s, originating from post-punk and new wave music with an electronic influence.

One of the earliest uses of the term was in a record-shop advertisement by Burkhardt Seilen in August 1979 in the issue of the West German magazine Sounds. Journalist Alfred Hilsberg then used it in an article about the movement titled Neue Deutsche Welle — Aus grauer Städte Mauern.

Musicians and fans characterized NDW as punk-rock instruments combined mainly with synthesizers, which were then coming to the market and were very interesting in price.


History of Neue Deutsche Welle

Neue Deutsche Welle consists of two major parts. The genre was mainly an underground movement with roots in British punk and new-wave music from its beginnings to 1981. Due to the unique sound and rhythm of the German language, it swiftly developed into a distinctive style. Artists like Nena and Ideal, capturing life in West Germany during the Cold War, or Spliff, Joachim Witt, and Trio, using the language in a surreal way, are distinctive genre representatives.

Around 1980 the genre gained popularity, but attention switched away from promoting current bands and toward forging new ones that were more mainstream-friendly. Bands that had nothing to do with Neue Deutsche Welle started to promote themselves as NDW, and commercialization by the music industry made the initiators of the movement frustrated. The NDW era ended around 1983–1984 due to oversaturation in the market with stereotyped, manufactured hits.


Pond5 Library Examples of Neue Deutsche Welle Music

Check out some of the examples in the Pond5 library as an inspiration for your submissions.


Submission ideas

  • Submit tracks in length between 2 and 5 minutes.
  • The tempo should be between 90 and 120 BPM.
  • German lyrics are a great advantage but don’t limit yourself to vocals.
  • Use electric guitar, the drum kit, electric bass, keyboard, and synthesizers as instruments.



  • Take advantage of the 50-keyword limit and add both broad and specific keywords. Please do not use a recognizable band or artist name!
  • We also encourage you to submit separate :15 and :30 versions of these tracks for social media use.
  • Please note you can apply tags to existing tracks in your portfolio.

Top image: Frank Elstner (3. Von Li.) Mit Band Nena 01/83 Stroe Frank Elstner by IMAGO.

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