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EU elections: associations urge live music focus

Various associations related to the music business and wider cultural sectors are urging members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and policy makers to put live music at the core of EU policy.

Live DMA, a network of European music venues, is the latest organisation to call on politicians to place higher value on music and culture in EU policy in the run up to the European elections.

The elections will take place from Thursday 23 to Sunday 26 May. The EU budget for the period of 2021 to 2027 will be voted on by a new European Parliament, after the elections have passed.

“It is vital to advocate for culture to be at the core of European policies and to pursue a dialogue between the live music sector and the policy makers,” reads the Live DMA statement.

In the statement, Live DMA says that it commits to representing “a collective voice”, providing “knowledge and expertise to policy makers” and “cooperating with partners to build a coherent cultural sector.” The network does not disclose which partners or organisations it will work with to reach these aims.

“It is vital to pursue a dialogue between the live music sector and the policy makers”

In return, Live DMA asks for the European Union to support the live music sector, to protect the diversity of music organisations – namely smaller companies and non-profits – and to facilitate the access of venues to funding and beneficial tax regimes.

The statement also calls for the renewal of support for Creative Europe, the EU’s programme for the cultural and creative sectors.

The European Music Council (EMC), of which Live DMA is a member, has also taken measures to encourage the prioritising of music- and culture-focused policy in light of the elections.

In March, live industry body Pearle* released a publication entitled On the European Stage, in which it listed priorities for EU policymakers to tackle within the live performance industry in order to improve conditions for the live sector.


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European assocs rally in support of Music Moves Europe

A who’s who of European music industry associations, including Yourope, Live DMA, Italy’s Assomusica and the newly formed Innovation Network of European Showcases, have voiced their support for Music Moves Europe, a European Parliament-backed pilot project that aims to win monetary support for a “dedicated EU music programme” in the European Union’s next funding round.

A total of 29 industry groups gathered in Brussels last week for the launch of Music Moves Europe, which has been allocated an initial budget of €1.5 million to begin the “preparatory phases for a specific law on music”, similar to the EU’s existing audiovisual guidelines, according to EU agency EURICCA.

“The European Union is focusing on music and culture, and this is where we must step in, along with the major European music associations,” says Assomusica head Vincenzo Spera, while Jens Michow, of German promoters’ association BDV, adds the pilot is the “first step towards creating a promotional programme tailored to the needs of the music industry”.

In an open letter, representatives of the 29 associations urge European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to support the introduction of a full-scale European music project after the Music Moves Europe pilot ends in 2020.

“The music sector in Europe is very dynamic and an important contributor to jobs and growth, accounting for 1m jobs and over €25bn in turnover,” it reads. “Europe is home to some of the best composers, artists, music groups, concert halls, clubs, festivals, labels, publishers, producers, engineers, streaming services, music schools, radios, etc., covering all music genres and styles. And millions of Europeans are also actively making music, be it as amateurs or professionals.

“Let’s give ourselves the means to make this one of the EU’s great success stories”

“The sector is vibrant and eager to grow, but it also faces significant challenges.

“The music ecosystem must continue to shape and adapt to a fast-changing environment. The ways we listen, record, distribute and play music are constantly evolving. With these changes comes the need to update our tools and skills. All this costs time and money.

“And of course, one of the most crucial challenges is meeting European citizens’ appetite for culture and diversity, as part of their cultural rights. It is important to ensure that the widest diversity of European music can circulate and reach its audience, and that Europe’s artists and citizens are encouraged to fully express their creative freedom.

“This preparatory action is designed to be a first step towards filling a gap in today’s EU cultural policy. The next step is a tailor-made EU music programme with a budget which is proportionate to its economic, social and cultural contribution.

“Among other things, a fully-fledged music programme would help trigger more investment in the sector, boost diversity and increase the mobility of artists and repertoire across borders.

“Let’s give ourselves the means to make this one of the EU’s great success stories.”


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INES showcase fest network to launch at Reeperbahn

The Innovation Network of European Showcases (INES), a new association of showcase festivals backed by €2​ million in EU funding, is set to launch at Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg later this month.

According to Marcus Rüssel, INES project manager and CEO of German booking start-up Gigmit, which is supporting the initiative, INES will “sustainably link the European music market through digital innovations and human relationships and strengthen them for the future. The aim is to empower the existing ties between showcase festivals in Europe and to establish new connections between musicians, music professionals and institutions in the industry.”

In addition to providing a funding and exchange programme for artists and industry professionals, the four-year project hopes to also contribute to the “digitalisation of the music industry” by recording and cataloguing all showcase performances in an online library.

Member festivals are Liverpool Sound City, Waves Vienna, Sonic Visions, Live at Heart, Spring Break, Monkey Week, Westway LAB and MENT Ljubljana (pictured), along with Gigmit.

“Working together in this way is only going to become more important in years to come”

Rebecca Ayres of Liverpool Sound City – the sole UK event – comments: “Sound City has always been about giving local artists and businesses more opportunities, both at home and abroad. Industry executives have gathered under the Sound City banner across the globe to see the best in upcoming talent, and we’ve taken artists to showcases all over the world.

“As a result, we have great relationships with our international colleagues – but this initiative will help bolster our efforts and create even more cooperation between music markets in different territories. Working together in this way is only going to become more important in years to come.”

Reeperbahn last month finalised its festival and conference agendas for 2017, announcing the dates, times and venues for all events, as well as a special conference strand – Raise Your Voice – focusing on music and political engagement ahead of the German general election on 24 September.

Reeperbahn 2017 takes place in Hamburg from 20 to 23 September.


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We are Europe takes over Sónar

We are Europe, a newly formed association of eight European music festivals, will have a major presence at Sónar in June.

Backed by the European Union’s Creative Europe programme, We Are Europe comprises c/o pop (Cologne) Elevate (Graz), Insomnia (Tromso), Nuits sonores (Lyons), Resonate (Belgrade), Reworks (Thessaloniki), TodaysArt (The Hague) and Sónar (Barcelona) and seeks to “mobilise the energy of eight European events” to support “European culture, high artistic standards, cultural innovation and creation”.

Reworks will form part of Sónar+D, Sónar’s tech/digital culture conference, and present ‘The Shock Waves of the Sonic Boom’, a debate on the differences and similarities between the electronic music markets in Europe and America. Festival director Anastasios Diolatzis will also be involved in the ‘Meet the Expert’ professional development programme.

By 2018 We are Europe hopes to have a membership of 20,000 European live music professionals reaching an audience of over a million

Music-wise, the Greek festival will present every performance on the SonarVillage stage on 18 June, including Tendts, Ison, Badbadnotgood, Ivy Lab, Nozinja,Troyboi, Section Boyz and Ed Banger House Party.

Austrian festival Elevate will host ‘Decentralise: A Journey Through the Independent Web’, hosted by American journalist and hacker Jacob Appelbaum and focusing on data privacy, blockchain and new social networks.

It will also present Kode9 and LawrenceLek performance on 17 June in the SonarHall and a talk at Sónar+D on 16 June, in which both artists will talk about their musical and technical collaboration. In addition, festival director Bernhard Steirer will, like Diolatzis, be involved in a Meet the Expert session (as will Nuits Sonores’s Pierre-Marie Oullion).

We are Europe as a whole will have its own dedicated space at the MarketLab, where it will share details about its ambitious programme: By 2018 the organisation hopes to have involved over 20,000 European live music professionals reaching an audience of a million.