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Orgs set out ‘new European vision for touring’

A pan-European coalition of music organisations is calling on EU member states to engage in dialogue with the sector around the issue of cross-border touring.

IAO, IMPALA, FIM, EMEE, Live DMA, Liveurope and EMMA have joined forces in the wake of Spain taking over the presidency of the EU Council a few weeks ago.

The groups have written an open letter entitled A New European Vision for Touring, which puts forward potential solutions to “the long-standing issues faced by the music sector”.

“There is a need for a new vision for European touring that enhances security, co-operation and cross-border cultural exchange across the EEA, while also enhancing European culture and live experience,” say the letter. “Facilitating live shows is crucial for artists and labels who were entirely deprived of their performance revenues for more than two years with the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is also crucial for Europe’s cultural competitiveness, at a time where non-European repertoire overperforms in the region. And let’s not forget that promoting cross border tours within the EEA will also have a positive impact on sustainability in the sector.

“Improved mobility will provide greater artist engagement through new routes and slow touring  in Europe’s regions, as new opportunities will serve less pressure for tours to cover only major cities to maximise profits at the expense of high mileage. This will be vital for the music sector’s role in mitigating the current energy crisis and assisting the EU’s green transition.”

“Europe’s support of its cultural and creative sector during the pandemic was inspiring, let’s build on that to fix the long-standing issues faced by the music sector”

In order to achieve “lasting” positive change, it adds, mobility questions “should be mapped and reassessed in light of their real experiences and impact to economic and cultural competitiveness”.

“Do we need a simplified process, particularly given the lasting impact of Covid?” it continues. “What steps do we need to take to reduce red tape and boost European culture? Do we need a European cultural area and a new status for artists and cultural workers in terms of visas? The question of mobility in greater Europe is vital but understandably complex in the current climate.”

The organisations say establishing a dialogue with EU members would be a first step to tackling the main challenges of touring, which it lists as visa issues, carnets, excessive” tax burdens, future-proofing cabotage rules, funding opportunities at EU level, and obstacles for carrying musical instruments on planes.

“Our call asks for the continuation of initiatives that have already proved essential to the sector, namely: the opportunity for the European Commission to launch studies within the Culture Council work programme which helped further knowledge and understanding of the music sector, its needs and challenges,” adds the letter. “We also recommend that the topic of mobility is added to the next work programme.”

It concludes: “Europe’s support of its cultural and creative sector during the pandemic was inspiring, let’s build on that to fix the long-standing issues faced by the music sector.”


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