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‘A dire situation’: EU orgs call for urgent investment

In an unprecedented display of European music-biz unity, a total of 36 industry associations – including festival association Yourope, managers’ bodies IMMF and EMMA, venue associations Live DMA and Liveurope and PRO collective Gesac – have written an open letter calling for urgent emergency aid for the entire EU music industry, which they warn is in crisis due to the continent-wide shutdown.

In the letter, addressed to both national governments and the EU Commission, the 36 warn of a “dire situation”, in which “festivals suspend their activities, performances are cancelled, group activity is stopped, shops close and new releases are put on hold”, threatening the European “music ecosystem”.

The signatories – which also include recording industry bodies IFPI and Impala, the European Talent Exchange Programme (Etep), the International Music Publishers Forum (IMPF), Live Performance Europe/Pearle* and showcase festival network INES – name “artists and their management, performers, composers, songwriters, music educators, conductors, booking agents, record shops, labels, publishers, distributors, promoters, manufacturers, technicians, events managers and event staff” as being among those “whose livelihoods are on the line.”

Funding is available at a national level in many European countries, including, in some territories, specialist aid for creative-sector freelancers. However, the associations urge that a coordinated Europe-wide approach is needed to stave off “profound harm” to the industry that will continue into 2021.

“We call for emergency … structural policies at EU, national, regional and local level to consolidate the music ecosystem”

“[W]e see how important the cultural sectors are in promoting solidarity and in providing rallying points,” they continue. “Within the confines of their homes, artists and DJs have been streaming their own live performances to fight isolation by engaging online communities. Drawing upon the example of Italy, citizens from across Europe gather on their balconies to play music and regain a shared sense of common purpose.

“This reminds us that music is a vehicle to recreate a sense of community. In times of containment and pressure, music builds bridges between individuals and cultures irrespective of social, ethnic, cultural backgrounds. […] As decision-makers reflect on how to address the crisis, culture must be recognised as a priority sector.”

The intervention comes as live music industry associations across Europe lobby to be allowed to offer ticket vouchers, or credit, in lieu of cash refunds, to avert a cashflow crisis, amid widespread cancellations.

Read the 36’s letter in full, as well as the list of 36 signatories, below.

 


Music is one of the first sectors hit by the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. It will also be one of the last.

As borders close, venues as well as festivals suspend their activities, performances are cancelled, group activity is stopped, shops close, and new releases are put on hold, the entire creative value chain is stalling. Artists and their management, performers, composers, songwriters, music educators, conductors, booking agents, record shops, labels, publishers, distributors, promoters, manufacturers, technicians, events managers and event staff count among the many actors of the ecosystem whose livelihoods are on the line.

These risks will persist, even after the public health emergency is solved. The stark reality is that profound harm will be felt long into 2021 due to how the music ecosystem operates.

In light of this dire situation, we call for emergency as well as sustainable public support and structural policies at EU, national, regional and local level to consolidate the music ecosystem, and help it thrive again in all its diversity.

The undersigned music organisations urge Member States and the European Commission to take a stance and significantly increase the national and EU budgets dedicated to culture, and within that to music. Secondly, under the EU Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, it is imperative that each Member State provides Europe’s creative sector with swift and comprehensive access to Structural Funds in order to offset the harm in the shorter term.

The full magnitude of the current turmoil will build for months and the number of casualties will be high. Even when the complete standstill ends, the crisis will continue due to hyper saturation of events and new releases and audiences will be unpredictable.

All this points to a slow recovery, with less job opportunities, less participation in music and less room for artistic risk-taking. Jobs and diversity are at stake.

At the same time, we see how important the cultural sectors are in promoting solidarity and in providing rallying points. Within the confines of their homes, artists and DJs have been streaming their own live performances to fight isolation by engaging online communities. Drawing upon the example of Italy, citizens from across Europe gather on their balconies to play music and regain a shared sense of common purpose.

This reminds us that music is a vehicle to recreate a sense of community. In times of containment and pressure, music builds bridges between individuals and cultures irrespective of social, ethnic, cultural backgrounds.

Music and culture are essential to offer citizens the renewed social and cultural bond that Europe will sorely need.

As decision makers reflect on how to address the crisis, culture must be recognised as a priority sector.

The undersigned organisations

AEC, Association Européenne des Conservatoires, Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen

CIME/ICEM, International Confederation of Electroacoustic Music

DME, Digital Music Europe

ECA-EC, European Choral Association – Europa Cantat

ECSA, European Composer and Songwriter Alliance

EFNYO, European Federation of National Youth Orchestra

EMC, European Music Council

EMCY, European Union of Music Competitions for Youth

EMEE, European Music Exporters Exchange

EMMA, European Music Managers Alliance

ETEP, European Talent Exchange Programme

Europavox

EJN, Europe Jazz Network

EVTA, European Voice Teachers Association

FIM, International Federation of Musicians

GESAC, the European Authors Societies

IAMIC, International Association of Music Centres

IAO, International Artist Organisation of Music

ICAS, International Cities of Advanced Sound

ICMP, International Confederation of Music Publishers

ICSM, International Society for Contemporary Music

IFPI, International Federation of the Phonographic Industry

IMMF, International Music Managers Forum

IMPF, Independent Music Publishers International Forum

IMPALA, Independent music compagnies associations

INES, Innovation Network of European Showcases

JMI, Jeunesses Musicales International

JUMP, European Music Market Accelerator

Keychange

Live DMA, European network for music venues and festivals

Liveurope, the platform for new European Talent

Pearle*, Live Performance Europe

SHAPE, Sound Heterogenous Art and Performance in Europe

REMA, European Early Music Network

We are Europe

Yourope, the European festival Association

 


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LA Opera, IFPI investigate ‘Opera King’ sexual misconduct

The Los Angeles Opera and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) have launched separate investigations into opera superstar Plácido Domingo, who has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women.

Multi Grammy award-winning singer and conductor Domingo has served as general director of the LA Opera since 2003 and as IFPI chairman since 2011.

On Tuesday (13 August), the Associated Press reported that nine women in the opera industry had come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Domingo, spanning over three decades. Seven of the nine claim they felt their careers would have been jeopardised if they rejected Domingo’s advances.

A further six individuals told the AP that “suggestive overtures” by the singer had made them feel uncomfortable. Only one of the subjects, retired opera singer Patricia Wulf, allowed her name to be used in the report.

In response to the reports, the LA Opera is hiring a third party counsel to investigate “the concerning allegations”, as the IFPI launches its own “formal inquiry” into the accusations.

The Philadelphia Orchestra and San Francisco Opera have cancelled upcoming performances by Domingo.

The singer had been invited to appear at the opening gala for the Philadelphia Orchestra on September 18, and was also set to make his 50th anniversary appearance with the San Francisco Opera on October 6.

“I believed that all of my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual”

New York’s Metropolitan Opera is awaiting the results of investigations “before making any final decisions” regarding Domingo, who is to perform in three operatic productions of Macbeth next month.

The opera star will appear at the Salzburg Festival in Austria as planned on 31 August. Festival president Helga Rabl-Stadler said it would be “factually wrong and morally irresponsible to make irreversible judgements at this point.”

Domingo calls the allegations “deeply troubling, and as presented, inaccurate.”

“Still, it is painful to hear that I may have upset anyone or made them feel uncomfortable – no matter how long ago and despite my best intentions. I believed that all of my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual,” continues Domingo in a statement issued to the AP.

“People who know me or who have worked with me know that I am not someone who would intentionally harm, offend, or embarrass anyone. However, I recognise that the rules and standards by which we are – and should be – measured against today are very different than they were in the past.”

The opera singer has upcoming European dates in Hungary, Switzerland, Russia, Austria, Germany, Spain, Italy and Poland.

 


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Werner in, Madsen out at Nordic Music Export

Ludvig Werner, managing director of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) in Sweden, has been named chairman of Nordic Music Export (Nomex), replacing Gunnar Madsen.

Madsen, general manager of the Danish Rock Council (Rosa), has stepped down after leading Nomex – an umbrella organisation representing of the music export offices of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – from a year after its founding, in 2010.

Also out at Nomex is former programme director Anna Hildur Hildibrandsdóttir, who is leaving to establish a film production company, Tattarrattat.

It is not known whether Werner (pictured) will continue in his role at IFPI Sweden, but his presence has been scrubbed from the organisation’s website. IQ has contacted Nordic Music Export for clarification.

“We are delighted to welcome Ludvig as the chairman of the network”

“Nomex will continue to be a Nordic hub for collaboration, inspiration and joint efforts when exploring new music export possibilities for our five countries,” comments Werner.

Tuomo Tähtinen, a board member and executive director of Music Finland, adds: “Nomex has played a crucial role in the success of the Nordic music sector. We are delighted to welcome Ludvig as the chairman of the network.

“I would also like to thank both Anna and Gunnar for their huge contributions towards making Nomex the success it is today.”

 


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Ceta signing “positive news” for global music biz

The European Parliament’s approval of Ceta, a free-trade agreement between Canada and the European Union (EU) that contains several provisions for strengthening intellectual property rights, has been described as “positive news” for the international music industry.

If enacted, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement will eliminate 98% of tariffs between Canada and the 28 member states of the EU.

In addition to liberalising trade between the 29 countries, Ceta includes a commitment by both signatories to ensure performers and composers are remunerated fairly for the reproduction of their copyrights, either in live performance or broadcast. (In section 20.8, the EU and Canada agree to “provide performers the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit the […] communication to the public of their performances” and ensure that “a single equitable remuneration is paid by the user if a phonogram […] is used for broadcasting by wireless means or for any communication to the public, and shall ensure that this remuneration is shared between the relevant performers and phonogram producers”.)

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents labels in 60 countries, says the agreement will ensure music is “protected to a high standard when used online, in broadcasting or in public performance”.

“Ceta includes commitments by the EU and Canada to grant comprehensive protection to music when used in broadcasting and public performance”

“The European Parliament’s approval of Ceta is positive news for the music industry,” comments IFPI’s chief executive, Frances Moore. “Together, the EU and Canada account for around 35% of the global music market; as such, the standards of copyright protection for music in these two territories are extremely important to our global industry.

“Ceta includes commitments by the EU and Canada to […] grant comprehensive protection to recorded music when used in broadcasting and public performance. These rights are essential to the wellbeing of the music sector in both markets, and we look forward to working with their respective governments to ensure that these standards of protection are implemented in the best possible way.”

Ceta must now be ratified by the Canadian parliament, in which prime minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party has a majority. A press release from the office of Trudeau speaks positively of his recent visit to Europe, saying the PM “welcomed the European Parliament’s vote to approve Ceta” and spoke of his belief the agreement will “create good, well-paying jobs, bolster our shared prosperity and help grow the middle class.‎”

 


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