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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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Portugal’s Westway Lab announces artist residencies

Westway Lab, Portugal’s first showcase festival and music conference, has announced the return of its artist residency programme, which welcomes eight artists to work together and showcase material on the 10 and 11 April.

The sixth edition of Westway Lab takes place in Guimarães, Portugal from 10 to 13 April, combining artist residencies, professional conferences and showcases.

This year, the festival hosts Portuguese musicians Beatriz Nunes and João Pascoal of the Happy Mess, Lince (Sofia Ribeiro) and Captain Boy (Pedro Ribeiro). Other residencies are taken by Venezuelan singer Yosune, Italian singer-songwriter Violetta Zironi, indie-pop Austro-Slovakian duo Mickey and the Canadian pop-rock band Tribe Royal.

The festival and conference has also announced Canada as its spotlight country. The Canadian representation will be folk focused with singer-songwriters Sarah MacDougall and Megan Nash, along with folk trio the East Pointers. Music by duo Les Deuxluxes and Tribe Royal will have more of a rock focus.

“[Westway Lab is] a powerful world of possibility on a human scale”

Westway Lab again hosts the Why Portugal event organised by the Portuguese music export office, featuring local artists Neev, Marta Pereira da Costa and Vaarwell. The Portuguese Independent Music Trade Association brings Europe in Synch to the conference, a programme focusing on the training of young music professionals actively involved in sync licensing.

The festival is a member of the the European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP), which promotes European musicians across the world, and showcase festival association the Innovation Network of European Showcases (INES).

Rui Torrinha, artistic director of the festival describes Westway LAB as “a powerful world of possibility on a human scale”, outlining the consistent “quality” of the artists who have participated in the festival over the years.

A full conference programme and registration for this year’s Westway Lab are available here.

 


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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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