Spanish venues endure “broadest restrictions in Europe”
Spanish concert halls are suffering under the broadest restrictions in Europe, according to a recent study by Live DMA.
While many European markets have fully reopened – or are planning to – Spanish venues are either still shuttered or are operating with a number of restrictions that make it “economically unfeasible’ for them to open their doors.
The country’s live sector is still reckoning with restrictions that include social distancing, mask-wearing and capacity limits, despite having the third-highest (73%) vaccination rate in Europe.
Spain’s association of live music venues, ACCES, is now demanding the full reopening of the live music sector, in line with the European Union guidelines for the safe resumption of cultural activities.
The EU guidelines say that member states must continue to adopt a strategic and phased approach to reopening, increasing capacity limits if the vaccination rate progresses sufficiently.
“[Spain has] the same social distance and practically the same limitations and capacity reductions as before the vaccination campaign”
Many European countries such as England, Denmark and Norway have already removed restrictions on live events, while others such as Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Lithuania plan to do so at the end of this month – all of which have a lower vaccination rate than that of Spain.
“We do not understand why Spain, being at the head of the population vaccination rates, also continues to lead the countries with the greatest restrictions on cultural spaces such as concert halls,” writes ACCES. “Requiring the same social distance and practically the same limitations and capacity reductions as before the vaccination campaign began.
“These limitations, given our high vaccination rate, must be lifted or at least mitigated so that we are allowed to carry out our activity normally again, that is: Without social distance, with full capacity and with the possibility of consumption in the bars, because if not now, then when?”
Last year, Spain’s Association of Music Promoters (APM) reported that around 25,000 concerts were cancelled last year in Spain, causing a total loss of €120 million for concert halls, which prompted numerous protests and demonstrations including The Last Concert and #alertaroja.
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Venues Day International to debut in October
Music Venue Trust (MVT), which represents 100s of grassroots music venues in the UK, has announced that its annual conference and networking event, which was postponed last year due to the pandemic, will now take place in October.
To enable as many venues as possible to participate, Venues Day 2021 – which takes place at Earth in London on Tuesday 5 October – will be a hybrid event incorporating Venues Day Online, a day of virtual activity on 12 October, to ensure every venue in the country gets access to best practice information, advice and guidance as they emerge from lockdown.
Another new event, the inaugural Venues Day International, will take place on 19 October. A partnership between MVT and Live DMA (Europe), Music Policy Forum (North America), Canadian Live Music Association, Live Music Office Australia and NIVA (US), Venues Day International is the first global event aimed exclusively at grassroots music venue operators and owners.
Venues Day International will also take place online and feature panels, presentations and discussion on shared challenges and opportunities across the world.
“We are incredibly excited … to have taken the challenge of the crisis head on and be delivering a hugely increased range and scope of events”
Venues Day is sponsored by Ticketmaster and Amazon, with additional support coming from Jack Daniel’s, White Light, ILMC and media partners IQ and NME.
Andrew Parsons, MD of Ticketmaster UK, says: “Venues Day has long been a pillar for the grassroots community, but this year’s will be a lifeline to so many venues around the country as we inch closer to reopening. The sheer graft of MVT throughout the pandemic to support the industry has been truly inspiring to see, and we’re happy to do our part and sponsor Venues Day 2021.”
“Music Venue Trust offers invaluable support to our industry, and initiatives such as the Grassroots Music Venues Crisis Service have provided a lifeline for many over the past year,” adds Patrick Clifton, UK head of music for Amazon Music. “At Amazon Music we’re proud to continue our partnership with MVT, to help bring Venues Day to grassroots sites across the country, providing guidance and advice to ensure they can safely open their doors to music fans.”
Beverley Whitrick, strategic director of Music Venue Trust, comments: “Venues Day 2021 will further encourage collaboration and sharing, connecting venues across the world so they feel part of a growing movement to emphasise how vital they are to both the wider music industry and local communities. We are incredibly excited to not only be able to deliver the existing event, but to have taken the challenge of the crisis head on and to be delivering a hugely increased range and scope of events with our domestic and international partners.”
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Spain’s music sector suffers €1bn loss in 2020
Spain’s music sector lost €1 billion in direct revenue and €7 bn in indirect revenue during 2020, according to data from the federation of music in Spain, Es Música.
The data takes into account both live music, recorded music and exploitation of intellectual property rights, and includes the entire value chain, companies and professionals from other sectors that indirectly participate in the Spanish music industry.
Last year, Spanish Association of Music Promoters (APM) reported that around 25,000 concerts were cancelled last year in Spain, causing a total loss of €120 million for concert halls, which prompted numerous protests and demonstrations including ‘The Last Concert‘ and #alertaroja (pictured).
The news comes as Live DMA – which represents more than 3,000 live music venues, clubs, and festivals from 17 European countries – releases a new report, 2021 – Stay Alive, which criticises the amount of support the live music industry has received throughout the crisis.
“The governmental support and compensations are not sufficient or adequate to secure the live music sector’s survival during its shutdown,” the report reads.
“Saving live will cost less for govts and do less harm to society, than first destroying the sector and rebuilding it later”
“Governments must give adequate support through all means possible in order to compensate for the loss in income, skills and diversity the live music sector suffers from and save this crucial cultural, social and economic sector. These support mechanisms must be effective now and provide a long-term perspective as well.”
The report found that audience restrictions and limited support from governments were the two main reasons for the financial problems of live music venues and clubs.
Ninety per cent of Live DMA members state that the support from governments is not sufficient to compensate the financial damage related to the pandemic and they do not foresee any improvements in 2021 if governments do not change their position.
The umbrella association recommends that if governments enforce restrictions that cause direct loss of income for live music organisers, they should ‘simultaneously and/or immediately (announce the plan and process to) compensate the financial losses to the venues that are affected by these government policies’.
“Saving existing live music organisations such as venues, clubs and festivals will cost less for governments and do less harm to society, than first destroying the sector and rebuilding it later,” the report says.
Read 2021 – Stay Alive in full here.
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Live DMA estimates €1.2bn loss for member venues
Live DMA, a European live music network comprising 16 member countries, has released a new report which estimates a €1.2 billion loss in audience income for the 2,600 music venues it represents.
The new report, which gives an overview on the impact of Covid-19 has had on its member venues, estimates that 664,000 artist performances will not take place in the venues, because 284,000 music events are cancelled or postponed this year.
This is only 30% (a 70% decline) of the number of music events and artist performances that took place last year.
Therefore, a 76% decline in audience visits is expected –53 million less compared to last year. This leads to the €1.2bn loss in audience income for the venues.
The loss in audience income consists of an estimated: €496m less income from ticket sales; €521m less income from food & beverages sales; €172m less other income.
Audience income makes up 84% of the €1.8 bn+ income the venues were expected to generate in 2020
According to Live DMA, audience income makes up 84% of the €1.8bn+ income the venues were expected to generate in 2020.
Among Live DMA’s worst affected venues are the 48% that have a private commercial structure. These venues and clubs lost almost 100% of their total income, which consists almost solely of income generated by their audiences (ticket sales, beverage, food, etc.).
According to the report, without this income source, the 1,250 venues and clubs cannot fulfil their financial obligations and are relying solely on their own reserves, cutbacks and financial support from governments to survive.
The full report can be viewed here.
Live DMA’s members include the Music Venue Trust (UK); Live Komm (Germany); Svensk Live (Sweden), and Dansk Live (Denmark).
The Associates: Impala, Intix, Live DMA
Covid-19 has impacted every business sector around the world, but with live entertainment likely to be one of the last industries to return, given social distancing regulations, the associations that represent its millions of employees have never been more important.
As restrictions in many countries enter yet another month, for issue 91 IQ found out more about some of our association partners and discovered just what they are doing to help their members navigate and survive.
Following the last instalment with the European Arenas Association, FAC and Iceland Music, this time we check in with Impala, the International Ticketing Association and Live DMA.
Impala, the Independent Music Companies Association, represents music companies across Europe, most of which are micro, small or medium-sized businesses (99% of the music industry in Europe is made up of small and medium-sized enterprises [SMEs] or are self-releasing artists). Known as the “independents”, the companies represented by Impala are often the leaders in terms of innovation and discovering new music and artists.
Independents account for more than 80% of all new releases and 80% of the sector’s jobs. Currently, Impala has almost 5,000 members, comprising a mix of associations of independent companies and direct members. Membership fees start from €100 per year and increase to thousands of euros per annum for associations and larger companies.
As part of its pandemic work, Impala created a task force and a mapping tool to help address the effects of the crisis on the independent sector in Europe.
On 25 March, Impala task force published a crisis plan seeking urgent action at EU, national and sector level to try to secure a coordinated approach across Europe to minimise the impact of Covid-19 on the independent music sector. On 29 April, Impala also released a proposed ten-step roadmap that includes a timeline and which sets out financial and non-financial tools to help increase liquidity in the music and broader cultural industries.
Intix members can apply for a one-time $100 assistance award for whatever they may need, from groceries to help paying a bill
The International Ticketing Association (Intix) is a non-profit membership organisation that connects entertainment professionals with the “education, visionary thinking, innovation, tools and relationships they need to ignite and sustain success while delivering optimal customer experiences”.
More than 1,400 people attended the latest Intix conference in January 2020 in New York City. Intix members represent organisations from across the United States, Canada and 25 other countries.
Intix has stepped up as a community to do whatever it can to support live entertainment ticketing professionals and the industry during this global pandemic. Intix has opened and un-gated areas that were traditionally only available to its members, and has added a new pandemic resource page that is augmented daily to keep abreast of changing information; created an open forum for the sharing of information, ideas and resources; and holds a weekly virtual Wednesday Wisdom meeting that is open to all, for support, information and resource sharing.
Intix is at the forefront of US national and federal relief programmes, lending its voice and expertise to advocacy for the industry. It has also established the Intix Member COVID-19 Relief Fund, which has raised more than US$40,000 (€36,500). Current Intix members can apply for a one-time $100 (€91) assistance award for whatever they may need, from groceries or a prescription to help paying a bill.
Live DMA organises informal online meetings to allow members to share information on the challenges they are facing
Live DMA (Europe)
The Live DMA network spans 16 countries, with members that are typically national or regional associations representing the interests of live music venues, clubs and/or festivals. Live DMA also welcomes associate members, thus supporting the structure of regional and national associations in countries where the live music sector lacks a representative body. Membership fees range from €1,650–2,300 per year, while an associate membership is fixed at an annual €600.
During the pandemic, Live DMA has provided a range of support mechanisms for its members:
- Resources: Live DMA collects and provides resources to support members on a national level. These include compilations of advocacy approaches, overviews of support policies in different countries, information digests relating to EU decisions, and the sharing of inspiring initiatives
- Members’ meetings and working groups: Live DMA organises informal online meetings to allow members to share information on the challenges they are facing, to share best practice and to cooperate on a variety of levels in order to help venues, clubs and festivals through the crisis
- Support on data collection: Live DMA organises webinars and individual meetings for its membership, in order to assist with gathering data and to help evaluate the impact the pandemic has had on them
- Advocacy: Live DMA has joined forces with other organisations from music, culture and creative sectors in Europe to call for adapted measures to get through this crisis
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.
Hard-hit grassroots sector focus of next IQ panel
Following on from The Innovation Session last week, the next panel in the IQ Focus series looks at the unique challenges that the Covid-19 crisis poses for grassroots music venues.
Featuring those working on the frontline to protect the world’s smaller venues, the Grassroots Music Venues in Crisis panel will look at what is needed to ensure these vital parts of the live music ecosystem remain in business.
Joining chair Sarah Slater, Ticketmaster UK’s vice president of music and festivals, are Mark Davyd, founder and CEO of grassroots venues charity the Music Venue Trust; Rev. Moose, co-founder of the newly formed National Independent Venue Association; Karsten Schölermann, chairman of German venue association LiveKomm; Lluís Torrents, president of Catalonian venue association Asacc (Associació de sales de concerts de catalunya) and co-director of Barcelona venue Razzmatazz; and Kathy Flück from Swiss venue the Dachstock.
Following a previous IQ Focus discussion on arenas, stadia and other large venues, the conversation now turns to grassroots venues which, although among the hardest hit by the shutdown, are likely to reopen earlier than many other parts of the business, bringing a distinct set of opportunities, challenges and questions.
Just what this reopening will look like, and what potential long-term changes can be expected, will be at the centre of the panellists’ conversation.
Grassroots Music Venues in Crisis will be streamed live on Thursday 4 June at 4 p.m. BST/5 p.m. CET.
‘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
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
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
Industry orgs: Bring back EU culture commissioner title
A collection of music industry associations have shown their support for the Bring Back Culture campaign, following the absence of the term ‘culture’ from the title of EU commissioner, Mariya Gabriel.
On 10 September, president-elect of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, presented the commission’s new structure, with eight vice presidents standing for updated work priorities. Culture falls under the gambit of Commissioner Gabriel, but is absent from her title of ‘Innovation and Youth’.
Von der Leyen takes over from Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission on 1 November, 2019.
Culture Action Europe (CAE), a network of cultural organisations, penned an open letter to the president of the European Commission asking for the insertion of the term ‘culture’ into the title. The letter was signed by bodies including the British Council, the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance, the European Choral Association, the European Concert Hall Organisation and Opera Europa,
The signatories are concerned that culture will not “remain at the appropriate level of recognition” due to the title change.
“We call upon the president of the European Commission to reinforce the role of culture by spelling out ‘culture’ in the title of the commissioner”
European live industry body Pearle*, the European Music Council (EMC) and venue network Live DMA are among live music-related organisations to lend their support to the CAE campaign.
“Pearle* looks forward to discussing Commissioner-designate Mariya Gabriel’s priorities on culture and the new Creative Europe programme,” reads a statement from the organisation. “However, we regret that culture is not literally mentioned in her portfolio’s title.
“This sets an unwelcome precedent since culture has been included in the European Treaty in 1991.”
The EMC and Live DMA similarly express concerns, saying “we call upon the president of the European Commission to reinforce the role of culture for the development of the European Union by spelling out ‘culture’ in the title of the commissioner.”
All three organisations had previously urged politicians to put live music at the core of EU policy, prior to the European Parliament elections in May.
The CAE online petition had received 1,885 signatures at press time.
Small venues: together we’re stronger
A vibrant and diverse European music industry cannot exist without small venues and clubs.
Those places on the corner of the street run by passionate individuals who dedicate their working lives to programming as-yet-unknown or little-known acts. The places that provide the first crucial live experience for artists from the local music scene to place themselves in front of an audience they can trust – an audience of music enthusiasts that considers such venues and clubs places of belonging.
These small- and medium-sized venues and clubs are especially important in the local sphere as they significantly contribute to shaping the cultural identities of cities and regions. Yet those venues and clubs are rarely recognised for their cultural impact, neither by the authorities, nor by the wider music industry, nor by the general public.
The stereotype of venues and clubs being dirty, rough and unsafe places tends to stick around. The often unusual and diverse business models of these small-to-medium-sized organisations, who might depend on volunteer engagement and a good deal of DIY culture, also feed the perception that these places are dubious or unprofessional.
Since 2012, Live DMA has been working on raising awareness of the huge impact that venues and clubs have on society. Our vision is that decision-makers, the music scene and the public begin to recognise the role that venues and clubs play in the whole music and cultural ecosystem. As a European network uniting 19 live music associations in 15 countries and together representing over 3,000 venues, clubs and festivals, Live DMA presents a collective voice when it comes to working on such challenges.
As part of our capacity building project, Live Style Europe, which is supported by the European Commission via the Creative Europe programme, Live DMA aims to empower live music professionals and to enhance the visibility and recognition of smaller live music venues in particular. In order to achieve this ambition, our focus is on promoting the exchange of ideas and collaborative action. We believe that together we are stronger.
“The stereotype of venues and clubs being dirty, rough and unsafe places tends to stick around”
Boosting Open Club Day on a European-level is part of our action plan. On Open Club Day, live music venues and clubs all over Europe open their doors during the daytime and invite the general public to come and see what happens behind the scenes. Taking place every year on the first Saturday in February, the objective of Open Club Day is to provide insight into clubs and venues for those that would not normally participate in night-time entertainment. By demonstrating the reality of the work that goes into running a small venue or club, we hope that we can destroy the stereotypes that often lead to a lack of understanding of the true value of these cultural places.
Open Club Day promotes exchange between live music professionals, neighbours of the venue, nightlife activists, families, politicians and curious night owls. Every participating venue and club creates its own programme for the occasion. Activities may include guided club tours, sound and lighting workshops, city safaris and roundtables to discuss club culture.
Initiated in Zürich by the local bar and club commission BCK seven years ago, Open Club Day achieved national interest in Switzerland in 2015 with the support of Petzi (the Swiss federation of live music venues and festivals). Live DMA co-ordinated the first European edition in February 2018, and already, participating venues and clubs have noted a shift in the perception of their activities by the general public. Open Club Day provides an opportunity for small venues/clubs to showcase the live music business in another light and works especially well in smaller neighbourhoods, where it can create positive connections between those working in venues and clubs and the immediate community.
In larger cities and nightlife hotspots such as Hamburg and Zürich, local club and live music associations tend to take over the co-ordination of Open Club Day, and in addition to guided tours and workshops, they hold panels and run awareness campaigns in order to discuss live music/club culture with local authorities and decision makers.
We have noticed that small initiatives like Open Club Day can have a huge impact and that venues and clubs are eager to participate. Open Club Day strengthens connections between venues/clubs and local communities, and, at the same time, local stages all over Europe, with a strong message: that live music venues and clubs are important cultural, economic and social places and that they deserve recognition for the work they do.
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.