Liveurope welcomes first Estonian and Baltic member
European venue association Liveurope has entered the Baltic region with its first member in Estonia, Sveta Baar.
Sveta Baar is located in the cultural hub of the capital city Tallinn and has strived to become a “platform and cultural centre to support and encourage the growth of local and international live music”.
Besides the 200 concerts Sveta Baar programmes independently each year, it is also one of the venues hosting the Tallinn Music Week.
With this new addition, Liveurope now reaches 22 internationally acclaimed music venues based in 22 European countries.
“It is an honour to be joining Liveurope as we celebrate our 5th anniversary,” says Roman Demtšenko, Sveta Baar’s artistic director.
“Liveurope’s support will be crucial in helping us present an even greater diversity of up-and-coming European acts”
“Liveurope’s support will be crucial in helping us present an even greater diversity of up-and-coming European acts to our audiences in the years to come. We are also looking forward to sparking curiosity and interest from the other venues for some fantastic acts that Estonia and the Baltics have to offer.”
Established in 2014 with funding from the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, Liveurope connects top European music venues that are committed to boosting the circulation of European talent.
The platform distributes grants to music venues in proportion to the amount of young European artists they book. This model has allowed the Liveurope venues to book on average 63% more new European talent pre-Covid-19 compared to before joining the platform.
Nearly 3,000 artists have benefited from the platform’s support including now-established names such as Christine and the Queens, Rosalía and MØ.
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Liveurope receives €2.1m grant to boost new talent
Venue association Liveurope has pledged to continue boosting the circulation of new European talent for the next three years after being selected for EU funding for the third consecutive time.
The Brussels-based organisation will see its annual budget increase by 40% (from €500,000 per year for 2014-2021 to €700,000 for 2022-2024), totalling €2.1m over three years, and aims to play an active role in the ongoing recovery of the live music sector post-pandemic. It has also welcomed five new venues, taking its membership from 15 to 20.
The platform supports music venues across the continent to book the most promising European artists, distributing grants to its members in proportion to the amount of young acts they book. On average, the model has helped the venues book 63% more emerging European non-national acts than prior to joining.
“After these difficult years for our sector, we’re proud to continue growing our European collaboration and support more venues boost their European programming,” says Elise Phamgia, Liveurope’s coordinator. “Through this, we hope to help them present more European music diversity to their audiences.”
“Liveurope has changed our programming approaches and given our audiences access to new acts they might not have discovered otherwise”
Established in 2014 with support from the European Union, nearly 3,000 artists have benefited from the platform’s support including now established names such as Christine and the Queens, Rosalía and MØ.
“Liveurope has changed our programming approaches and given our audiences access to new acts they might not have discovered otherwise,” says Matjaz Mancek, head of music at Kino Siska in Slovenia.
Liveurope is also introducing new priorities and activities to further strengthen its impact on the sector and the promotion of European diversity. The platform will actively engage on urgent societal topics such as ecology and gender balance, fostering cross-border discussions among the members and coming up with concrete tools to tackle them.
Upcoming editions of the flagship Liveurope rotating festival will also now include training and coaching sessions to further support artists’ development.
“Liveurope is a key partner in our shared efforts to give emerging artists the opportunity to go on stage, and to meet and develop their audiences across Europe,” adds Mariya Gabriel, European commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth
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Music venues turn blue for Europe Day
Music venues across Europe illuminated their facades in EU blue over the weekend in celebration of Europe Day 2021, which took place on Sunday 9 May.
Commemorating the merging of the French and West German coal and steel industries in 1951 – an event seen as marking the beginning of European integration – Europe Day was first celebrated in European Union countries in 1985. The coordinated action by 15 venues – which included Ancienne Belgique (Brussels), Rockhal (Esch, Luxembourg), Kino Šiška (Ljubljana), Melkweg (Amsterdam), Village Underground (London) and Sala Apolo (Barcelona) – ran across the weekend of 8–9 May.
All participating venues are members of the EU-supported Liveurope initiative, which has commemorated Europe Day since 2014. By again marking Europe Day, the venues “reaffirm[ed their] commitment to European collaboration”, according to a statement from Liveurope, which provides financial bonuses to venues which book overseas emerging European acts.
“The severe restrictions on free movement has made us all the more convinced about the importance of European collaborations,” says Tom Bonte, general manager of Ancienne Belgique (2,000-cap.), which coordinated the Europe Day action.
“We wanted to reaffirm our commitment to continue strengthening our ties with our peers”
“With this symbolic gesture, we wanted to reaffirm our commitment to continue strengthening our ties with our peers and boost European music diversity and talent. This is the only way we can achieve a full recovery of the live music sector.”
Each venue recorded a showcase with emerging artists which are being broadcast by public radio stations across the continent, including WRD’s 1 Live in Germany, RTVE’s Radio 3 in Spain, Radio France’s FIP in France, Polskie Radio’s Czwórka in Poland and Radio Beograd in Serbia.
The gesture also aimed to raise awareness of the importance of live music after more than a year of venues being closed, says Liveurope’s general coordinator, Elise Phamgia.
“This period has opened the door for innovative experimentation, but it has also shown the irreplaceable value of live music, and its ability to create connections between people over borders,” she says. “And it’s definitely something we will need more of to recover from the past 15 months of social isolation we have all been facing.”
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47% decrease in new artists touring Europe
The number of new artists touring Europe has fallen by nearly 50% in 2019–20, according to a new report that illustrates the impact of ongoing venue closures on emerging acts.
Research by Liveurope, an EU-backed association of 16 music venues, shows a 47% decrease in new acts touring in Europe compared to 2018–19. According to the organisation, which is calling for more aid at a European level, “the circulation of European artists, in particular emerging ones, can only return to pre-crisis levels if ambitious and targeted EU support is deployed.”
“After months of closure, our venues are faced with substantial economic losses and extended temporary lay-offs,” says Liveurope coordinator Elise Phamgia.“In this context, the safety net that our platform provides to them will be all the more crucial to help them continue bringing the diversity of European music to their audiences.
“After months of closure, our venues are faced with substantial economic losses”
“Scaling up the [funding] envelopes allocated to initiatives like ours would allow us to continue our mission, and support a greater number of music venues across the continent in their efforts to strengthen the European dimension of their line-ups.”
Liveurope members include Brussels arena Ancienne Belgique, Luxembourg’s Rockhal, Melkweg in Amsterdam and London’s Village Underground.
A recent report by the European Commission recommends an increase in the amount of funding for initiatives such as Liveurope in the upcoming EU budget.
The Associates: Liveurope, MMF, MVT
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 Impala, Intix and Live DMA, this time we check in with Liveurope, Music Managers Forum and Music Venue Trust.
Liveurope is a one-of-a-kind initiative that supports concert venues in their efforts to promote emerging European music.
The mission of Liveurope is to support music venues that are committed to European diversity in order to create lasting effects in terms of cross-border circulation of European repertoire.
Thanks to funding provided by Creative Europe, Liveurope has already supported over 200 acts from 40 countries. This represents a 63% increase in the number of emerging European artists booked on average per venue since the launch of the platform.
The Liveurope platform was designed to provide financial support in order to encourage music venues to take risks by programming new acts from uncharted territories.
Though these concerts are currently suspended, the financial support the organisation provides to its member venues also acts as a safety net during the crisis.
While artists can no longer cross borders physically, Liveurope has joined forces with its member venues through a digital tour project, which is allowing participating venues to continue presenting new European acts to their audiences via social media.
As it depends on European funding programmes for culture, Liveurope has also been engaging in joint efforts with organisations from across music and cultural sectors to call for ambitious budgetary measures to help get through the crisis.
While artists can no longer cross borders, Liveurope has joined forces with member venues through a digital tour project
Music Managers Forum
The Music Managers Forum (MMF) is the world’s largest professional community of music managers.
Representing more than 850 members, it advocates for their interests; provides training and education; and operates a successful associate programme that fosters ties with a wide range of artist-focused music businesses and services.
Membership fees range from £60 (€67) per annum (plus VAT) for those under 30, to £120 (€135) per annum (plus VAT).
MMF’s campaigning initiatives include the long-running series of Dissecting The Digital Dollar publications that promote greater transparency around online streaming, and the FanFair Alliance, which has successfully reformed secondary ticketing in the UK.
The Forum’s groundbreaking Accelerator Programme for Music Managers, launched in partnership with YouTube Music, Arts Council England and the Scottish Music Industry Association, is helping a new generation of music entrepreneurs.
Since mid-March, the MMF has worked hard to assist members, providing dedicated information on financial support, and utilising evidence from an online questionnaire to lobby government for support packages – as well as working extensively through UK Music and the Creative Industries Federation.
MMF has strived to bring members together throughout the Covid-19 crisis – hosting daily Zoom calls to share information and experiences on everything from live-streaming to event rescheduling, and running weekly, themed management meet-ups (with up to 150 participants) with guests including Amazon Music, YouTube, Facebook and Songtrust.
Since mid-March MMF has been providing dedicated information on financial support, and utilising evidence to lobby government
Music Venue Trust
Music Venue Trust (MVT) is a registered charity created to protect, secure and improve grassroots music venues (GMVs) across the UK.
Founded in 2014, the trust also established the Music Venues Alliance (MVA) – a membership body on whose behalf MVT acts to fundraise, lobby, share good practice and ensure that these vital venues are represented as cultural, social and economic assets.
Membership of the MVA is free and has seen a significant boost in numbers during the pandemic. Six months ago, there were 580 members, but at press time the number had increased to more than 780.
It is inevitable that MVT will need to introduce a paid membership model to make the support it offers sustainable, but this is very hard to do in such a challenging time for the venues it protects.
MVT has been offering sector support for GMVs to try and sustain them through the impacts of the pandemic. This takes five forms:
MVT gathered data between 9 March and 26 March (six different national data sets) from MVA members about the financial impacts of venue closure, to best inform governments about the support needed to ensure they are sustained through this crisis and able to reopen.
This data enables them to speak authoritatively and factually about the financial needs of GMVs.
2. Information sharing
● MVT continues to bring together and disseminate to MVA members the most current information about what they must do and what they can do to try and sustain their venue.
● MVT feeds into the international music industry picture and keeps track of trends.
● MVT makes sure that the needs of GMVs are raised as part of all music industry and cultural sector approaches for support from the governments of the UK.
● MVT sits on a range of working groups tackling venue reopening, including the UK Government Taskforce for reopening music.
● As the largest GMV membership body in Europe (Live DMA), MVT feeds into European information collecting and sharing.
● To support the entire sector, MVT launched the Grassroots Music Venue Crisis Fund, created to raise money from corporate giving and high-net-worth individuals.
● On 27 April, we launched the #saveourvenues campaign: both a central fundraising campaign and individual crowd-funding for member venues. In the first three weeks, £1.5million (€1.7m) was raised through donations. The campaign is ongoing.
5. Individual support for every MVA member
● Since the start of the crisis, MVT has grown its team, appointing regional and national co-ordinators to work with the core team and reach out to every venue across the UK. MVA co-ordinators work through all of the potential avenues of support for venues, offering advice on how best to secure every venue’s finances (and listening to their concerns).
● If these measures fail to secure the venue then they apply to the GMV Crisis Service for specialist expert advice and support.
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.
‘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
Liveurope seeks new venue to join its platform
Music venue platform Liveurope is calling for aspiring memberships, with applications open to eligible European venues wishing to join the network. From the applications, one venue will be selected to join the platform.
Launched in 2014, Liveurope is an initiative supporting venues in their efforts to promote emerging, non-national, European artists. The platform offers financial support to member venues based on their booking of suitable acts, creating the opportunity for more artists to tour internationally.
Coordinated by Brussels-based concert venue Ancienne Belgique, the Liveurope network currently consists of 14 venues across Europe. Member venues are selected based on their dedication to booking European talent, as well as their professional infrastructure and international reputation.
The platform is looking for a fifteenth venue to join its network as an aspiring member. Venues can apply via an online application form, given certain geographical, structural, programming and communication criteria are met.
“We want to recognise the quality of Europe’s most progressive concert venues,” says Dirk De Clippeleir, managing director of Ancienne Belgique.
“By welcoming an aspiring member to our platform, we are expanding the opportunities for more emerging acts to break into international European live music scenes”
“By welcoming an aspiring member to our platform, we are expanding the opportunities for more emerging acts to break into international European live music scenes, as well as increasing the possibilities of professional collaboration between our members.”
Aspiring members are honorary members of the network and receive an observer status in the platform, as well as being first in line to become full members when the project’s budget allows.
Other benefits include receiving the Liveurope quality label, participating in meetings and workshops and exchanging information and good practices with the rest of the network. Aspiring members are not eligible for funding from the Liveurope bonus mechanism.
The selected venue will be announced at MIL Lisbon International Music Network, taking place from 27 to 29 March 2019.
Germany: Red tape and fierce competition
It is not an easy time for promoters in Germany at the moment.
There are too many offers per genre/ audience, limitations on decibels, changing security requirements and, of course, secondary ticketing and its impacts, including personalised ticketing. Add to that noise pollution claims in venues’ local neighbourhoods, and crowd management, including the local impact of visitors’ arrivals and departures.
Then there’s the new EU GDPR regulation that must be kept in mind when promoting shows to regular customers. And the social security and tax regulations with regional and local differences within a fragmented German market… and these are just a few of the issues that have to be considered when drafting a reliable event costing and turnover estimates.
So, when it comes to delivering successful shows, each region in Germany has specific challenges. Venue owners have been dealing with these issues on a daily basis for years, while also trying hard to provide emerging talent with opportunities to showcase and build a following.
Thanks to some European Commission-funded activities like Liveurope and Europavox, emerging artists have an opportunity to cross borders.A healthy culture market needs, and audiences want, plurality and diversity; it’s where the next trend comes from, so one of the major challenges club owners and local promoters are facing nowadays is how to support local talent in a globalised playlist and festival environment. If they do not succeed, it is just a question of time until Europe loses its cultural richness, and we will see a monoculture-dominated live market – which, to some degree, we already have.
In some music genres, we definitely have a saturated market, but most of the venues that have invested in technology and facilities still maintain a thriving business. The newly opened Warsteiner Music Hall in Dortmund reflects the up-to-date philosophy of venue management.
Alex Richter, managing director of Four Artists Booking GmbH, says: “Particularly in the last five years, the German live market has become more dynamic, and more diverse, but also more fragmented. The fee offer and, in particular, admission prices, have almost doubled, so that I already have the feeling that we are close to the bubble bursting. Especially in the open-air/festival area in Germany, we have reached a saturation limit.
“There’s room in the market for niches, with German-language and regional acts for example”
“On the other hand, there is a lot of interest in high-quality shows. In addition to the artist/show, the venue is a key part of the concert experience: a great venue contributes significantly to the success of a production.
“This was our approach at the Warsteiner Music Hall, which has a capacity of 3,600 visitors. In my opinion, it is the best venue of this size in Germany. It is located in the centre of the Ruhr area with a total population of 5.1 million, so it’s good not just for artists but also for a large audience. With a lot of experience and thought we created a modern venue with the charm of an old industrial hall built in 1903.”
For many years, the company Südpolmusic has worked together with German-language acts, and experienced significant growth doing business in a niche market. According to MD Patrick Oginski, “The German live music market is increasingly divided into nationally active, large-scale marketers and small- to medium-sized tour organisers.
“Fortunately, while the big-players’ tours are about the major cities and often just about market share, there’s room in the market for niches, with German-language and regional acts, for example. This is also a great opportunity for small- and medium-sized companies, who are able to look after live acts more intensively, and with a longer service life and thus establish themselves in the long-term in the live market.”
Juicy Beats Festival booker Uli Künneke warns of an unhealthy business perspective due to the significantly increasing fees and production requirements. “The requirements of the stage directions are getting bigger and bigger,” he reports. “This does not truly reflect if an act is a successful ticket-seller or not. The status of the act is nowadays sometimes linked to the number of trucks and coaches, and stage sizes and roadies. Together with the increasing artist fees for festival performances, this pursuit of scale can drive the presale ticket price into an unhealthy region.”