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Music contributes to our European identity

We are all too aware how severely this unprecedented crisis has affected the cultural and creative sectors, in particular the world of music. It was heartbreaking to see clubs and concert halls forced to shut down, leaving the artists and those supporting them without any income.

This happened at a time when, due to the changing patterns of music consumption, live acts and concerts had become one of the most important income sources for music performers.

My priority was to act quickly, within my remit, to help the cultural and creative sector including the music sector. Over the last eight or nine months, we have seen, on the one hand, the sector’s extraordinary capacity to mobilise and be creative at all levels, but on the other, the need for resources, targeted investment, and greater support in such critical moments.

Indeed, it was to music that we turned to keep our spirits up; music has helped us maintain a sense of community at a time when social distancing became the norm. I take this opportunity to thank all the professionals from the music industry for what they gave us.

Music has helped us maintain a sense of community at a time when social distancing became the norm

For this reason, there are strong calls for Member States to dedicate at least 2% of national recovery and resilience facility budgets to culture. This would come in addition to other horizontal measures that we introduced to kickstart the economy, which are also beneficial for the cultural and creative sectors. We have promoted these measures and encouraged our partners in the cultural sectors to tap into the possibilities these actions provide.

Let me highlight some examples of our recent initiatives to help the cultural sector and music in particular. First, we provided maximum flexibility to the beneficiaries of Creative Europe, the EU funding programme for the cultural and creative sectors, and allowed them to adjust their projects to the new realities.

We also accelerated the selection process for this year’s Creative Europe co-operation projects. This means in practical terms that €48.5 million is going directly to both small and large cultural projects that need our support the most in the middle of the pandemic.

In May, we launched the Creatives Unite platform to offer a common space for all cultural and creative sectors in Europe and beyond to share their initiatives in response to the crisis. Six months later, it has demonstrated great results, with over 26,000 visitors and 600 published posts. This illustrates the cultural and creative sectors’ tremendous capacity to work together.

Second, we came up with quick responses to address the challenges faced by the music sector under our Music Moves Europe initiative. A €2.5m call for proposals, which closed in November, will help support the sector’s recovery and sustainability post crisis.

Environmental, economic and social sustainability of the European music ecosystem is more topical than ever before

Environmental, economic and social sustainability of the European music ecosystem is indeed more topical than ever before. We can expect that the post-crisis revival will bring and require structural changes in the way the music ecosystem is operating, and we will be there to support the green, digital, just and social recovery of the sector.

We also launched a call for tenders to support European music export, taking into account the specific circumstances of the crisis. The call builds on the study prepared by the European Music Export Exchange with our financial support. Here, again, I would like to congratulate the music sector, which has been, from the very beginning, part of the solution, with the Music Declares Emergency initiative using the power of music to promote the cultural change needed to create a better future.

Music Moves Europe is also about music information and data. We have just published two studies on the feasibility of establishing a European music observatory, and an in-depth analysis of the European music market. We also launched four calls this year to support professionalisation, music education, co-operation of small music clubs, and co-creation and co-production schemes.

The selected projects can start early next year. In difficult times, these small amounts can make a great difference and can help clubs, creators, and performers resume their activities and survive the crisis.

Finally, let me stress the importance of the Music Moves Europe Talent Awards co-funded by our Creative Europe programme. This EU prize for popular and contemporary music puts a spotlight on young exciting talent and displays Europe’s vibrant and diverse music scene. It is even more important this year to help these young musicians find an audience. The winners of the 2021 edition will be announced on 15 January 2021 at Eurosonic.

Music is our universal language. It holds a unique, creative, and cohesive power, for societies and for individuals

With Music Moves Europe, we will continue our support to the music sector, especially with targeted funding through the Creative Europe programme. I am very proud that we achieved a significant increase in the budget for the next seven years, this will allow us to continue our support to culture, including music, in the future.

Looking forward, beyond Creative Europe, the music sector will also benefit from further support through other instruments. For instance, via Horizon Europe, the EU’s research and innovation framework programme, which will have, for the first time, a dedicated cluster on culture, creativity and society, as well as a new Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) on cultural and creative sectors and industries to drive innovation and support recovery in these industries.

Erasmus+ is another example. Recently we launched a Special Call worth €100m for Partnerships for Creativity, which focus on formal, informal and non-formal educational skills development and inclusion through creativity and the arts. My aim therefore will be to work on synergies among all these different instruments.

Music is our universal language. It holds a unique, creative, and cohesive power, for societies and for individuals. It is a vital part of our cultural heritage, and contributes to our European identity. For all the reasons we will continue to support the sector, and the people behind it. I look forward to working and strengthening our dialogue with the music sector.


Mariya Gabriel is the European commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth.