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French association Prodiss rebrands following merger

French trade association Prodiss has rebranded following a merger with the National Union of Private Theatres (SNDTP) and the Union of Cabarets and Music Halls (CAMULC).

The association will now be called Ekhoscenes, marking its expansion to all stages including music, theatre, comedy and cabaret.

Its membership comprises 600 companies and tens of thousands of employees including show producers, concert hall operators, theatre and cabaret directors, broadcasters and festival organisers.

Ekhoscenes says its objectives are representing the scenes in all its diversity, relaying the expectations and challenges of entertainment entrepreneurs, and developing an ever more daring and inclusive culture.

Ekhoscenes’ membership now comprises 600 companies and tens of thousands of employees

“From 2024, Ekhoscenes will be fully mobilised to meet the many current challenges that live performance actors, in all their diversity, are facing: the sequence of the Olympic and Paralympic Games which will greatly disrupt the activities of the live performance sector,” reads a statement from Ekhoscenes.

It continues: “The structuring of the National Music Center by contributing to an overhaul of aid and support programs in line with the evolution of the ecosystem; the strengthening of the Association for the Support of Private Theater (ASTP); the question of artificial intelligence and the need for recognition of the rights of show producers and the challenge of ecological transition with the transformation of models.”

Created in 1984, Prodiss was the first national union representing private performing arts. Its members in the live music industry include Accor Arena in Paris, the Bataclan in Paris, Live Nation France Festivals, Live Nation SAS and Mama.

 


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Spotify pulls out of French festivals over tax row

Spotify has announced it is withdrawing its financial support from two French festivals in response to a new tax imposed on streaming services in the country.

The so-called “streaming tax”, which comes into effect in 2024, was announced by president Emmanuel Macron’s government following “several months of consultation”, and will require subscription streaming platforms to make a contribution of 1.2% of their turnover in France.

The tax will directly finance France’s National Music Center (CNM), which was created in 2020 to support the wider music industry. Platforms that turnover less than €20 million a year will be exempt.

As a result of the proposal, Spotify says it will no longer support the Francofolies de La Rochelle and the Printemps de Bourges festivals from next year onwards.

“Following the announcement of the implementation of a tax on music streaming in France, we regret to announce that Spotify France will stop supporting the Francofolies de la Rochelle and the Printemps de Bourges, from 2024, financially and through activations on the ground,” says Spotify France MD Antoine Monin on X.

The CNM is currently funded by a 3.5% levy on ticket sales for shows, a contribution from the state to cover operating costs, and support from rights management organisations.

Monin says the Swedish streaming giant, which campaigned for a voluntary contribution instead of the tax, will focus its attention on emerging artist initiatives the Chantier and the iNOUïs, adding: “Other announcements will follow in 2024.”

“France does not encourage innovation and investment”

The announcement of the streaming tax, which is intended to generate €15 million next year, was welcomed by groups including French live association Prodiss, whose director Malika Séguineau described it as “the only device which allows the CNM to be provided with sustainable and balanced financing”.

“We are delighted that the government has taken this decision, supported by deputies and senators,” added Séguineau. “After long months of consultation and discussions, we must now look to the future, with a fully operational CNM from 2024 serving the ambition for the music industry.”

However, the move was criticised in a joint statement by giants Apple, Deezer, Meta, Spotify, YouTube and TikTok, which claimed they had reached an agreement to raise a voluntary contribution of more than €14m in 2025.

A Spotify spokesperson slammed the proposed tax as an “inequitable, unjust and disproportionate measure”, with Monin warning the firm would “disinvest in France and will invest in other markets”.

“France does not encourage innovation and investment,” he told Franceinfo. “France will no longer be a priority for Spotify.”

France is the world’s sixth largest recorded music market according to the IFPI, generating €920m in recorded music revenue in 2022.

 


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Prodiss backs French ‘streaming tax’ proposals

French live association Prodiss has welcomed the introduction of a new tax on music streaming services in France to support the wider sector.

The move, which comes into effect in 2024, has been announced by the government following “several months of consultation”. It will directly finance the National Music Center (CNM), which was created in 2020 to help the music industry’s various stakeholders, including labels, publishers, venues and promoters.

“The tax contribution of subscription streaming platforms and free content sharing platforms will be 1.2% of their turnover in France,” reads a press release from the Ministry of Culture. “Platforms with a turnover of less than €20 million will not be subject to this new contribution, which is expected to bring in €15 million in 2024.”

According to Tous Les Festivals, the CNM is currently funded by a 3.5% levy on ticket sales for shows, a contribution from the state to cover operating costs, and support from rights management organisations.

Prodiss director Malika Séguineau has backed the move, saying it is “the only device which allows the CNM to be provided with sustainable and balanced financing”.

“We are delighted that the government has taken this decision, supported by deputies and senators,” says Séguineau. “After long months of consultation and discussions, we must now look to the future, with a fully operational CNM from 2024 serving the ambition for the music industry.”

“France will no longer be a priority for Spotify”

However, the announcement has been criticised in a joint statement by giants Apple, Deezer, Meta, Spotify, YouTube and TikTok, which claim they have reached an agreement to raise a voluntary contribution of more than €14m in 2025.

According to the IFPI, France is the world’s sixth largest recorded music market, generating €920m in recorded music revenue in 2022.

“We take note of the government’s decision, which does not take into account the efforts made by many platforms including Spotify,” a Spotify spokesperson tells AFP, via Euronews. “This is a real blow to innovation, and to the growth prospects of recorded music in France. We are evaluating the follow-up to be given to the implementation of this inequitable, unjust and disproportionate measure.”

In addition, Spotify France CEO Antoine Monin describes the tax as “a monumental strategic error which goes against the issues of economic, cultural and European technology”, and warns the firm will “disinvest in France and will invest in other markets”.

“France does not encourage innovation and investment,” he tells Franceinfo. “France will no longer be a priority for Spotify.”

 


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Prodiss backs ‘landmark’ Google resale verdict

Prodiss has hailed a “landmark decision” after Google failed in its appeal against a ruling banning the purchase of adverts promoting tickets sold by unauthorised secondary ticketing platforms in France.

The French live music association brought the lawsuit against Google France and Google Ireland after noticing advertisements for tickets to shows by Rammstein, Drake and Metallica on sites including Viagogo.fr, StubHub.fr and Rocket-Ticket.com at, or near, the top of Google’s search results.

In France, it is illegal to sell tickets without authorisation from the event organiser.

The Judicial Court of Paris found Google liable for reputational damage to live entertainment professionals back in 2020, noting that by accepting advertising from ticket resale sites, it may have given fans the false impression that rightsholders benefit from inflated secondary market prices.

The court prohibited Google Ireland, which operates Google Ads (formerly AdWords), from allowing the purchase of advertising keywords relating to the sale of tickets for shows in France, unless the purchaser can prove that they have written authorisation from the rightsholder.

“This is another step in the right direction to ensure a fair, safe, and legal process for ticket sales in France”

That judgement, which applies to all live shows taking place in France, has now been upheld, with the company also fined €300,000 in damages.

“This is a landmark decision for us,” says Prodiss CEO Malika Séguineau. “We are very pleased that the court of appeal has ruled in favour of protecting the rights of the producers and the rights of the audience. After several previous decisions against illegal platforms over the last years, this is another step in the right direction to ensure a fair, safe, and legal process for ticket sales in France.”

Sam Shemtob, director of the Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT), adds: “This is a big win for those of us who want to see tickets in the hands of fans and not sold on by price-gouging touts. Rightfully, a lot of fans’ anger gets focussed on the resale platforms themselves, but Google is a major player in steering people away from face value tickets sold by the primary seller, even when there are still tickets available. The clearer Google’s role becomes for all to see, the better.”

Google began accepting advertising from Viagogo once more in November 2019, having previously banned the site from its AdWords platform.

 


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Prodiss: ‘No festival should be cancelled in 2024’

Live music organisation Prodiss has joined a raft of other French industry trade bodies in pleading for no festivals to be cancelled as a result of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

The 2024 Olympics are scheduled for 26 July to 11 August, with the Paralympics to follow from 28 August to 8 September.

Le Journal du Dimanche reports that the scale of the security operation has led to concerns that other events held at the same time will be left short on personnel. The interior minister has asked for “the postponement of certain festivals” that summer, while the culture minister has spoken of “certain cancellations if solutions are not found”.

Prodiss president Olivier Darbois, director of Paris-based promoter Corida, is one of 25 signatories of an open letter to president Emmanuel Macron, calling for cultural events planned for the duration of the 2024 Games to be maintained.

“Festivals are not only essential to an entire local economy… they are part of our identity”

“This will be an opportunity for millions of visitors to come and discover our country,” states the letter. “It will also be a time when France, watched by the whole world, must show its most beautiful face… But for the past few days, we have been extremely worried, because culture is on the way to being the great forgotten part of this beautiful picture.

“Summer, for the French men and women, for the cultural world, and for decades, is the time of festivals. Festivals are not only essential to an entire local economy, they are also an eventful, festive and cultural time, a time of meeting and social bonding, which is the pride of the territories, the elected officials and the volunteers who welcome and participate in them.

“They are part of our identity. They allow professionals to work and show their know-how, artists, musicians, actors, directors to get started and sometimes achieve national or international fame. They generate a substantial number of hours of work, so important for intermittent workers in the entertainment industry as well as for many seasonal workers.”

Other signatories on the letter include France Festivals, the Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers, the Civil Society for the Administration of the Rights of Performing Artists and Musicians, and the Federation of contemporary music venues, as well as music union SMA.

“We ask you to solemnly commit that no festival will be cancelled in France during the summer of 2024

“We, elected officials and professionals, know the constraints of managing such events,” it continues. “We also know that the means are not unlimited, those of our communities first and foremost.

“We are the first to understand that the organisation of an event of the magnitude of the [Olympics] will require a very important security infrastructure, and also that the festivals require to be secured. But we would not understand if our country, the seventh economic power in the world, is not capable at the same time of hosting the Olympic Games and maintaining the organisation of these major festivals which make up a major part of the cultural wealth of our country and of our territories.”

The letter concludes: “What place would we give to culture and its festivals in our country, if they become a simple adjustment variable according to the availability of the police? Especially since the consequences of the health crisis are still being felt and the energy crisis is also threatening performance venues.

“This is why, Mr President… we ask you to solemnly commit that no festival will be cancelled in France during the summer of 2024, and that solutions be found and objectified in connection with local authorities and the whole world of culture.”

 


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Prodiss report highlights post-Covid gig habits

Almost a third of French music fans say they will attend fewer events going forward after the pandemic, according to the results of live association Prodiss’ latest Live Barometer.

Produced by the Toluna Harris Interactive polling institute, the annual report surveyed 1,010 people aged 15 and over about their concert-going habits.

After two heavily interrupted years due to Covid-19, the results give an opportunity to take stock of the impact of the crisis on event-goers. While 49% of respondents said they will not change their habits, 18% say they would now attend more concerts, whereas the remaining 32% would go to a show less often.

Purchasing power was the overriding concern, with a lack of disposable income given as the main reason by 48%, with the fear of contracting Covid-19 (22%) and a preference for other activities (19%) also cited.

The survey of 1,010 French people was conducted online from 14-15 September 2022

The motivations for going to shows were to hear quality sound (89%), to take their mind off things (88%), to feel emotions and experience something exceptional (87%) , or sharing moments with family or friends (86%). Finally, 58% of live spectators said they would be encouraged to go to the show for interactive experiences or augmented reality.

In addition, 75% of spectators indicate that live events’ commitment to the environment is important to them, with 23% deeming it “very important” and 52% “rather important”. Key areas of concert include good waste management (63%), preservation of the show site (53%), energy savings (47%) and access to less polluting transport (44%).

The survey was conducted online from 14-15 September 2022 and is available in its entirety here. The results were unveiled to coincide with last month’s MaMA Music & Convention Festival.

 


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French sector faces ‘slow and difficult recovery’

French live association Prodiss is warning the sector must face up to a “slow and difficult recovery” from the pandemic, amid a mixed season for the country’s festivals so far.

Earlier this month, Live Nation France bosses hailed a stellar year for the returning Main Square Festival, which attracted a record 150,000-strong crowd over four days, while Les Francofolies de La Rochelle pulled in 280,000 visitors in five days and Hellfest reported 420,000 fans over seven days.

However, others such as the four-day Aluna Festival, which drew 65,000 people overall, were less satisfied with their summer’s business. “We’re going to be in a financial deficit, it’s depressing,” founding president Jean Boucher told Le Dauphine.

“When we say the festivals are resuming, we must not think that we have regained the growth of 2019 before the health crisis. This is not the case,” says Prodiss general manager Malika Seguineau, according to France 24.

“The number of festivals is crazy. Artists’ fees are rising and ticket prices have not increased”

The report cites now familiar problems for the business of over-supply, increased production costs and shortage of experienced personnel.

It adds that huge events such as Aluna, Hellfest, Solidays in Paris and an Iron Maiden concert at Paris La Defense Arena were all held around the same time in late June, with a similar situation arising this past weekend with the Francofolies, Vieilles Charrues Festival, Lollapalooza Paris and and Coldplay at Stade de France.

“The French have changed their behaviour,” notes Seguineau. “They buy tickets very late saying to themselves, ‘If I have the Covid, I will have to cancel,’ and they also sometimes already have three postponed shows in their hands.”

“The number of festivals is crazy,” says Francofolies boss Gérard Pont. “Artists’ fees are rising and ticket prices have not increased.”

Seguineau, who set out a mission statement for the post-pandemic recovery of France’s live music sector earlier this year, adds that Prodiss will “take stock in September” to “reflect on an economic model perhaps at the end of a cycle”, and suggests the industry needs more external support than it is currently receiving.

“We are not asking to live on a drip, but we are saying we need a stronger CNM [Centre national de la musique] to respect its commitment to develop structuring support programmes, to help us take risks.”

 


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Prodiss urges Macron to support live’s recovery

Live music association Prodiss is urging Emmanuel Macron to remove obstacles to the French live sector’s recovery following his re-election as president last weekend.

Prodiss representatives united with theatre organisation SNDTP to publicly back the centrist politician “in conscience and responsibility” ahead of his run-off with far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

However, which congratulating Macron on his victory, Prodiss stresses its support is “not a blank cheque”, and has reminded the government of the assistance still required by the cultural sector as it emerges from the Covid crisis, particularly when it comes to live performance.

“In the immediate term, it is important to ensure a sustainable return of the French to performance halls and festivals, by removing the obstacles to a serene recovery, such as the sound decree [noise restriction],” says the organisation.

“It is important to encourage investment and initiative in a sector that was once competitive and dynamic”

“It is also important to encourage, from now on, investment and initiative in a sector that was once competitive and dynamic, by making the sector attractive again, despite the crisis it has suffered, punctuated by stop-and-go and after two years of heavy restrictions.

“In the medium term, we will make sure to maintain the permanent link with the government and the elected officials, like the one that has been ours throughout the period of the health crisis to face the major challenges that will be ours in the years to come.”

Earlier this year, Prodiss posed a series of questions on the future of live music to the country’s presidential candidates in the run-up to the election.

While concerts were able to resume at full capacity in France in February, the business previously joined forces with fellow cultural organisations SMA, SCENES, SNDTP, CAMULC, FESAC and Tous Pour La Musique to denounce the “stigmatisation” of live performance since the onset of the pandemic.

The groups claimed the industry had been “sacrificed” by the authorities after measures were re-imposed on the market amid the Omicron surge late last year.

 


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Prodiss challenges French presidential candidates

French music association Prodiss has posed a series of questions on the future of live music to the country’s presidential candidates in the run-up to next month’s election.

Prodiss president Olivier Darbois (Corida), general manager Malika Séguineau, and officials Marie Rigaud (Le Printemps de Pérouges), Olivier Cauchon (Diogène), Raphaëlle Plasse (Paris La Défense Arena) and Pierre-Alexandre Vertadier (Décibels Productions,) have now circulated six videos via its social media channels under the banner #6QuestionsPourLeLive, challenging the presidential hopefuls for concrete answers on specific issues pertaining to the live sector’s recovery.

Topics covered include The ‘Sound’ decree and its evolution; The return of the public to our rooms; The accessibility of presenters to performance halls, the territorial divide and access to culture; Fair treatment on security costs; Funding from the National Music Center; and The common future of live and digital platforms.

The series will conclude on Wednesday (30 March) with a question about digital platforms, asked by Séguineau.

“We are awaiting concrete answers concerning our professions, our sector”

“We are awaiting concrete answers concerning our professions, our sector,” says the organisation.

While concerts were able to resume at full capacity in France last month, the business previously joined forces with fellow cultural organisations SMA, SCENES, SNDTP, CAMULC, FESAC and Tous Pour La Musique to denounce the “stigmatisation” of live performance since the onset of the Covid crisis.

The groups claimed the industry had been “sacrificed” by the authorities after measures were re-imposed on the market amid the Omicron surge late last year.

The first round of the 2022 French presidential election will be held on 10 April. Prodiss sent an open letter to the declared candidates at the beginning of December 2021 in order to prepare the ground with the candidates.

A document of proposals is currently being drawn up to convey the needs and recommendations of the French performing arts sector for the next five years, which will formalise Prodiss’ five-year vision.

 


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Prodiss: ‘Everybody hopes for a lasting recovery’

Prodiss general manager Malika Seguineau has set out a mission statement for France’s live music industry as it attempts to return to rude health after two years of restrictions.

Since mid-February, all concerts in the country have been permitted to go ahead without capacity limits, with the requirement to wear masks dropped at the end of last month for people with vaccine passports. Prime minister Jean Castex said the pass could even be suspended if the Covid-19 situation improved dramatically.

Speaking of the sector’s “deep relief” and “enthusiasm”, Seguineau expresses her hope for a sustained resurgence for the industry, but advises it will be necessary to rebuild customer confidence over the coming weeks and months.

“These circumstances are happy for our sector, and for all French people,” she says. “For two years , the latter mainly lived their cultural experiences at a distance. It is high time to rediscover the ‘sense of reality’, to return in real life to theatres, concerts and festivals.

“All the professionals with whom I interact daily have told me of their deep relief and their enthusiasm. Everyone hopes, this time, for this lasting recovery.”

The live music association previously told the French government “words of support can no longer be enough” after Covid measures were re-imposed on the performing arts sector amid the Omicron surge late last year.

“Since the reopening, we have seen a feverish public, who need to be reassured, or who have lost their habits”

Prodiss united with fellow cultural organisations SMA, SCENES, SNDTP, CAMULC, FESAC and Tous Pour La Musique to denounce the “stigmatisation” of live performance since the onset of the crisis

Seguineau elaborates on how the stop-start nature of the past 24 months has placed a tremendous strain on event organisers.

“For two years , they have been doing and undoing,” she says. “They lived to the rhythm of the incessant ‘stop-and-go’ of a crisis that had become structural and systemic and which for a long time prevented any visibility of the future.

“After two years , we have the obligation to rethink ourselves: to be and to be reborn. To gather again and find a new dynamic. But this will first and foremost involve re-instilling confidence in the public.

“The entire sector was widely stigmatised in public debate during this period, weakening an entire ecosystem and an entire economy. Today, the reflexes are still far from having returned. Since the reopening, we have seen a feverish public, who need to be reassured, or who have lost their habits.

“This will be one of the many projects that we still have to carry out to fully find ourselves, vibrate again, share moments of communion and rebuild this emotional link.”

 


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