14 February: Global Music Industry Report

The European Parliament has repeatedly addressed the issue of how the market power of European providers can be strengthened in the provision of cultural offerings on the Internet.  On 14 February, Ibán Garcia Del Blanco, Spanish MEP from the Social Democrat Group and rapporteur of the parliamentary debate on streaming, invited a small group of representatives from the sector to an inspiring discussion, to which the former chief economist of Spotify, Will Page, contributed with a keynote. He asked the question of what constitutes a fair share for creators and by what (political) means a fair share can be made sure. The discussion, however, was also about the changing role of the consumer, who, unlike with broadcasting, gets with streaming ‘what they want to listen to rather than what the provider wants to sell to them’. At the same time, algorithms prevent more and more individual consumers from having the opportunity to get known unknown music, which in turn reinforces bubble formation and social division. The debate touched upon economics, ethics, philosophy and politics.

The issue of fair remuneration is also the subject of another initiative that was recently created by WIPO for Creators, a consortium founded by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a United Nations specialized agency, together with Music Rights Awareness Foundation (MRAF), an apolitical foundation that works to increase knowledge of music rights worldwide.

Not long ago, the platform CLIP – Creators Learn Intellectual Property – was founded as a non-profit peer-to-peer platform to raise creators’ awareness of intellectual property (IP) rights and related management practices to ensure they receive recognition and fair compensation for their work. CLIP is built by creators for creators. 

The platform counts on the support of various partnerships and collaborations. See the full list here.

Such cooperation means de facto that politics outsourced an advisory task to a private initiative which is not at all a bad thing as long as each partner can contribute their respective strengths to achieve a common goal. And that seems to be the case with CLIP as could be shown in a joint presentation at the European Parliament on 21 February 2024.

Both above-mentioned projects once again reflect the fact that when it comes to art and culture, EU policy is primarily concerned with creating fair working conditions, but leaves content-related political decisions, as the European Treaties provide, rather to the member states.

21 February: MUSIC@NEB Sounding out opportunities for music in the New European Bauhaus

On 21 February, an event on the New European Bauhaus took place in the European Parliament. Let’s recall: When the New European Bauhaus (NEB) was launched as part of the German Council Presidency in 2020, the music sector did not really feel addressed. Although it was repeatedly pointed out that the program was aimed at all art disciplines, a look at the details clearly shows that there was actually no space for non-tangible cultural heritage, which is not surprising when you consider that already the historical Bauhaus was at no point about music. This meant that very few music projects came into being under the NEB umbrella, and none of these projects was mind-blowing. At the end of the day, there was frustration on both sides. It is the merit of the European Music Council to constructively having lead this frustration in the right direction by calling together representatives of the European Parliament’s CULT Committee to discuss the issue with representatives of the sector to jointly look out for solutions. It was good to see that a surprising number of MEPs felt attracted by the topic and followed the EMC’s invitation.

The event started by presenting three projects from the music sector which encouraged, despite their undisputed quality, the impression that the reference to a European Bauhaus was far-fetched. In the following discussion, it turned out that many politicians intended the NEB more as a label under which projects are summarised that raise awareness of how the arts (including music) can contribute to making the world a better place. The idea behind this is that art has the power to promote and enable change (‘Art cannot change the world, but it can change people, and people can change the world’). In concrete terms, the hope was expressed that the NEB can help bring the idea of the European Green Deal closer to people’s hearts. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing if it actually works. But maybe it’s worth thinking about keeping the label ‘New European Bauhaus’, but to re-invent the story behind it.

22 February: EU conference on music: “Challenges, needs and opportunities of the European music ecosystem”

The purpose of the conference on 22 February was to give a status on how the program Music Moves Europe has supported the music sector through policy steps, regulatory measures, funding, and dialogue facilitation and invited participants were Members of the EU Parliament, national representatives from the EU member states as well as organisations within the sector, of course including the AEC.

AEC was a proud partner when the preparatory action for Music Moves Europe (MME) was launched back in 2018 as the first EU programme dedicated to music. Overall, it aims to promote European diversity and talent, sectoral competitiveness, and better access to music in all its diversity.

Following the preparatory action, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU integrated the MME initiative as a sector-specific approach to music in the Creative Europe programme 2021-2027 to strengthen the dialogue with the music sector, to help the music sector coordinate and speak with one voice when it comes to EU policy matters.

Bulgarian Cartrader, aka singer and producer Daniel Stoyanov – winner of the Music Moves Europe Award 2024 – took part at the opening of the conference. Thanking for the award and the recognition of his work, Stoyanov used the opportunity to draw attention to the great differences in the opportunities for artists from different parts of Europe to develop their talent and turn it into a successful career. He expressed the hope that the EU will continue to prioritise its cultural efforts and support the musical ecosystem.

EU Commissioner Iliana Ivanova, responsible for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, opened the conference by acknowledging the challenges in the music sector and mentioned in particular the need for fair remuneration, better working conditions, fair access and diversity as important areas of continuous improvement. In addition, Ivanova pointed out the need for the sector to take action to safeguard the EU budget for culture as the newly elected EU Parliament will start debating the next seven-year financial programme of the EU, starting in 2028.

In his opening speech, the Minister-President for the Flemish Government, Jan Jambon, talked about the need to maintain diversity in the music scene by securing access to locally produced music. Plurality and integrity must be in focus and smaller regions must not be overseen by the algorithms of the big players.

The conference program included a large number of keynotes and presentations on various current topics:

  • A presentation on the need of new collaborative models taking the very diverse organisation of the music sector into account and possible solutions.
  • Takeaways from previous Music Moves Europe dialogue sessions at major European music conferences among other things regarding support for music companies and talents, cross-border opportunities, circulation of repertoire and climate change initiatives.
  • Cultural diversity and the conditions for authors in the European music streaming market in the framework of the Digital Single Market Copyright Directive and the newly adopted EU Act on AI.
  • A panel discussion regarding AI trends in the music sector.
  • Highlights from a selection of EU-funded music projects, e.g. Keychange, FEDORA, MusicAIRE and a range of Horizon Europe projects improving data collection and analysis.
  • An overview of EU funding models for SME (small and medium enterprises) in the music sector in the framework of InvestEU.

More information on the Music Moves Europe initiative can be found here: