The dialogue between the European Commission and music stakeholders which served as base for the Music Moves Europe programme has identified several challenges and opportunities for the European sector. In addition to a study on the Feasibility of a European Music Observatory, the European Commission asked for an analysis of market trends and gaps in funding needs for the music sector. This study is summed-up in this article.
One of the main challenges identified is the so-called “fragmentation” of the European music sector. The European music community is diverse by nature. Compared to various other large music markets such as the USA or Canada, European music offers a vast range of different national traditions, languages, and regional cultural idiosyncrasies. This phenomenon of diversity is however reflected in the fragmentation of national market practices within the EU:
- The inherent cultural diversity of the European music sector acquires additional dimensions when considering further contrasts between the live sector, the recording industry, the field of music education, and the wide-ranging social roles of music in different contexts;
- Some Member States use language quotas on television and radio rotation to favour their national language;
- Others use tax rebates and levies to favour specific music genres;
- Some Member States have equipped themselves with comprehensive toolsets, covering all dimensions of artistic creation, such as live music operators, music-led performing arts, recorded music, tech start-ups, music media, etc.;
- Others have chosen to support only classical music, music-led performing arts or music education organisations;
- In some instances, the support is limited to supporting a national orchestra or an opera house and a concert hall.
In this complex context, the European Union is in a key situation: its role, with respect to the principle of subsidiarity, is indeed to support or complement the actions of the Member States.
Therefore, this study’s objective is to identify whether there is justification for upscaling and enlarging the scope of the EU’s support for the music sector to match the scale and effectiveness of funding already in place for other cultural and creative industries. The study thus aims to provide a state-of-the art assessment on current sector trends, ranging from music education, amateur music, the live economy, to digital opportunities and concentration in the music industry. The study assesses for each identified trend:
- What is currently being addressed sufficiently by the Creative Europe programme and other relevant EU programmes and how;
- What is currently not being addressed sufficiently by the European funding instruments and how such aspects could be addressed by its successor programme;
- The overall need for future support on a European level, assessing appropriate scale and scope while taking the principle of subsidiarity and the European dimension into account.
The analysis of market trends also seeks to identify future trends and explore the possible impact of recent developments on the music sector in terms of competitiveness, diversity and sustainability in music supply and consumption.
This study also proposes an overview of funding schemes per country part of the EU.
CURRENT TRENDS FOR THE LIVE MUSIC SECTOR
- The live music subsector is very diverse and fragmented. First of all its two subcomponents (the music venues and the music festivals) rely both on a myriad of different realities depending mainly on their size, their location and the main genre they are playing. The same applies for festivals, as there is more similarities between festivals of the same genre but in different countries rather than two different festivals in the same country. Moreover, the live music subsector is less structured in the east than in the west of Europe.
- The live music sector is also undergoing a concentration phenomenon due to the massive investment of multinational companies in the European live music sector, resulting in higher fees for headliners to the disadvantage of emerging artists and the diversity of festivals and major concert venues’ lines-up
- Live concerts are exponentially live-streamed on social medias trying to secure their place in the era of the attention economy.
- Live music regulation will be an essential pillar of future music policy to ensure cultural diversity and a more sustainable live music market (vibrancy of local venues, addressing secondary ticketing).
- Environmental-friendly approaches will become the norm in the music industry, and especially in the live sector, but the costs entailed will be challenging for smaller music venues and festivals. Music artists will be vocal supporters to tackle the environmental challenges.
FUTURE TRENDS FOR THE LIVE MUSIC SECTOR
YOUTH: the musical practices of young people are linked to digital tools and social media use. Live music professionals cannot get round of these new methods of consumerism and recommendation, as the average audience of a live music scene is getting older.
EMERGING ARTISTS: streaming platforms do not facilitate the visibility of emerging artists. Live music scenes play a crucial role in giving visibility to emerging artists.
MUSIC PLAYERS: new players (multinational companies of the digital or telephony) see their influence grow in the music sector.
- Funding need 1: Funding for training and capacity building of the professionals of the entire music sector to better navigate the digital environment.
- Funding need 2: Funding for support mechanisms to promote music diversity online
- Funding need 3: Funding for a diverse musical production
- Funding need 4: Funding for music education and awareness-raising of the reality of music production for young audiences
- Funding need 5: Funding to promote diversity in the live music sector.
- Funding need 6: Information on touring and mobility
- Funding need 7: Funding to help the music sector to address societal challenges
- Funding need 8: Need for more long-term and sustainable perspectives in the music support ecosystem
A SELECTION OF POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS
About a future Music Moves Europe:
- Develop calls for training and capacity building schemes adapted to the needs of the whole value chain.
- Increase the volume of financing available in order to expand the budget for platform calls under Creative Europe.
- Grants dedicated to foster the collaboration of music sector stakeholders with other sectors to facilitate cross-disciplinary activity and bolster the music sector spill over effects on the wider society.Such innovation grants could focus for example on:
▪digital solutions for concert venues to develop proprietary audience management and ticketing tools;
▪green solutions for the production of live music events;
▪“Green label” where the EU co-financing rate would increase if the project can demonstrate a positive environmental impact.
- Create a dedicated scheme to enable the professional structuring of traditionally unstructured sub-sets of the industry or to foster the development of the music ecosystem in territories where it is still non-existent
About other EU programmes:
- Encourage the exchange of good practices of local governance for local music ecosystems, notably through INTERREG and URBACT programmes, through peer-learning activities and delegates of local authorities wishing to make on-visit-sites or create cooperation between two or several municipalities/regions. This could be done by including the cultural and creative sectors as one of the priority sectors in these programme guideline
Monitor the concentration trends in the industry, including:
- Open a sectorial consultation (e.g. under the hat of DG Competition) that could organise a state of play of the concentration in the different music sub-sectors, along the value chain.
- Advocate for policies that protect local music-and cultural spaces, includingmusic venues andrehearsal spaces. Such spaces are important incubators for music artists, meeting points for the sector and the general public and a strong cultural asset. Support could range from developing policy toolkits, including the “Agent of Change” and targeted funding in collaboration with local governments